‘Prime Effect’ drives up ticket sales for Colorado’s home opener vs. Nebraska

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FOX Sports college football analyst Joel Klatt coined a term to describe the impact first-year Colorado football coach Deion Sanders has had on the sport, the college and just about everything that touches related to the Buffaloes football program.

He called it “The Main Effect.”

“The hiring of Deion Sanders has made the news and coverage surrounding Colorado a 10…always,” Klatt said on a recent episode of his podcast.The Joel Klatt Show“If someone wants to paint Colorado and Deion Sanders in a negative light, it’s going to be a 10. If someone wants to paint what’s going on in Colorado in a positive light, then it’s a positive 10. That’s ‘The Main Effect.’

“That was the point with the Deion Sanders hire in Colorado. He’s coming in to do a lot of things, but one of them is to make Colorado relevant.”

Look no further than Colorado football ticket prices as an example of this phenomenon.

Coach Prime leads Colorado’s big roster shakeup

Coach Prime leads Colorado's big roster shakeup

Joel Klatt discusses the “Coach Prime effect” as Deion Sanders leads the Colorado Buffaloes’ big roster shakeup this offseason.

Sanders will make his home coaching debut at Folsom Field on Sept. 9 in a highly anticipated nonconference matchup against Nebraska. As of Thursday morning, the lowest price for a ticket to Colorado’s home opener is listed at $450 on Ticketmaster. The cheapest pair of tickets together is listed at $471 each.

For those looking to get closer to the field in the 100-level section, the cheapest pair of tickets are currently $576 each, which will get you a spot in row 26 of section 109, located at corner of the stadium.

By comparison, the lowest ticket price to see the defending national champion Georgia Bulldogs in their home opener is $87.

The asking price to get into Folsom Stadium for the Buffaloes’ home opener is also more expensive than the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs’ opener against the Detroit Lions. That’s 22 times more expensive than four tickets to Nebraska’s opener and more expensive than a ticket to Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals between the Boston Celtics and the Miami Heat.

According to a recent report by Business Insider, the average mortgage payment in the state of Nebraska is $1,491, which is less than it would cost to take a family of four to the stadium to watch the Buffaloes’ home opener.

All of this is directly related to Sanders, who was hired in December and tasked with turning around a program that finished 1-11 last season, losing those 11 games by an average of 29 points per contest. In Colorado’s six home games in 2022, the school averaged 42,847 fans per contest, which is approximately 79.9% of the stadium’s seating capacity.

Colorado hasn’t sold out a home football game since 2019, when fans packed Folsom Field to watch the Buffaloes take on Arizona in Week 6 of that season. The Buffaloes fell to the Wildcats, 35-30, and finished that season with a 5-7 record.

All of that is expected to change this upcoming season as Sanders continues his massive overhaul of Colorado’s roster. More than 50 players on Colorado’s 2022 roster have already entered the transfer portal, which is unprecedented in college football.

While what Sanders does in Colorado is within NCAA rules, his methods have not sat well with several college coaches.

Pat Narduzzi, who has been Pitt’s head coach since 2014, recently criticized how the transfer portal has negatively turned into a way for schools to attack rosters, taking specific exception to the exodus of players of Colorado during Sanders’ tenure.

“It’s not the way it has to be,” Narduzzi said in a recent interview with 247Sports.com. “That’s not what the rule was intended to be. It wasn’t about overhauling your roster. We’ll see how that works out, but that, to me, looks bad to college football coaches around the country.”

Sanders hasn’t been shy about expressing his confidence in his ability to turn Colorado into a winner, and that starts with the momentum of his program, which in turn is attracting top talent to Boulder .

Selling out football games and driving demand for tickets (Colorado sold out its season ticket inventory in April for the first time in 27 years) is part of that plan.

“There is no more important hire at a college than the football coach,” Klatt said when Sanders was hired at Colorado. “And now, the most relevant program in the country is Colorado because of one guy: Deion Sanders.

“When you hire a guy like that, you’re hiring a guy who’s one of them.”

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