By Harry Minium
NORFOLK, Va. – If you’re planning to purchase tickets to Old Dominion’s much anticipated football home opener against Virginia Tech on Sept. 2, the math is simple.
You can spend as much as $471 to buy one ticket from a secondary ticket seller, such as StubHub or VividSeats. Once you’ve paid for the ticket, including service charges, you have one ticket for one game.
Or you can spend as little as $150 for an ODU season ticket and have tickets to six home games, including not only Tech, but also James Madison, Marshall, Liberty, Georgia Southern and Arkansas State.
You don’t have to be a Pythagoras to figure out which is the better deal, nor that the time to buy season tickets is now.
The deadline for renewing season tickets passed on Sunday and very soon, ODU will open hundreds of choice seats that we had been holding for the existing season ticket holders, many of whom increased the number of tickets they purchased..
ODU’s ticket office held those seats for good reason. Season ticket holders, including those in premium seats, provide the bulk of revenue that funds the Monarch football program. In return, the University wants to make sure it shows as much loyalty to season ticket holders as they have shown to ODU.
An aside here: if you still want to renew your tickets, you have a couple of days to do so. But by Monday, May 9, your seats will be available for others to purchase.
If you renewed your tickets, odds are you paid less than last season, in some cases substantially less. ODU did away with the unpopular seat membership fees.
Although some ticket prices increased, 80 percent of the sideline seats are less expensive than they were last season.
Some seats in the second deck on the 50-yard line will become available soon for $300 and they will sell quickly.
I upgraded my two $150 seats to $215 and am located in a much better location. Yes, I sit in the press box during games. I give my tickets to family and friends.
But buying tickets now is also an investment in my future. Eventually, I’m going to retire and will be back in the stands. I also know that ODU football will again become the toughest ticket in town.
Season ticket sales are up dramatically over last season, when ODU sold 7,200. More than 2,000 new ticket holders have already reserved their seats and combined with renewals, ODU blew well past the 7,200-ticket mark last week.
Although SB Ballard Stadium seats 21,944, thousands of tickets are set aside for students, visiting teams, players and coaches and their families. That means ODU has 14,600 season tickets to sell.
With four months left until kickoff, the odds are pretty good the stadium will sell out before tickets go on sale to the general public. Even if they don’t sell out, no single-game tickets will be available for the Tech game and perhaps JMU as well.
Season ticket holders get first priority at purchasing single-game tickets, and as was the case in 2018, officials are confident Tech tickets will quickly sell out to season ticket holders.
It’s no secret why ticket sales are up – the product on the field is much better, as is the schedule.
Coach Ricky Rahn is a personable guy who shows up to countless University and alumni events and is popular among the fan base. And last season, his Monarchs won their last five regular season games and advanced to a bowl game for the first time in five years.
ODU returns 18 starters and Rahne has not only recruited well among high school players, but has some key commitments from players in the transfer portal at positions where the Monarchs need help.
The schedule is also much more attractive because ODU will play its first season in the Sun Belt Conference.
As Rahne said at a recent coaches’ forum, ODU fans couldn’t quite work up enough emotion to hate Conference USA schools.
I like and respect the people at Middle Tennessee, Florida Atlantic, UTEP and FIU but the schools are so far away from Norfolk that rivalries just never developed.
I while I wouldn’t quite call it hate, but there’s already a good bit of emotion between ODU and JMU fans.
JMU is three hours up the road and gives ODU its first in-state conference rival in a decade.
ODU won the only two football games against the Dukes in the old CAA in 2011 and 2012. And although they haven’t played in 10 years, sniping between ODU and JMU fans online has been spirited.
The Sun Belt has a lot of programs that fans will learn to get emotional about. Appalachian State, Coastal Carolina and Georgia State – ODU plays all three on the road next season – come to mind. ODU and Georgia State are old CAA rivals.
ODU already has a good rivalry with Marshall. Monarch faithful joyously celebrated a 38-14 victory over the Herd in 2016. The Monarchs haven’t beaten Marshall since – they lost in overtime last season in Huntington.
And then there’s Virginia Tech.
The Hokies are 2-1 against ODU and the loss came in Tech’s last visit to ODU – a 49-35 upset victory in 2018 over a nationally ranked team that still resonates with Monarch faithful. The post-game celebration is something all of us who were there will never forget.
Nor have the Hokies.
This year’s game is the first of 10 between the Hokies and Monarchs over the next 10 seasons.
Wake Forest is coming to ODU in 2023. Virginia will open the 2028 season at ODU.
East Carolina, the closest FBS program to Norfolk, is on the schedule six of the next 10 seasons.
As Rahne said at the coaches’ forum, “If you want to watch great Virginia football, SB Ballard Stadium is going to have it.”
And tickets are going fast.
CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE ODU SEASON TICKETS
CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE A TAILGATE PARKING SPACE