Counterfeit tickets remain a problem in college football. Georgia fans who drove to Atlanta Dec. 2 for the SEC championship game with Auburn bought these tickets for $300 each before finding out at the gate that they were fakes. College Football Playoff officials warn against buying printed tickets from scalpers. BO EMERSON / BEMERSON@AJC.COM
Photo: staff
Photo: staff

How to avoid fake tickets to the championship game

How do you avoid buying fake tickets to the Jan. 8 College Football Playoff National Championship Game in Atlanta?

Counterfeits have been a problem.

Last year, three brothers turned vigilantes when a scalper sold them fake tickets to the Alabama/Clemson game in Tampa.

Scalpers created fake tickets to the Georgia/Auburn SEC championship game on Dec. 2, somehow counterfeiting the hard-to-match holographic printing technologies.

Officials with College Football Playoff, the organization staging the game, said there will be a kiosk at the Georgia World Congress Center where fans can have their tickets scanned for peace of mind.

But CFP Chief Operating Officer Michael Kelly said the best way to know that your tickets are bona fide is to buy them from one of three legitimate sources: either from the school (the University of Georgia or the University of Alabama), from College Football Playoff or from Ticketmaster’s Fan-to-Fan exchange.

Kelly added that most tickets are now sent to mobile devices, meaning there will be many fewer printed tickets issued for the game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

The short turnaround between the Rose Bowl and the championship game had much to do with that, he said. “We distribute more than half of our tickets to schools,” he said. With only seven days to prepare tickets, there was less time for the schools to mail them to patrons. Digital tickets are a practical solution to that problem.

A side effect, said Kelly, is this will “minimize the counterfeit tickets and people getting taken advantage of.”

But with some ticket packages selling for tens of thousands of dollars, the temptation to take advantage of patrons will be strong.

Kelly said it is likely that scalpers will be selling printed tickets outside the stadium, but said, “I would be very, very cautious” about buying them. “I wouldn’t be buying one,” he added.

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