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Alabama ticket prices drop, hotel rooms open as game approaches

Thursday, October 11, 2012 | 9:04 p.m. CDT; updated 9:44 p.m. CDT, Thursday, October 11, 2012
Alabama fans Dave Eubank, left, Mike Palmer, Keith Palmer and Keith Harmison prepare to start a fire Thursday at the Cottonwood RV Park. The group arrived Thursday afternoon after spending the night in Memphis, Tenn. "We go to all the games," Palmer said. "When the season ends we don't really know what to do with ourselves."

Ticket prices have dropped and hotel rooms have opened up as Missouri's game against No. 1 Alabama on Saturday approaches.

The game at Memorial Stadium is technically a sellout, but some ticket holders seem increasingly willing to sell their tickets.

Immediately after Missouri’s 19-15 home loss to Vanderbilt last Saturday, there were 2,641 Alabama tickets available on Stubhub.com, a ticket-sharing website.

At that time, the high price for a ticket was $1,200, with a low price of $70. As the week has gone on, prices have dwindled.

The cheapest available ticket, as of Thursday morning, was $35, a 50 percent drop from Saturday’s low price. The most expensive ticket was $525, a 56.25 percent decrease. There were 859 tickets still available on the website as of 11 a.m. Thursday.

At face value, reserved seats in Memorial Stadium for the Alabama game were being sold for $75. On Thursday, those same seats were available on StubHub for as low as $39.95. General admission tickets, which originally sold for $50, could be found for as cheap as $35 on the website.

StubHub spokeswoman Shannon Barbara said that while ticket prices were trending downward, there was also a larger trend of prices falling as the game approaches.

"Energy and interest is high for this matchup," Barbara said on Thursday. "But given our marketplace, and how prices tend to go down the closer it gets to game time, we could see a dip come tomorrow. If fans are not as choosey about where they want to sit, they could potentially hold out until the last minute to get really cheap tickets."

Despite the fact that prices were dropping as the game approaches, tickets to the Alabama game have still been the most valuable Missouri tickets of the season, Barbara said. She noted that the average sold ticket price for an Alabama ticket on StubHub was $172, while the average sold ticket price for the Georgia game, Missouri's second-most popular on the website, was $164.

MU students also seem increasingly more eager to part ways with their Alabama tickets. The Facebook group “Mizzou Ticketmarket” claims to be “the original centralized location to buy, sell and trade your Mizzou tickets.” It had 3,906 members Thursday evening.

In the 24 hours from 11 a.m. Wednesday to 11 a.m. Thursday, there were 221 total posts advertising Alabama tickets for sale on the group page, as opposed to only eight posts from those attempting to buy tickets to the game.

And, because of the informality of Facebook, not all ticket owners requested cash in return. Take Willie Whealen, a sophomore at MU.

“Selling a 'Bama ticket for a natty and two swipes to Dobbs, or best offer,” his post read, referring to the beer Natural Light and the Pavilion at Dobbs, one of the several campus dining options at MU.

Hotels see "more availability"

And as ticket prices fall, hotel rooms are opening up.

"Some hotels show more availability than they did last week," said Amy Schneider, director of the Columbia Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Schneider said she couldn't give a reason for the wave of cancellations. However, she pointed out that many people reserve a block of hotel rooms and might now be canceling those rooms they don't need.

Leela Jashnani, vice president of Budget Host Inn, said the hotel was sold out for the first two games — against Georgia and Arizona — but rooms are available this weekend. She said that because this is MU's first year in the SEC, it was hard to compare the occupancy rate with previous years. Jashnani said the hotel's bookings are mostly done online, which made predicting where guests were canceling from difficult.

La Quinta Inn & Suites manager Amy Cox said there had been nearly 40 cancellations for the weekend, but some of those rooms have since been reserved.

"Most of our cancellations are coming from St. Louis," Cox said. "I definitely see a lot Mizzou fans canceling."

As of Wednesday, there were 15 rooms available for Friday and Saturday at La Quinta Inn & Suites. Cox said it's normal to have an increase of walk-ins on the weekend, and she still expected the hotel to be fully occupied.

Econo Lodge had also experienced cancelations, with 20 cancellations for Friday and 10 for Saturday, manager Nari Rajani said.

Thoughts about the increase in ticket and room availability

There are several speculations as to why people are letting go of tickets and hotel rooms.

The loss of starting quarterback James Franklin compounded by the home defeat to Vanderbilt could be a contributing factor. Additionally, Missouri is a 21.5-point underdog in the upcoming game. The last time Missouri was an underdog of similar standing for a game in Memorial Stadium was 2001, when the team held a 23-point difference against Nebraska. The Tigers lost that game, 36-3.

In 2005, No. 24 Missouri was a 26.5-point underdog on the road against No. 1 Oklahoma. The team fell in that game also, 34-13.

Missouri fans who attend Saturday's game could be in for stormy weather. The National Weather Service was forecasting temperatures near 80 degrees Saturday with a 40 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after 4 p.m.

Supervising editor is Greg Bowers.


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