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CFB: Florida St. at Florida

29 November 2009 No Comment

For the past eight years I have wanted to attend the Florida St. at Florida game over Thanksgiving weekend. My wife’s family lives in The Villages, FL which is about a 75-minute drive from Gainesville, FL. However, logistics have caused me not to attend the game. We did not visit her family for Thanksgiving in 2001 and 2007. In 2003, we flew back to Chicago on Saturday during the game. In 2005, we hung out as a family and chose to go to Universal Studios for dinner and the Orlando Magic game.

This year was different. We were in town and the family did not feel like doing anything Saturday. Thus, my plan was to attend my first Florida St. at Florida game.

Researching Tickets
As I state in the ticket buying guide, you should always research tickets before arriving at the stadium. However, do not purchase tickets unless you have a good reason. Tickets on StubHub.com were a little above $200 – meaning with StubHub service fees the cost of each ticket would be around $250 each. Craiglist.org had a lot of tickets wanted ads or student tickets.
While researching tickets, I considered attending the Miami (FL) at South Florida game in Tampa scheduled for the same time – 3:30 pm. I knew tickets would be cheaper to the South Florida game but I decided I could not let price deter me from attending the game at Florida.

Parking
As I did last year when I attended Florida’s game versus Kentucky, I parked in the area east of SW 13th St. However, last year I paid some guy $10 to park at his house. This time parking lots were charging between $20 and $35. Instead of paying to park, I found an area where cars were parking on some grass in between SW 10th St. and SW 8th St. on SW 5th Ave. There were about 10 cars parked in the same area and another car pulling up as I was parking so I figured it was legal. It was as my car was still there after the game.

Obtaining Tickets
As I said I had researched tickets before the game and figured tickets would be around $200 each when I arrived at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. I was right.

After parking, I walked along SW 4th Ave. to SW 13th St. to W. University Ave. Scalpers are located along W. University Ave. starting at SW 13th St. and continuing west to the stadium. The first scalper I talked to wanted $225 for his ticket (I did not ask for location). The next guy wanted $150 for his ticket but I believe it was a student ticket. Each scalper on the walk towards the stadium either did not have tickets or wanted $200 each. To make matters worse there were hundreds of other fans also looking for tickets everywhere around the stadium.

Rather than buy a ticket from a scalper I knew I had time to look for a ticket on my own – in a sense, I became a scalper looking for tickets. I asked everyone I passed if they had an extra ticket. I walked around the stadium once and only found two people who had an extra ticket – each person wanted $200 each. I offered $150 each time and was turned down both times. After spending an hour looking for a ticket I realized I was not going to find an extra – especially with all the competition from other fans.

I walked back on W. University Ave. towards SW 13th St. to see if I the original scalpers I talked to had cheaper tickets now. I talked to one guy on the corner and he insisted I give him an offer. I usually make the scalper make the first offer and always negotiate them down. However, he made me state my price first. I offered him $140 and he accepted my offer immediately – meaning I either hit the exact price he wanted or I offered too much. However, with everyone else wanting around $200 I thought I had received a good price. It turns out I did as the man I sat next to sold it to him for $125.

Pre Game
I bought my ticket around 3 pm so I had 30 minutes until kickoff. I stopped in at Tijuana Flats to relax before heading into the stadium.

The Game
My seat was not bad. I was in the front rows of the South Stands Upper Bleachers and had a good view of the game. It was senior day at Florida Field. Before the game the seniors were honored as it was Tim Tebow’s final home game (and maybe Bobby Bowden’s last game).

During the game the seniors were honored by defeating Florida St. convincingly 37-10. Florida dominated Florida St. at every position as Tebow threw for three touchdowns and ran for two.

After the game the seniors had their traditional walk across the field as many of the 90,907 were still on hand to watch Tim Tebow as he left the field for the final time.

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