Bowl seats cost UH $129,375
Last-minute mix-ups cost UH $129,375 in Sugar Bowl profits
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It was arguably the most desirable, hard-to-get item of the 2007 Christmas season in Hawaii: Sugar Bowl tickets.
But the University of Hawaii was still left with more than 1,000 unused tickets before kickoff between the Warriors and the Georgia Bulldogs on New Year's Day.
The 1,035 unclaimed tickets cost UH's Athletic Department $129,375, associate athletic director Carl Clapp said yesterday.
The Athletic Department originally underestimated demand for the game and agreed to accept only 13,500 of its initial allotment of 17,500 tickets. The remaining 4,000 tickets were offered to University of Georgia fans.
Hawaii eventually secured another 1,866 tickets from the Sugar Bowl and other sources to accommodate fans left empty-handed. But Clapp acknowledged that the extra tickets might have come too late in the game for fans to travel to New Orleans during the busy holiday season.
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The University of Hawaii, which angered football fans for giving a share of its Sugar Bowl tickets to opponent Georgia, ended up with more than 1,000 unused tickets for the Jan. 1 game in New Orleans.
In all, 1,035 leftover tickets to the Bowl Championship Series game cost the university $129,375, or $125 each, UH associate athletic director Carl Clapp said yesterday.
The Athletic Department originally underestimated demand for the game, taking only 13,500 of its allotment of 17,500 tickets. The remaining 4,000 tickets were made available to University of Georgia fans.
The decision enraged many Warrior fans who were unable to buy tickets. At the time, the Louisiana Superdome, which had sold out its Sugar Bowl tickets, referred fans to a Ticketmaster Web site where tickets cost between $256 and $881.
University of Hawaii officials eventually scrambled to secure an additional 1,866 tickets from the Sugar Bowl and other sources to accommodate fans left empty-handed. Clapp could not immediately recall yesterday when that final batch of tickets was put out for the general public, but he said the school was reminding people that there were tickets "even as we got into Dec. 15th to the 20th."
However, he acknowledged that extra tickets may have become available too late for some fans to book airfare and hotel rooms in the Big Easy during the busy holiday season. Also, others might have gotten tickets from scalpers or on the Internet, Clapp noted.
Hawaii football players and staff received some 1,300 tickets, all of which were "accounted for and used," Clapp said.
"We were looking everywhere for tickets to try and meet the perceived demand," he said.
The Sugar Bowl organization called UH and the Western Athletic Conference before the Warriors qualified for the BCS game with a request to reduce the number of tickets from 17,500 to 13,500.
Former Hawaii athletic director Herman Frazier had said the decision to accept the reduced number of tickets was based on estimated ticket sales of 12,000 to 13,000. Frazier was later ousted from the university after the school failed to re-sign football coach June Jones.
"They were too conservative," said Warriors booster Kent Untermann, a former UH tight end who has season tickets and watched Hawaii's 41-10 loss to Georgia. "Had they taken their original allotment and managed it properly, I'm sure they would have sold out."
Clapp said that in future high-profile games, the university would do a better job gauging ticket interest, perhaps by conducting some type of fan survey, "something that might give us information about what the demand level might be for a particular event like that."
"Everything was kind of a first time," he said. "There are certainly some things we can learn going forward."