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Michigan State and Wisconsin are set to play in the first ever Big Ten championship game. A Rose Bowl berth is on the line. Neither team is a perpetual conference heavyweight. So you’d think fans would be rolling in to Indianapolis, that ticket prices would be surging, that the excitement would be palpable. You’d be…wrong. StubHub lists 9029 seats available at prices starting at $9.
That’s bad, what’s worse?
It appears the Big Ten is even willing to pay “fans” to come watch its title game.
At least according to this Craig’s List ad:
“Saturday night event in downtown Indianapolis needs seat-fillers. Total number of seat-fillers needed will vary based on crowd. Must tolerate loud noise and crowds. Must have red or dark green casual clothing to wear. Event will last all evening on Saturday night. All ages, sexes, races, etc. Please use contact e-mail. Event planner will follow-up with exact details on location for staging of seat-fillers (additional information and instruction provided there).”
What’s the pay?
Yep, nearly $25 an hour to watch a team win a championship.
Reached for comment by OKTC, the Big Ten office said, “We are not involved in that. You’ll have to ask Craig’s List.”
The Big Ten’s denial sounds like that of a coaching candidate when asked if he has been contacted by a school with an opening. Clearly, if someone is paying $75 for fake fans at the inaugural Big Ten title game it isn’t happening without the Big Ten’s tacit knowledge. Also, if it was a prank or occurring without your knowledge, wouldn’t you demand Craig’s List take down the ads? The Big Ten hasn’t taken that step either.
I’ve responded to the email stating that I’m available for the work so I’ll update this article when or if I get more details. But, if true, this is some serious coin, potentially as much as $750,000 that someone is willing — or forced to contractually — drop on fake fans.
Yep, it’s really gotten this bad for the Big Ten.
Since a Wisconsin-Michigan State title game in Indianapolis isn’t exciting Big Ten fans, I thought I’d lend a helpful hand to the Big Ten.
Here are ten tips to increase attendance.
1. Show the SEC championship game on a jumbotron instead of the Big Ten game.
That’s even though the SEC title game doesn’t matter very much this year. You know Big Ten fans would secretly rather watch the SEC.
2. Execute Jerry Sandusky at halftime.
It drew great crowds in 18th century Paris. Seems like it would still work in 21st century Indianapolis.
3. Move the title game to Florida.
The only time Big Ten fans seem willing to travel is to Florida in the winter.
Voila, problem solved.
4. Free tattoos on the concourse.
If you pair them with chinstrap beards, Big Ten fans will riot with glee.
5. Tell Colts fans Andrew Luck will be there.
Coincidentally this is also the Colts marketing plan for the final month of the season.
6. Announce that whichever team has the fewest fans will be forced to name Ron Zook as head coach for 2012.
Three words: sell out guaranteed.
7. Maurice Clarett and friends have been hired to provide parking lot security.
Just make sure your valuables aren’t visible.
8. Hire the USC song girls for a game.
The Trojans are on probation. Why not put the Song Girls on the jumbotron the entire game?
Be honest, wouldn’t you go?
9. Money back guarantee if the game doesn’t end on a Hail Mary.
Isn’t this the toughest aspect of the lack of ticket demand? The Big Ten is replaying the best game of the season and no one even cares enough to go.
Jim Delany refers to this as a “demographic problem.” Others call it something simpler — sucky football.
10. There’s beer available.
(This may be a lie).
Post your own ideas on the Facebook wall below. We’ll select the funniest and send you an OKTC prize pack. (Yes, it will involve Duck Heads).