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Notre Dame driving BCS title game ticket demand up from last season

By Chip Patterson | College Football/Basketball Writer
Sun Life Stadium will host both the Orange Bowl and the BCS title game in January. (US Presswire)

Ticket sales for college football games have suffered in recent years, with tough economic times and increased television coverage shouldering some of the blame. But while the box office is seeing less action, the secondary ticket market has grown considerably.

StubHub has become one of the most successful companies bringing buyers and sellers together when it comes to tickets for the biggest sporting events. This week I reached out to the company to gauge the demand for the 2012 BCS bowl season.

"Right now we're seeing far more demand than we were at this time last year," said Glenn Lehrman, StubHub head of communications. "In part, that is because we are already ensured of one of the participants, while last year the matchup wasn't decided until the final regular season weekend, but is mostly due to that participant being Notre Dame."

According to StubHub, the BCS title game is typically the second biggest selling event of the year behind the Super Bowl. This year's demand is not only driven by Notre Dame being locked into one of the slots, but also the likelihood that the Irish will face the SEC Champion -- either Alabama or Georgia -- in Miami for the BCS title. Both schools have the advantage of a close proximity to the title game, but according to StubHub there is likely going to be a bigger secondary market draw if the Tide win in Atlanta on Saturday.

Typically, Lehrman wrote, the top traveling teams on StubHub are Alabama, Notre Dame and Michigan (in that order).

So an Alabama-Notre Dame title game would not only have a chance to draw record-setting television numbers -- thanks to the deep history and national brand of both programs, but also would favor StubHub and the secondary market with two fan bases ready to spend the new year on the road.

The title game and the Rose Bowl are the only BCS bowls with "huge demand" on an annual basis, according to StubHub. The secondary market demand for other bowls have all been predictably dependent on the match-up.

Last year's match-up in the Fiesta Bowl had large demand for Oklahoma State vs. Stanford on StubHub, but the Orange Bowl saw much less demand for West Virginia and Clemson.

Orange Bowl officials will keeping a keen eye on the ACC Championship game Saturday, likely expecting a bigger draw from Florida State than Georgia Tech when the conference champion visits Miami on New Years Day. To judge the quality of matchup for Jerry Palm's projected BCS bowls, head on over to our CBSSports.com Bowl Projections page.

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