It has been no secret that tickets haven't exactly been selling all that well for Saturday's game at Ford Field between Michigan State and Florida Atlantic. A number of factors have contributed to the lack of sold tickets, including high prices and the fact that the game is at Ford Field. Many fans just would rather not watch a game at an NFL stadium, especially when the Spartans have five home games and an away game in Ann Arbor during the first seven weeks of the season.
The latest update about tickets to this game was provided today, and it revealed that the 25,000-ticket mark was just passed. Considering Ford Field's capacity is 65,000 seats, that's not very good.
To put that figure into some context, 30,331 people showed up for the Little Caesars Bowl last year between Marshall and Ohio. That was the lowest attendance for the bowl game in its history, but right now that number is about 5,000 more than the amount of tickets sold to the MSU-FAU game. There will definitely be walk ups that buy tickets on the day of the game, but will every single person that has tickets actually use them? Probably not, so 30,000 seems right in the ballpark of an estimate for the size of the crowd on Saturday.
As for who is to blame for the poor ticket sales, it depends who you ask. Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis said the Spartans were never asked to give their feedback on the prices, whereas FAU is saying that the prices were based on what would have happened if MSU's game against Western Michigan last season wasn't moved from Ford Field to Spartan Stadium. In that regard, FAU is blaming MSU somewhat, both for the prices and for the fans' lack of interest in the game.
As [Florida Atlantic's assistant athletic director for marketing Dexter LaMont] said, "We're still hoping the Michigan State faithful will wake up."
Apparently FAU's original plan was to move the game to Spartan Stadium and split the revenues with MSU, but the Owls believe MSU "didn't want to overburden their season-ticket holders with another game there." That would have driven the cost of season tickets up and with MSU having to split the revenues, it's likely that it wasn't worthwhile enough for the Spartans.
At the end of the day, the two sides can blame each other for the overall lack of interest in all of this, but this wouldn't have ever happened if FAU had simply built its new stadium in time for the game. Had that simply happened, this game would be in Florida and this talk of poor ticket sales wouldn't be an issue.