MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Dressed in a Ohio State jersey with the name “Big Nut” on the back, Jon Peters poses for pictures. He painted his face scarlet and gray and is decked head-to-toe in everything Buckeye.
“We’re very loud. We’re very proud. We like to show our support; O-H-I-O,” “Big Nut” said to the camera.
If you haven’t noticed there are a few new nuts in town—Buckeyes to be exact.
The Buckeyes are in town for Friday night’s Orange Bowl game versus the Clemson Tigers.
Peters reached into his pocket to pull out a nut and explains, “A buckeye is the actual fruit of our state tree.
Larry Lokai, an Ohio councilman smiled as he basked in the sunshine Thursday.
“It’s great to see nice green grass and palm trees and warm weather” Lokai said.
Back home in Ohio, residents are in the midst of several inches of snow coming down and a high of about 18 degrees. Lokai gave up the winter coat for shorts and a scarlet and gray mohawk wig. “Actually I changed my hairstyle on my way down to Miami, try to blend in.” he explained.
Over at Jungle Island, a coaches luncheon served up a prelude to what should be a good matchup.
Ohio State was one game shy of playing for a National Championship and Clemson is on the prowl to redeem an Orange Bowl blowout two years ago.
The Orange Bowl Committee is thrilled with the matchup that should garner great TV ratings.
“It just puts the spotlight on South Florida.” Eric Poms, the CEO of the Orange Bowl Committee said.
Getting people to go to the game though has been a challenge. As of last week, Ohio State had sold roughly half of their student and fan tickets. Nine-thousand tickets were returned to the Orange Bowl to donate to military families. Clemson discounted their allotment, offering tickets 40% off face value. If you bought four or more tickets, the University threw in in fan zone passes and free parking.
Still cheaper tickets can be found on secondary market. A total of $24 gets you a nose bleed seat at the game. It’s a problem FSU complained about last year when they had to buy some $2.1 million in unsold tickets. Poms said he was aware of the problems.
“The world is changing. Obviously it’s getting more sophisticated with a secondary market,” he said about the ticket prices.
Next year college football will start a new playoff system. The Orange Bowl hopes to address the issue then. Poms said, “We are going to take this window coming up in 2014 to adjust to the new world.”
In the end the ticket prices are not the Orange Bowl’s goal, it’s getting fans to come to South Florida and spend.
Kyle Matlack who traveled from Las Vegas hasn’t been shy about spending.
“I already have and I will some more. I’m glad my wife isn’t with me. It would be a lot worse.” Matlack said. Councilman Lokai chimed in, “I just parked over here at the parking meters. Like $12 for four hours…Yeah I’m helping your economy!”