For Georgia fans, Rose Bowl tickets demand high, availability hard to come by

For Georgia Bulldogs fans, the New Year’s Day national football championship semifinal showdown against the Oklahoma Sooners has become a numbers game.

The first numbers challenge: how to get a ticket?

Georgia has not played at the famed Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., since 1943, so ticket demand is high. About 20,000 season ticket holders have requested tickets from the University of Georgia, UGA officials say. The university, though, had 10,600 tickets for sale to those fans, said Claude Felton, UGA’s senior associate athletic director. UGA will hand out 500 tickets to students and 1,900 will go to players, their guests and university administrators.

UGA awarded tickets for sale, first, to those on the highest donor priority levels. The university has a point system that helps determine the numbers of tickets fans can get to away and postseason games. 


Raleigh, N.C. resident Bill King, 32, who has undergraduate and graduate degrees from UGA, said his family was unable to get tickets from the university, so he and two friends bought their tickets through an online ticket broker. They weren’t picky about the location of their seats, as long as they were on the Georgia side. The tickets cost $325 each. 

Lilburn resident Gail Black, 76, a UGA season ticket holder since 1981, was lucky enough to get her tickets from UGA. Black, who owns Fly The Coop Travel, has also bought tickets online for friends and clients. She’s part of a group of 18 people attending the game.

The second challenge: how to get to Pasadena?

On Thursday, roundtrip airline tickets from Atlanta to Los Angeles (leaving New Year’s Eve and returning the day after the game) were going for at least $925, but those trips included a layover. Many fans are planning trips to Las Vegas and driving to the game. The cheapest online tickets Thursday were at least $600.

King is planning to visit relatives in the Atlanta area and fly from Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport to San Diego, where he has a friend stationed at the U.S. Marines base in that area. His round-trip plane ticket cost $650.

Black said she started looking for flights the night after the Dawgs won the SEC Championship. She’s leaving for California on Dec. 29 and returning Jan. 3. One friend was unable to get a flight that accommodated her schedule.

“They were gone,” Black said.

That friend had to sell her ticket to the game.

The third numbers challenge: what to do if Georgia wins?

The national championship game is a little closer for Georgia fans, at Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium. But, it’s a week after the game at the Rose Bowl. Many UGA fans are deciding whether they can afford tickets to both games. If not, which game do they attend?

Said Black: “It will be well worth it to make it. I’m 76 and my husband’s 80. We may never get to see this again.”

“It’s a tough choice,” King said. “How much money do I spend and where do I spend it?”

King decided he wanted to go to California because it’s been so long since the Dawgs played there.

“It’s rare to play in the Rose Bowl and I wanted to get an opportunity to see that,” he said. “This one seemed like once in a lifetime.”

King’s still hoping his family gets tickets to the title game.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Education

Atlanta students, who missed 3 days of school meals, can pick up food Friday
Atlanta students, who missed 3 days of school meals, can pick up food Friday

Some Atlanta students didn’t just miss three days of school this week because of snow days, they also missed important school meals. West-side families can pick up food bags to help get through the weekend at the At-Promise Center, 740 Cameron Alexander Blvd. NW. The food will be distributed through 4 p.m. Friday. The effort is supported...
Snow days don’t mean extra days later for most metro students
Snow days don’t mean extra days later for most metro students

Most students in metro Atlanta have missed a week or more of classroom time due to weather this school year, but few have to make up any of it. Nearly every school district has a waiver from the state requirement of a minimum of 180 classroom days. And some, including Gwinnett and Forsyth counties, are keeping their students on track with the internet...
Whoops! Atlanta reverses decision to open schools Friday
Whoops! Atlanta reverses decision to open schools Friday

Atlanta Public Schools has changed its decision about re-opening Friday, determining that the roads are still too unsafe to travel. On Thursday afternoon, the district had announced that it would re-open after two days of being closed. But after 6:30 p.m., the district released this statement: “Atlanta Public Schools was hopeful that we would...
North metro Atlanta school district decides to re-open Friday
North metro Atlanta school district decides to re-open Friday

Forsyth County Schools will re-open Friday after two days of being closed due to treacherous road conditions. Atlanta Public Schools have already announced they’ll open, while Clayton County will remain closed. Other districts, including big ones like Gwinnett and Cobb counties, are still weighing what to do. But the decision announced after...
Clayton County Schools will remain closed Friday
Clayton County Schools will remain closed Friday

Clayton County Schools officials said school will remain closed Friday due to icy conditions. Schools have been closed since Wednesday after snow begin falling late Tuesday night.  “We recognize our school buses mostly travel on secondary and housing development roads and streets,” Superintendent Morcease Beasley said in a statement...
More Stories