Tickets available for Big Ten Football Championship game
The Big Ten Championship Game, a signature event for Indianapolis, is still 20,000 seats short of a sellout.
In fact, Nebraska and Wisconsin are giving back tickets. That has people concerned with kickoff just 48 hours away.
Nebraska grad Chris Stivers heads Hoosiers for Huskers. He usually watches his team play on TV, but on Saturday, he'll watch them live at Lucas Oil Stadium.
"'For us it's a big deal you don't get every day," said Stivers. "It's a Huskers dream come true."
Still, he might have have some extra leg room. Even though Nebraska and Wisconsin fans travel well, there are at least 20,000 seats left. That's a surprise to both Stivers and Bob Christianson, a Badgers fan from Carmel.
"I'm disappointed to hear ticket sales are soft. Obviously we're groping for an answer. I don't think people comprehend the Big Ten championship yet," said Christianson.
"Certainly the Big Ten Conference and Sports Corp. hoped to sell more tickets at this point," said Allison Melangton, Indiana Sports Corp.
But Melangton thinks it's mostly the result of a very unique year, especially with two teams under sanctions.
"Certainly we have Ohio State and Penn State unable to participate in the championship game even though they've had a very good season, so that's definitely a factor," she said.
Other possible factors: These two teams played just a few weeks ago and Stivers says Nebraska fans could be saving their money for the Rose Bowl.
"We haven't been in it since 2001 and it would be nice to bring back a victory against a PAC 12 team," said Stivers.
Though this Badger says not so quick.
"We've been a bit spotty this year, but hopefully we'll have a big turn of events and and a blowout with a ground game," said Christianson.
Melangton says attendance is one way to gauge success. The fan experience is another. They are expecting Georgia Street and the Fan Fest to draw big crowds from out of state and locally.
"We will do due diligence after with the Big Ten Conference and go through our plan. Every new event goes through building and growing and you have to continue tweaking it," said Melangton.
Visit Indy was expecting the weekend to generate $17-$20 million. They're hoping the unseasonably warm weather encourages even non-fans to come downtown and enjoy the non-game festivities.
About the game
Legends Division champion Nebraska takes on Leaders Division champion Wisconsin to compete for the Big Ten Championship and a chance to play in either the Rose Bowl Game or Bowl Championship Series National Championship Game. The game starts at 8:17 pm Saturday night, but there are several events starting Friday leading up to the game.
Legends: Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska and Northwestern
Leaders: Illinois, Indiana, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue, and Wisconsin
Buy tickets at Ticketmaster.com or by calling 800-745-3000, or on-site at the Indiana Convention Center Friday and Saturday.
A Big Ten Football Championship ticket gives fans free access to the Big Ten Fan Fest. A tailgate party will be held on Georgia Street featuring food, college football action, merchandise and a photo opp with a life-size Amos Alonzo Stagg Championship Trophy and more. The party runs from 3:00 to 9:00 pm Friday and noon to 8:00 pm Saturday.
There's also the Big Ten Virtual Career Fair for Big Ten students looking for job or internship opportunities.