Future Faceoff

Gopher vs. UND: Vegas Edition

Future Faceoff

Nick Erickson, Staff Writer

Lost out on the ticket lottery to get to the Vegas showdown in 2018 against the Gophers? More people did than did not, considering it was estimated that 6,000 of the 7,773 tickets were sold before they were even made available to the general public. With everyone sitting near their computer at 2 p.m. that fateful February day, people were outraged when their patience was wasted.

Everyone has already given their two cents on this subject. Most arguments consist of the location debate for the 2018 Hall of Fame showdown. Initially, people wanted to blame the athletic department for signing a contract with the Boyd Gaming company (Owner of the Orleans Arena). Fans are upset they didn’t think ahead and opt to go to a larger venue. That’s to be expected when a large sum of people are left disappointed after the ticket fiasco.

Take a time-out before you freak out. It’s important to understand the timing of the planning process, then you’ll understand why this happened. The timeline of the game plan for the Vegas showdown was before the Madison Square Garden tickets had even gone on sale last season. That game played host to 11,348 fans that ultimately formed a massive sea of green, white and black. The contract was signed stated they would play in the smaller venue of Orleans Arena rather than the much larger and brand new T-Mobile Arena that holds 17,500 for hockey games. The idea was to sell out the Orleans Arena and they had no prior knowledge of how many tickets would exactly sell for an away game, much less a game at a neutral site that would require most to travel by plane to attend.

So now everyone is praying for “the move” to occurs in hopes they can get tickets to the series of the season in Vegas, especially now that tickets sold for $99 for the UND and University of Minnesota series at the Ralph Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks this weekend. The tickets sold for $79 for the game in a smaller venue at Orleans Arena. Tickets for one of the nights to watch the Gopher series at the Ralph sold for more money than what season tickets cost for UND’s home football games.

Gopher-UND series have been prone to draw even larger crowds than most regular series. Additionally, the ease of travel from Grand Forks to Las Vegas through Allegiant Air in Grand Forks is common knowledge to most around the community. Most non-stop flights to and from Vegas through the Grand Forks airport or the Fargo Airport are less than $200 and sometimes even under $100. This makes it even easier to fly to Vegas than it was to fly to the game in New York last December, with those tickets being closer to the $500 to $700 range.

Andrew Simonson, a student at UND, started a petition only hours after he couldn’t purchase tickets.

“There were a ton of people ready and willing to drop $100 to see a regular season college hockey game 20 months from now,” Simonson said. “UND clearly has the most dedicated fans in the country, so much so that earlier this year the NCAA labeled us the second best traveling fan base in all of college sports.”

It’s clear that UND fans would clearly be willing to travel to Vegas for something of this magnitude containing this rivalry.

Opting to move the event to the bigger arena could potentially generate a much larger profit for both parties. The solution lies within the problem. By putting the price on the tickets to a higher yet still reasonable amount would still quickly catch the interest of those who wanted to purchase tickets in February, while generating more revenue for the owners of both Orleans Arena, and T-Mobile Arena. By allowing Orleans Arena owners to keep the money from the original 7,773 seats, they will maintain the original estimated amount of $614,067. Then the rest of the ticket sales, after raising the prices to $99, could be distributed to the T-Mobile Arena owners, who would receive an additional estimated amount of $962,973 if the venue sold out, which it most likely would be, if not within a couple thousand of seats.

This year’s series at Ralph Engelstad Arena have been selling online between patrons for $400. T-Mobile Arena is home to the Vegas Golden Knights, and their cheapest ticket price for the upcoming game against St. Louis on Saturday night is $52. T-Mobile Arena would essentially sell half of its seats for tickets priced at twice the price of their lowest rate for home games of an NHL game. With this solution, everyone would get the chance to get their tickets, Orleans Arena keeps their money, T-Mobile Arena makes their money, and both programs get a huge fan base and yet another terrific venue to play at.

Nick Erickson is a staff writer for Dakota Student. He can be reached at [email protected]