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MACtion - The Best Value in College Football

Living on a budget? Don't think you can afford to attend college football games? Don't worry! MAC teams have some of the most inexpensive tickets around!

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

In a day in age where a great deal of the populace are tightening their belt loops and trying to save money in an uncertain economy, it's becoming difficult for some of those to go out to sporting events or go out for entertainment in general. College students are no exception to this; speaking with some friends of mine that attend schools that are in Power-5 conferences I've heard horror stories of the ludicrous amounts some schools are charging for students to attend football games. At UB I'm fortunate enough to be able to attend all sporting events free of charge, when I remind my friends of that, I'm met with leering gazes from around the room.

I was horrified to hear that some of my friends would shell out upwards of $200 just for football tickets for only six games, and then if they wanted basketball tickets they would need to shell out even more money. After two years at UB I haven't paid a dime to go to a football game, basketball game, or any other sporting event, so I started to wonder what ticket prices were like in the MAC compared to the ticket prices in Power-5 conferences.

After doing a bit of research I've compiled a table of Mid-American Conference schools and their season ticket, single game ticket, and student ticket costs. Because not all stadiums are built alike I tried to find tickets in the "General Admission" areas so as not to get caught up in trying to compare reserved seating prices between stadiums. A couple of teams have not started single game tickets for the 2014 season so I needed to infer their price based on past ticket costs. Also, the ticket prices for single game tickets are for either conference opponents or non-conference opponents that are mid-majors or FCS teams, because teams tend to slightly raise ticket prices when a Power-5 school comes to town.

Note: All following information was found on institutional website unless otherwise noted.

Mid-American Conference 2014 Ticket Information
School Stadium GA Ticket Price Season Ticket Price Expected Donation Student Ticket Cost
Akron InfoCision Stadium $18.00 $75.00 $0.00 $0.00
Ball State Scheumann Stadium $17.00 $66.00 $0.00 $0.00
Bowling Green Doyt Perry Stadium $15.00 $72.00 $0.00 $0.00
Buffalo UB Stadium $18.00 $99.00 $0.00 $0.00
Central Michigan Kelly/Shorts Stadium $12.00 $60.00 $0.00 $0.00
Eastern Michigan Rynearson Stadium $12.00 $60.00 $0.00 $0.00
Kent State Dix Stadium $12.00 $60.00 $0.00 $0.00
Miami (OH) Yager Stadium $11.00 $75.00 $0.00 $0.00
Northern Illinois Huskie Stadium $22.50 $110.00 $0.00 $0.00
Ohio Peden Stadium $7.00 $29.75 (If purchased in family 4 pack) $0.00 $0.00
Toledo Glass Bowl $15.00 $70.00 $0.00 $0.00
Western Michigan Waldo Stadium $16.00 $85.00 $0.00 $0.00

So, if you have a family of four, the maximum you'll pay for four season tickets is $440.00 for four tickets to every Northern Illinois game, not too bad considering taking the same family of four to one Chicago Bears game would cost about $325.00.

There's a lot of great value and cool perks, like Ohio's season tickets for a family of four being only $119.00. If you live in the Athens area and want a fun activity to do with the family on the weekends you can't beat the value at only $5 per game per person. As many of us UB fans already know, the tailgate concert series is always a treat to attend before watching the Bulls take the field.

Now compare that to some of the BCS AQ teams....

AQ Team Ticket Information
School Stadium GA Ticket Price Season Ticket Price Expected Donation Student Ticket Cost
Michigan Michigan Stadium $70.00 $375.00 $0.00 $295.00
Alabama Bryant-Denny Stadium $55.00 $415.00 $80.00 $349.00
Syracuse Carrier Dome $42.00 * $225.00 $0.00 $99.00
Ohio State Ohio Stadium $79.00 $1,200.00** $0.00* $252.00
Oregon Autzen Stadium $89.00*** $424.00 $0.00 $360.00

* - Single game tickets can only be purchased in a 3 pack for $125.00, which equals $42.00 per game.

** - This information was found on StubHub and not the institutional website

*** - General Admission Tickets not available so cheapest ticket price used

As you can see there is a distinct difference between the AQ schools and the Mid-Majors, and that is in the student ticket price column. As a student with the price of tuition, room and board, and books where they are now, I could not imagine shelling out $250.00+ for football tickets. So it's understandable why some of my friends give me nasty looks when I say UB's football games are free, and they come with a free concert too.

Obviously it's a very limited sample size with only five power conference teams being compared to the entire MId-American conference, but it can inferred that the mid-major schools are more focused on giving the fans a good deal while filling up the stands on Saturday afternoons, while the power conference schools are looking for a big pay day instead.

In my experiences having been to several different college football stadiums ranging from FCS to Mid-Majors to AQ teams, I have to say that the Mid-Majors have always been the best. Sure, anyone can throw on an Ohio State jersey and say they're a fan, but the real fans are the ones who trek out to UB Stadium, to the Glass Bowl and to Dix Stadium (just to name a few) every Saturday to watch their teams play.; I've never seen more passionate fans than those of the mid-majors and the fans all feel like one big family.

Combining a great football atmosphere with fans that are passionate about their teams, and damn good football, all at an affordable price just can't be beat. If you fancy spending big money on one game a year, then by all means do your thing, but if you want a family activity to do every weekend at price no more expensive than going to the movies, why not head out and watch your local MAC team?