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News » Buckeyes fanatic or Rockets booster?

Buckeyes fanatic or Rockets booster?

Buckeyes fanatic or Rockets booster?
When Ohio State and Toledo play each other in Football at Cleveland Browns Stadium on Sept. 19, most of the fans probably will be rooting for the Buckeyes - but they'll technically be boosters of Toledo Football.

Getting into the stadium isn't as simple as just buying a ticket. A minimum donation of around $100 to the Toledo athletic department will be required to create that purchasing opportunity.

According to the agreement between the schools announced in 2006, this game - Ohio State's second Cleveland visit in 65 years - is a home game for Toledo. Therefore, Toledo controls 58,000 tickets, with Ohio State getting 12,500.

Ohio State anticipates season-ticket holders, donors and staff taking its allotment.

Toledo is selling its seats only to Toledo season-ticket holders or donors to the Toledo athletic department.

A full-season ticket at Toledo last season cost $164. On Wednesday, a staff member in the Toledo ticket office, responding to an inquiry that a typical fan might make, said a donation of $100 was probably necessary to secure a pair of tickets.

That's a premium on top of the tickets themselves, which range from $45 to $95.

"It is a premium game," Toledo Athletic Director Mike O'Brien said. "This isn't abnormal by any means with a game like this."

If the Rockets sell their 58,000 tickets at an average price of $60, they will bring in nearly $3.5 million. And then, if the Rockets receive an average of $100 donation for even 10,000 of the available tickets, that works out to another $1 million.

So Toledo - with an average home-Football attendance of 17,000 and athletic department revenues of $18 million - could make between $4 million and $5 million off this game, depending on its expenses for using Cleveland Browns Stadium.

Ohio State, a school with an average attendance of 105,000 per home game and athletic department revenues of $118 million, could be looking at making less than $1 million off this game.

According to Department of Education records, Toledo's total Football revenue for the 2007-08 fiscal year was $4.4 million.

"We're getting a lot of people, whether here in Toledo or in Columbus or wherever they might be, saying 'I'd like to get a ticket,' and if they need to make a donation or become a season-ticket holder, they are doing that," Toledo deputy athletic director Mike Karabin said. "It kind of works twice for us. We'll get some donors and season-ticket holders, which is what we need."

So what does Ohio State get out of it?

First, Toledo will return to Ohio Stadium as part of the two-game series in 2011 and will receive no financial guarantee, when the going rate for non-Big Ten Conference teams visiting Ohio Stadium is about $850,000. OSU Athletic Director Gene Smith said Navy will become the first visiting team to receive $1 million from Ohio State when the Midshipmen open this season in Columbus on Sept. 5.

Also, while Smith was eager to get the Buckeyes back in Cleveland for the first time since 1991 (a 34-3 win over Northwestern), he said the creation of a 12-game schedule in 2006 has given smaller schools much more leverage in scheduling. Toledo was not interested in merely visiting Ohio State for a payday. And Smith said Ohio State will never play a road game at a Mid-American Conference school with a 30,000-seat stadium.

So this became the alternative.

"You're doing crazy deals," Smith said of the search to find opponents, "and this is happening all across the country."

Yet MAC Commissioner Rick Chryst views this is as a once-in-a-lifetime event, and admits MAC schools are still feeling their way in making deals like this. For Cleveland-area fans and alumni of both schools, the buzz of the Buckeyes playing in Cleveland should build for months.

"Don't underestimate the draw of twice in 65 years," Chryst said.

Chryst also chuckled at the idea that schools from the MAC, often left scraping for financial crumbs compared to the major-college Football conferences, would be viewed as taking advantage of anyone.

Premium seats at Ohio State games require major donations. And he views an Ohio State-Toledo game in Cleveland as a bowl game of sorts, with appropriate pricing.

"MAC institutions work so hard to provide opportunity," Chryst said, "and you know whatever is raised is going right back into the programs and providing opportunities for young people at our school. Our people work so hard to be at this level. We do not exploit anybody."

To reach this Plain Dealer reporter: dlesmerises@plaind.com, 216-999-4479


OSU-Toledo at Browns Stadium


Toledo controls 58,000 of the 70,500 tickets for the Ohio State-Toledo Football game at Cleveland Browns Stadium on Sept. 19. If you want tickets to that game, here's what to do:

1. Go to UTRockets.com

2. Click on the right side of the page on the promo for Toledo Rockets host the Ohio State Buckeyes.

3. Fill out the special ticket form for this game, submitting it for as many tickets as you want. Mail it back with your payment. Prices are between $45 and $95 and the deadline is May 1.

4. If you are not a Toledo season-ticket holder or donor, check the box at the bottom of the form that you would like to receive a call from the Athletic Development Office, which will then call to discuss your donation that is required to purchase tickets.


2009 Ohio State Football schedule

Sept. 5 NAVY

Sept. 12 USC, 8

Sept. 19 vs. Toledo*


Oct. 3 at Indiana


Oct. 17 at Purdue


Oct. 31 N. MEXICO ST.

Nov. 7 at Penn State

Nov. 14 IOWA

Nov. 21 at Michigan

* - at Cleveland Browns


Note: Home games in CAPS; All games on Saturdays; times listed where known.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: March 6, 2009

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