Investigative sports journalist Myranda New compares prices for TU sports between men’s and women’s events and with those of other colleges and professional leagues.
Calculating the prices for sports tickets is a complex business, one that must take fan interest, supplies and scholarships into account as well as many other factors. Every year, the prices for tickets differ, increasing or, on the rare occasion, decreasing, but even within the same year, ticket prices vary between teams, states and competitions. For example, tickets for championships are hundreds of dollars more than the initial rounds of a tournament. The difference between sports is also quite noticeable, but what is arguably most shocking is the price difference between a men’s sport and a women’s sport.
At the University of Tulsa, all games are free to students, something that is rare compared to other universities. At large state universities, student tickets are discounted, but there is no such thing as free. At the University of Missouri at Columbia, for example, students can pay $150 for a season pass to all sports games. This is cheaper than the average ticket price for Division I college football games of $200, but around the same price for University of Tulsa games. At TU, general admission is $100 while a season pass is between $100 and $330. If you feel even fancier, though, a box is between $1,000 and $1,750.
One can argue whether the ticket prices for college football games are a good deal by comparing them to the University of Tulsa. At the University of Georgia, tickets were as expensive as $490 per person, but there are also small schools where football tickets are $75, both throwing off the average. The same is true for professional football in the National Football League (NFL), where the average ticket price is $120, but outrageous Super Bowl ticket prices as well as championships and tournaments compared to initial games need to be taken into account. Games between rival professional teams also heavily increase ticket prices.
There is no college women’s football team, but one sport that has both men and women to compare is basketball. At the University of Tulsa, men’s basketball tickets range between $15 and $44 depending on the section with season passes for $150. For the women’s basketball team, all tickets are $5 for general admission and season passes are $50.
This difference is also obvious in the National Basketball Association (NBA) compared to the WNBA, average ticket prices are $97 and $18 respectively. The average among colleges is closer in comparison — $65 for men’s and $50 for women’s — but the difference is still shocking: men’s tickets are 5.39 times the price of women’s tickets in the professional league.
All other TU sports price both the men’s and women’s team the same, $5 for soccer games and free for tennis, cross country, and track and field. Women’s golf and women’s rowing are also free to the public. Despite the equality for soccer ticket prices here, in the professional field with Major League Summer (MLS) and National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL), men’s soccer tickets are 2.4 times more expensive than women’s tickets: $48 and $20 respectively. It is also important to note that while a good handful of colleges have free women’s tennis matches, the US Open for reference is $247 per ticket on average, while for men’s tennis it’s more than a $100 over that.
There are two more sports only hosted by women at the University of Tulsa: softball and volleyball. Softball tickets range from $5 to $15 while volleyball tickets are $5, prices much cheaper than other colleges, where the average is $25 to $45 for softball and $130 for volleyball.
Overall, the University of Tulsa’s sporting event tickets are significantly cheaper than the ticket prices for other universities as well as professional leagues, especially considering that all students are already getting in free. This is most likely due to how our stadiums are smaller than those of other universities. We are a small, private university in Oklahoma, not an enormous public university with 50,000 students. It may seem that the opposite should be true, since other universities have so many more people attending games, prices should be cheaper since more people can build up the average. Supply and demand must be taken into consideration, as opposed to a profit equation. These universities are huge, with even more fans than students; they all want to attend the games, therefore tickets are increased to where the fewer number of seats is worth it.
Either way, ticket sales are complex and ever-shifting, a Google search that requires a lot of investigation depending on the university and the time into a tournament, but if you are a student at the University of Tulsa, all of your tickets are free, so go support our fantastic players.