Hawaii Dealing With Shortfall of Sugar Bowl Tickets
Relinquished 4,000 tickets to Georgia
Dec. 6, 2007
HONOLULU (AP) - Georgia's apparent home-field advantage at the upcoming Sugar Bowl just grew by 4,000 fans - thanks to Hawaii.
The University of Hawaii decided against taking its full 17,500-ticket allotment for the Jan. 1 game because it was concerned it could not sell them all, so 4,000 tickets were gladly accepted by Georgia.
With Hawaii quickly selling out its reduced allotment of 13,500 tickets by Tuesday, many angry Warriors' fans and season-ticket holders were left scrambling to find tickets to the school's first bowl game outside the Aloha State since the 1992 Holiday Bowl.
Tickets, ranging from $125 to $145, were first made available to the Warriors' 23,000 season-ticket holders and sold out quickly. Tickets were supposed go on sale to the general public Wednesday, but that never happened.
The university has created a waiting list and is offering to buy back tickets if purchasers were unable to make travel arrangements.
Warriors athletic director Herman Frazier was traveling and unavailable for comment Wednesday.
Western Athletic Conference commissioner Karl Benson said Hawaii elected to take fewer tickets based on its best estimate of how many it could sell, "and at the suggestion of the Sugar Bowl, who was trying to accommodate the SEC team with more tickets to satisfy their demand."
Sugar Bowl officials say it was Hawaii's decision.
"They chose not to take their full allotment. That was Hawaii's decision," Sugar Bowl spokesman Duane Lewis said. "We definitely didn't tell them not to take it, it was their choice."
Scalping apparently was also a concern.
"No one in this business wants to see tickets dumped in the secondary market," Benson said.
The 10th-ranked Warriors earned a BCS berth to face the fourth-ranked Bulldogs (10-2) after finishing as the nation's only unbeaten team at 12-0, led by quarterback and Heisman Trophy finalist Colt Brennan.
Despite the team's unprecedented season, taking fewer tickets may have seemed logical. The 50,000-seat Aloha Stadium was only soldout for two of Hawaii's seven home games this year.
At the 1992 Holiday Bowl, Hawaii's last appearance on the mainland, the school was only able to sell about 4,000 tickets.
John McNamara, Hawaii's associate athletic director, said a major concern was the possibility of losing money from the bowl payout.
"Georgia has been to multiple BCS games. They know what they're capable of doing. We had no frame of reference or history to fall back on," he said.
The good news is, help may soon be on the way for Hawaii fans.
"We're looking to help them get more tickets," Lewis said. "We understand there's great demand and we'll do everything we can."
Brennan was puzzled at the move to take fewer tickets.
"Why did they do that?" he said. "You know what, it's no surprise to me."
Georgia is also dealing with a ticket shortage and has had no problem drawing fans. All of its games at 92,746-capacity Sanford Stadium were sold out this year. The Bulldogs have about three times as many season-ticket holders as Hawaii.
"Our waiting list is less than 100," McNamara said. "Georgia's is more than 5,000. ... Georgia is dealing with disappointed fans. We're dealing with disappointed fans."