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BCS ticket prices falling (but so is the number of available seats)

Procrastination pays.

For those fans who waited until the last minute to buy tickets to Monday night’s national championship football game in South Florida, now’s the time to buy.

Ticket prices have fallen by about half since Dec. 1, when the University of Alabama clinched its spot in the title game. The average price is about $1,500 as of Monday morning, with the cheapest seats costing $865, according to the ticket-tracking services SeatGeek and TiqIQ.

But there are only about 2,200 to 3,000 tickets available from third-party brokers right now. So though the price could fall more, this is probably the best time to buy.

“We always see this: Prices are highest on the day of an announcement for the latest concert or a national title game,” said Will Flaherty, SeatGeek’s communications director for the ticket-tracking firm.

“Fans think: ‘Oh no, I need to act quickly and get the best price for my tickets.’ But that’s often one of the worst times to buy,” he said. “Ticket prices tend to fall when you get closer to game time.”’

Assuming a buyer times his purchase properly, Flaherty said tickets could go for as low as $700 (a little more than double the face value of the cheapest wholesale tickets). He said that the average overall ticket price for this event is about $1,700 — the most-expensive event since the 2007 Super Bowl in Miami.

“I’d recommend buying from online retailers who have some sort of guarantee that you will receive legit tickets and not fakes (safest way),” Chris Matcovich, TiqIQ’s data and communications director, said in an email.

“There maybe good deals on Craigslist and amongst scalpers outside the stadium, but doing that you run the risk of losing hundreds of dollars if the ticket is a fake,” he wrote. “If people do decide to buy from people outside the stadium, one way to protect yourself from buying fakes is by asking the seller to walk to the gate with you to make sure you get in.”