Around the LA Observed offices, we prefer our pigskin roasted or barbecued. A hotbed of football fever we aren't, but we've ignored the gathering tension across the city (and the gallons of spilled ink and front-page logos) long enough. So yes, it's UCLA vs. USC on Saturday afternoon at the Memorial Coliseum. Sideline passes are being hawked for $3,080 and up by ticket brokers, the Antelope Valley Press reported, adding that the passes are non-transferable and could actually be worthless on game day. Tickets with a face value of $65 are being scalped by agencies for an average of $352, with the most expensive fetching $2,500. Times reporter David Wharton, detailing the ticket fever in today's paper, says "the 75th game in the cross-town rivalry has created a buzz unlike anything Southern California college football fans have witnessed in years."
Los Angeles ticket brokers said they have never seen such interest in the rivalry. With asking prices ranging from $120 to $3,000 a seat, the game has entered the realm of a Laker NBA championship game or a premium rock concert.
"The Rolling Stones at Hollywood Bowl was a more expensive ticket," said Barry Rudin, president of Barry's Tickets in Encino. "But Paul McCartney was probably more in line with the USC-UCLA game. And this game is five times more than the Eagles because the Eagles played so many dates."
The marketplace has been just as active on the want-ad website craigslist.org and at fan sites for both teams — the scramble leading to all sorts of propositions.
There have been emotional appeals, fans claiming they need seats for elderly parents or veterans returning from Iraq. "I want to give them to a student who lost his legs in a car crash, and one who is failing miserably in junior college," a posting read. "This is no joke."
Plaschke had a column earlier this week on a USC fan who has attended almost every home game since 1933— he is 91. At UCLA, the Daily Bruin complains that the pre-game pranks just ain't what they were before both schools declared a zero-tolerance policy: "The last major trick played against UCLA was in 1989, when USC students released hundreds of crickets into Powell Library during finals week."