A Heterogeneous Analysis of Secondary Market Transactions at College Football Bowl Games

Patrick J. Rishe
David Sanders
Jason Reese
and Michael Mondello

In a seminal investigation of secondary pricing for college football bowl games, Rishe, Reese, and Boyle (2015) found Rose Bowl administrators price their face values in the inelastic range of consumer demand, and factors such as pent-up demand, distance traveled, and perceived seat quality impacted the size of secondary markups. Their study, however, lacked a breadth of application because it only focused on two bowl games occurring at the same venue and city. Conversely, this paper uses 9,413 transactions through TicketCity reflecting secondary ticket sales across 55 different bowl games from the 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons. Subsequently, this heterogeneous sample reveals (1) not all bowl games price their tickets in the inelastic range of demand, perhaps attributable to uncertainty from lags between when face prices are set and when the teams competing are selected, (2) the introduction of the new College Football Playoff (for the Football Bowl Subdivision) format reduced markups for playoff games, perhaps because fans of playoff teams now must travel twice during the bowl season (as opposed to once under the old format in 2013-14), and (3) seat quality and distance traveled (consistent with Alchian-Allen theory) continue to significantly impact secondary market transactions for postseason college football.