Notre Dame Football Introduces Its Fans To Inflationary Spiral
People With Rooms, Tickets To Sell Find No Ceiling; The $500 Parking Space
By ILAN BRAT
September 7, 2006
SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- For years, Anthony Gallis, of Dallas, Pa., has rented a house here for $1,200 a
weekend to stay in when he takes his wife and four children to see Notre Dame football games. But for
this year's home-opener Saturday against rival Penn State, his usual house had been rented for months, by
somebody else. Another house suggested to him, at $3,000, has also been taken.
Mr. Gallis ended up reserving a suite at a Hampton Inn and Suites in South Bend, which normally goes
for $129 a night, for $400 a night, with a three-night minimum. "It's just insane," says the 42-year-old
owner of a State Farm Insurance agency back in Pennsylvania.
At Notre Dame, where the college-football tradition of Knute Rockne, the Four Horsemen and the Gipper
has a mythic aura, alumni and fans have long filled the stadium and packed hotels within 50 miles on
Saturday game days. But the frenzy for home games this year is extreme even by Notre Dame's manic
Ticket requests for home games hit unprecedented levels. Prices online for everything from pregame
parties to game tickets and rental houses have soared: A mere parking pass for the Penn State game
recently sold on eBay for $500. Another eBay buyer spent $3,200 for two $59 tickets to the same game.
To cater to well-heeled Notre Dame alumni, the regional airport has added parking space for up to 100
more private jets.
Even the price of prime rib at Tippecanoe Place, a local steak and seafood restaurant, will rise a couple of
dollars on the busiest Notre Dame weekends. "We only raise our prices a dollar or two," says General
Manager David Barry. "The hotels went for the throat."
Indeed, rates for many of the 4,015 hotel rooms in the South Bend area are skyrocketing. Two weeks
before the start of the season, the Comfort Suites here was asking $245 a night, with a two-night
minimum, for the Penn State weekend. That's up from $109 a night on non-football weekends. For the
Sept. 16 game against the University of Michigan, the South Bend Marriott is charging $649 a night for a