Deion Sanders' Colorado home-opener estimated $18 million in revenue for Boulder area

On3 imageby:Pete Nakos09/14/23


Since Deion Sanders arrived at Colorado this past winter, the athletic department has reaped the benefits.

The Buffaloes sold out their spring game, selling tickets for the first time since the 1980s and netting $200,000 in profits. Through two games, nearly 16 million viewers have tuned into their games.

Now the Boulder, Colorado, community is seeing a similar return from the former NFL and MLB star’s arrival. In a video released by Sanders’ Well Off Media company, the coach was heard speculating that the Boulder community made $18 million off the home opener against Nebraska last week.

Turns out those are just estimates, released by the Visit Boulder Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. The full economic impact will not be known for a few more weeks. It’s clear fans have come from all directions to watch the Buffaloes, though.

Coach Prime has captured the nation’s attention, too, with ESPN’s College GameDay and Fox’s Big Noon Kickoff expected to be in Boulder this weekend even though the 18th-ranked Buffaloes don’t play until 10 p.m. ET against Colorado State.

“The number Coach cited was an estimate that was put out by the Visit Boulder Convention and Visitor’s Bureau that anticipated the economic impact of Saturday’s sold-out Nebraska game to be between $18-$20 million,” a Colorado spokesperson told On3 in a statement. “Room night occupancy and some other metrics are going to be trickling in over the next couple of weeks and we won’t have a definitive sense of the full-scale economic impact of the game until all of that data is in. But the number Coach cited is accurate as an estimate.”

The economic returns could just be a starting point. Colorado hosts No. 5 USC and Caleb Williams on Sept. 30, which is turning into one of the most highly-anticipated matchups of the season.

On3 spoke with a highly respected Colorado donor on Wednesday, who wished to remain anonymous, who said he has, “nearly been brought to tears” a few times this season. The Buffaloes won a national title in the 1990s under coach Bill McCartney. The program has struggled in recent years, capped by a 1-11 last season. Colorado’s victory at TCU in Week 1 was its first road game win since 2021.

Colorado ticket prices take off

Along with a significant economic impact on the Boulder community, Colorado’s ticket sales have taken off in Year 1 with Deion Sanders. The average secondary market ticket price for Buffaloes’ home games now sits at $517, an $11 increase from last week.

According to data from TicketIQ, Colorado holds the highest average ticket in college football, knocking off Ohio State. The Buckeyes now rank second at $512 for home games, taking them out of the No. 1 spot for the first time since the beginning of the 2021 season.

“The biggest story in college sports is Prime Time,” Paul Finebaum said on The Tony Kornheiser Show. “I’ve covered college football for more than 40 years. I have never seen one individual completely take all the oxygen out of the sport.”

For this weekend’s game, TicketIQ shows Colorado State vs. Colorado tickets priced as low as $224 and as high as $783.

The Buffs haven’t even played a Pac-12 opponent at home yet. The Sept. 30 matchup with USC has tickets starting at $378. Colorado’s Oct. 13 matchup with Stanford at Folsom Field is a hot ticket right now. The lowest secondary resale price is $693.

The Buffs sold $430,000 worth of tickets in just three days following their TCU win. They now have the second-highest year-over-year ticket price increase in the sport, now sitting at 327%, per TicketIQ.