TAMPA -- If you were thinking about heading over to the big 2017 National Championship game in Tampa on Monday, good luck scoring tickets.
On Thursday, single seats were selling for close to a thousand dollars a piece.
That’s why Mike and Teresa Cline says thank goodness they already got their tickets.
At face value $450 for seats like theirs were now going for more than three times that.
“When we found out the national championship is going to be in the Tampa area, we start looking for tickets last year,” they said.
How do they justify the expense?
“Some people want to go to Disney World all the time, so. We like to go to the bowl games,” said Mike.
But some fans -- many of them students -- say it's not just unaffordable, it’s unfair.
Only about half of the tickets go to the two schools involved, and only a handful of those are then available to people who aren’t connected in some way -- or season ticket holders.
“They are students. They should be able to support their school,” said Amanda Abbott.
Abbott’s friend, Brent Page agreed. “For college football there's just something about it being for college students. The price should be lower.”
But are these college football finals ticket prices really out of whack with other big-time championship events?
In 2015 --for example -- game seven of the Lightning-Rangers series at Madison Square Garden, the average ticket price was over $1,500.
And just last year, in the World Series as Chicago took on Cleveland in game seven, tickets with the face value of $300 were selling for $4,500. A seat behind home plate – was selling for nearly $20,000.
“That is ridiculous,” said Jane Phillips. “Nothing is included, once you get in there. A beer is $8!”
Instead of spending $2,500 on a pair of tickets to the National Championship game, you could head to a store like Best Buy, spend that same amount of money on a 65” 4K super HD Smart TV, and watch the game from the comfort of your own living room.
Afterwards, you still own it!
But for super fans with super budgets -- or at least the right connections -- being there, they say, is priceless.
Mike Barber took his son to the National Championship game in Dallas a couple of years ago, and says it was worth every penny to have that memory.
“Probably the whole package for the two of us was $3,000 or $4,000” said Barber, “But it was worth it. A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
The Clines agreed.
“This may be the last one we get to go to,” said Mike, “So we're going to blow it out!”
With tickets going for as much as they are, officials are warning fans to watch out for fakes.
The recommendation? Only buy tickets from a reputable site or professional ticket broker.
And if you do meet someone to purchase tickets, do so at a safe and secure location like a local police department.
For all you need to know about the College Football Championship, click HERE.