Thinking Outside The Bun: Taco Bell Sponsors 3000 Tickets to the CFB Playoff

I gained a lot of respect for a certain fast food chain a few days ago. I never thought I would be saying this, but THANK YOU TACO BELL!

Taco Bell has always been a pretty big influence on my life. Since I was a young lad in middle school I will never forget the week that the “Crunchwrap Supreme” (a flat taco shell with all the fixin’s, wrapped inside of a tortilla in the shape of a hexagon) went on sale for just 89 cents apiece. I probably ate my weight in Taco Bell that week. It may have been the pinnacle of my happiness as a chubby, little, pre-teen boy.

Crunchwrap Supreme

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Crunchwrap Supreme

But now I have more reason than ever to express my thanks to Taco Bell, or T-Bell as I call it. As of November 6th, Taco Bell had partnered with the NCAA’s first college football playoff, sponsoring 3000 total seats for the three playoff games.

That means that Alabama, Ohio State, Florida State, and of course Oregon, gave away 500 FREE student tickets to their respective bowl games. And guess who was lucky enough to get one of those tickets? This guy.

When I woke up to check my email to see whether I had gotten a ticket or not, I felt like Charlie Bucket in search of the elusive golden ticket. Only this time it wasn’t golden, and it wasn’t wrapped inside a candy bar. I opened up my email to a message that read, “Congratulations, you have been randomly selected to receive a free Rose Bowl ticket as part of the Taco Bell ‘Live Más’ student section promotion.” The ‘Live Más’ student section is a collection of all free ticket winners sitting together at the Rose Bowl.

After reading the email I was in a state of bliss. Pure joy. An opportunity like this only comes once in a lifetime… Or maybe twice, as the agreement marks a new multi-year deal between the fast food chain and ESPN.

Chief Marketing Officer at Taco Bell, Chris Brandt explained the promotion, “The Live Más Student Section brings one of the most important and impactful elements of football typically reserved for the regular season into the inaugural College Football Playoff. The passionate student fans define what it is to Live Más, especially at playoff games, and we’re thrilled to be able to provide such a memorable experience with a Taco Bell twist.”

An aerial photo from the 2012 Rose Bowl

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An aerial photo from the 2012 Rose Bowl

As a Spanish major, I can confirm that I am definitely living “más” with this deal. For those that don’t know, “más” means “more” in spanish. (Oh, how good my education has been to me!) According to a recent ticket report, the average ticket price to the Rose Bowl is $376. That’s a lot of money for anybody, let alone a college student. A free ticket to such a huge game is more than appreciated.

Some students, my friends included, are unhappy with the promotion. Even though 500 tickets were given away for free, the total allotment of tickets to Oregon fans is much lower than in previous Duck BCS Bowl games. The total ticket distribution for Duck fans is 12,500 tickets. That’s just a fraction of the 31,000 they were given for the 2012 Rose Bowl, of which 2,000 were reserved for students. Even the 2013 Fiesta Bowl had a total allotment of 17,000 tickets, of which 1,000 were reserved for students.

So while 500 students are attending the game for free, many others will have to turn to Stubhub or Ticketmaster for more expensive tickets.

But Taco Bell is also sponsoring another 60 seats, 10 per school per game, for the most dedicated football fans. Students can enter to win these prized seats by following @ESPNCFB on Twitter and Instagram. Students will post pictures with the hashtag #livemasfans showing their dedication to their school’s football team and be notified via direct message whether or not they have been selected.

The promotion has even featured ESPN’s own Rece Davis in a commercial detailing the specifics behind the offer, here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l_Kzw3gMuTg

Aside from the fact that I got a free ticket to the Rose Bowl, I think the promotion is a smart, effective way to reach college students and football fans everywhere. As Rece said, the student section is the rowdiest, most enthusiastic section of any college football stadium, and branding that section with a food that college kids already gravitate towards is a brilliant marketing tecnique.

Along with Duck fans everywhere awaiting New Years Day when we take on the Florida State Seminoles in Pasadena, I could not be more excited. I figure with the $376 I am saving on Rose Bowl tickets, I might host a tailgate. I’m not the best cook, so I was thinking of buying the food pre-made… that’s a whole lot of Taco Bell. Here’s to the Ducks living más come gameday!

Top Photo by Mike Mozart

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