College Football Ticket Investment

It’s not too early to start thinking about tickets for what will be the inaugural College Football Playoff national championships game Jan. 12 in Arlington, Texas.

In fact, fans can reserve tickets beginning June 4 for as little as $20 by going to in a program that ties the value of the reservation to the demand for tickets. The fee for popular teams could climb into the hundreds of dollars, according to the Wall Street Journal

If the team reaches the game, the fan buys the ticket at its $450 face value. If the team doesn’t reach the game, the fan forfeits the $20 reservation fee.

The idea is to short-circuit the secondary market that last year commanded a $7,000-per-ticket average resale price, according to ticket search engine SeatGeek.

The College Football Playoff model runs on the platform operated by Forward Market Media. Bill Hancock, executive director of the College Football Playoff, said the FMM approach will help keep prices down.

We expect Final Four, Super Bowl-type demand,” he told the WSJ. A ticket reservation bought at $20 June 4 could quickly grow to $200 or more, depending on the number of fans buying into a specific team’s chances of getting to the game.

“There will be 10,000 individual Alabama users that hit this market when it opens on the first day,” Rick Harmon, CEO of FMM, predicted to the Journal.

And the upshot is a fan can sell his reservation and keep the profit on any appreciation, less a 10 percent sale price fee. For example, a Notre Dame fan who bought in for $20 in 2012 was able to cash in for $1,100, minus a fee, when the Fighting Irish, which opened the season unranked, made it to the BCS championship against Alabama.

Hancock said the CFP keeps a portion of the FMM fees but declined to reveal specifics. The Orange Bowl hosted the 2013 BCS championship and made $1.2 million on the FMM model, organizers said.