You get what you pay for.
If you want to see some really good football at Beaver Stadium, you’re going to pay a price for it, even if you’re already paying a lot.
Penn State Athletics has taken to building its football ticket prices based around its opponent. You pay less to watch the boys in blue pound on Buffalo than you do to watch them take on perennial Big Ten powerhouses like Michigan and Ohio State.
Buy a ticket in the lower levels and you’ve gotten used to that over the last two years. Grumbled, maybe, but you expect it.
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Some club seat holders, however, were surprised to see that change happen with them this year.
The Mount Nittany Club is the above-the-action venue for people who want to attend Penn State games in a little more comfort than the open-air seating where the majority of the students, alumni and other fans cheer on the team in the country’s second-largest stadium. The seats are wider. They have backs. You can eat Creamery ice cream brought to you by a waiter.
That kind of luxury comes with a price. Namely, that price is $100 per seat, plus the season ticket price of $448 and a five, seven or ten year lease, paid up front, of $1,200 to $1,400 per seat per year. Buy his-and-hers seats and you are looking at an investment of about $39,000.
One of the perks for ponying up that kind of money is the ability to buy extra seats, so if you and your spouse want to bring a couple of friends to a great game, you could get two more seats, if available, for just $100 apiece.
Emails recently went out to the club seat holders notifying them of changes to that policy. Now, like regular seats, the club seats will be stepped up in price based on the game in question. Kent State, Minnesota and Michigan State games will still be $100, but Temple and Maryland will be $200 while Ohio State and Iowa are $300.
Club seat holders can buy up to four more tickets at prices of $200, $300 or up to $500 more, based on those tiers.
Jeff Garner, assistant athletic director for ticketing, said the move was about making things consistent across the board.
“The lowest priced ticket for Ohio State was $100,” he said. “The lowest priced club seat (for Ohio State) was $100. That didn’t really make sense.”
The $100 price had been in place for the club seats since 2011. Before that, tickets had been $85.
“That said, sure, if we expand the Mount Nittany Club, it will be beneficial to have people who have experienced a club. A benefit would be prospecting for the future,” he said.
Most of Penn State’s Big Ten brethren also use tiered pricing of some sort, whether simply drawing a line between conference and non-conference games or getting into the nitty gritty of what is going to give the best show.
Rutgers, heading into its third Big Ten season, is charging three times as much for its Penn State game as it is for its opener against Howard. Ohio State is charging $70 for tickets to Bowling Green and $195 for tickets to the Michigan game. And those aren’t the club seats.
The Temple game had at least one club seat holder confused.
“They beat us once,” she said.
Temple was one of those games that Penn State always knew it was winning for decades. Until 2015.
“It’s a little bit less about it being Temple and a little bit more about it being the stripe out. We saw a lot of success with it last year,” said Garner.
But is that really all?
“Well, it is sort of a payback game for us,” Garner said.