While most fans have to scramble, members of the Louisiana Legislature will be assured of seats to the Tigers-Cajuns showdown this weekend with a trip to the College World Series in Omaha on the line.
LSU has offered to sell all 144 state House and Senate members two tickets for all three games, if needed, in the best-of-three series that starts on Saturday night at Alex Box Stadium.
The always coveted tickets carry extra meaning this time since the super regional pits schools whose campuses are less than an hour apart and whose fan bases do not especially care for each other.
And the special access comes in the waning days of a session where state aid for LSU, University of Louisiana at Lafayette and other colleges and universities hangs in the balance amid the state’s $1.6 billion shortfall to keep funding at current levels.
How valuable are the tickets?
StubHub was advertising only a handful Tuesday. But four located well down the right field line for Game 2 — only slightly better than those offered to lawmakers — carried an asking price of $230.40 each, or $921.60 for four.
Timothy Messa, director of ticket operations in the LSU Athletic Department, said Tuesday that each state lawmaker could buy two tickets for all the games for $67. That is the same amount charged to the general public.
Legislators were offered the ticket options earlier. The in-state matchup is a bonus that makes the tickets all the more valuable.
Messa said the tickets are located in the last section of seats along the left field line — Sections 123 and 223.
Exactly how many exercised their option is unclear, but lawmakers generally take advantage of the perk.
Rep. Darrell Ourso, R-Baton Rouge, said he is purchasing the tickets but cannot attend the games. “I am buying and a constituent is going to buy them from me,” Ourso said.
Rep. Mike Huval, R-Breaux Bridge, said he expects a long list of requests and said he would like to attend one game himself.
“I am sure I will be getting some calls from people that would love to go to the game,” Huval said. “I think it is a great thing for both Baton Rouge and Acadiana.”
Others blasted the legislative access in messages on Facebook.
“Need to quit giving them losers perks like they are royalty or something,” wrote a poster identified as Brandon-Elisha Wood.
Judy Taylor Gauthreaux made a similar point: “Maybe they should try doing the job they were elected to do instead of getting game tickets!!!”
The session ends on June 11, and House or Senate gatherings are possible this weekend.
However, the games could have an impact on legislative schedules.
The first contest is set for 7 p.m. Saturday. Game 2 is on Sunday at 5 p.m or 6 p.m.
Game 3, if needed, would be Monday at noon, 3 p.m., 6 p.m. or 7 p.m.
Neither LSU President and Chancellor F. King Alexander nor Michael Bonnette, a spokesman for the school, returned calls for comment.
In the past, top LSU officials have said lawmakers are allowed to buy the tickets because the Legislature “is just another constituency that we attempt to service if we can.”
Schools in other states offer lawmakers and other public officials access to high-profile events. However, LSU has led the nation in baseball attendance for years, which means a ticket to a super regional in Baton Rouge is a hotter commodity than one for a similar series in Los Angeles.
LSU has won six national championships in baseball since 1991 but has never faced UL-Lafayette in a super regional.
Alex Box Stadium has a listed official capacity of 10,326 seats.
The school sold about 9,200 season tickets at the start of the season. Those season ticket holders who wanted to go and applied have access to super regional tickets. That demand was met, LSU officials said.
LSU has to offer about 600 prime seats to UL-Lafayette under NCAA rules.
A few seats and standing room only spots will be offered to the public at 8 a.m. Friday.
Messa said students had the chance to pre-order tickets before the regionals played last weekend.
NCAA rules require students to pay for the tickets, not enter the stadium by swiping their ID cards as they can during the regular season.
Messa said requests from other state officials, including statewide officeholders, are handled through the office of the LSU president/chancellor.
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Joel Robideaux, R-Lafayette, who is heavily involved in the budget and higher education debate, said he bought the tickets.
“It’s an exciting time,” Robideaux said. “You are playing arguably the best team in the country. You know it’s a difficult lift.”
Rep. Chris Broadwater, R-Hammond and a big fan of the Southeastern Louisiana University baseball Lions, said one of his constituents has claimed his tickets for the first game and another is interested in game 2.
And if there is a third and deciding game?
“Everyone will want that ticket,” Broadwater said.
Follow Will Sentell on Twitter, @WillSentell. For more coverage of Louisiana government and politics, follow our Politics blog at http://blogs.theadvocate.com/politicsblog.