Ohio State vs. Michigan: Advanced Ticket Scalping


Que desastre. That’s all I can say about Michigan’s poor performance against Ohio State yet again. Like last year’s tragedy in Columbus, Michigan blew another opportunity to beat an overrated OSU team. Last year, I wrote a guide: Michigan Ohio State: A Case Study in Ticket Scalping where I stated that there are 5 options for buying tickets to the big game:

  1. The Box Office: Not an option when the game is sold out.
  2. Ticket Scalping on Game Day: For those that do not care if they go to the game or not, this can be the cheapest way to score great tickets. (see Ticket Scalping NYC: Know Before You Go)
  3. The Hookup on Tickets: There’s always that guy or family member who knows someone who knows someone.
  4. SeatGeek: This is a great app for searching for tickets from a variety of vendors.
  5. StubHub: This is the most well-known reseller of tickets.

For last year’s game, I bought the tickets on StubHub. For this year’s season opener against Florida, I also purchased tickets online. For this game, since I did not know who was going to be starting at QB for Michigan (Michigan’s starting QB and second string QB were both injured), I decided to wait until the day of the game to decide if I wanted to go. As bad luck would have it, the terrible, unskilled, third string John O’Korn started the game. For me, that meant that Michigan would have next to no chance of winning. It also meant that I only wanted to pay pennies on the dollar for the tickets.

As I walked towards Michigan Stadium, I felt like a cow going to slaughter more than a gladiator going to battle. The town was quiet and there was no excitement in the air. An hour before the game, I heard the distinct sound of ticket scalpers yelling out, “Who needs tickets?” I approached one after another, and they all tried a simple sales approach: “This is Michigan against OSU. This game is sold out. The best I can do is face value.” If a scalper is selling tickets at face value, it isn’t because he doesn’t want to break the law. It’s because there is no demand for the tickets. Sensing this, I started to make laps around the stadium to get a better sense of who was charging what. The sight of subdued tailgates further reinforced my desire not to shell out big money. With the first quarter underway, I approached a group of scalpers and confidently asked for two tickets. Again, they said two for the face value price of $125 per ticket. I said how about two for $100. They looked at me like I was crazy, chatted among themselves, and finally agreed. Then they showed me the tickets which were not next to each other. I withdrew my offer and told them two for $80. Profanities ensued. After some more groans, they accepted my offer and I was on my way. I arrived just in time for Michigan to go up 7-0 and was excited when the score ballooned to 14-0. Then O’Korn happened and we lost. The end. 

  • TPOL’s Tip: If you don’t care whether you attend a game and you are willing to miss part of it, on-site ticket scalping can be a great option. I never imaged that I could get tickets to the once epic Michigan/OSU game for $40.
  • Don’t rejoice too quickly after purchasing the tickets. My heart always stops when my ticket is scanned because you never know if the ticket is fake. I’m glad mine was real.


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