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New college football ranking finds SEC schools atop HomeAway analysis of game weekend rental prices

AUSTIN, Texas, Sept. 10, 2018 – A first-ever analysis by HomeAway® of vacation home rental booking prices in big college towns during football season finds the SEC and Notre Dame are the conference and team to beat in terms of team fanaticism. [1] The study of homes rented on HomeAway during game weekends from 2016 to 2018 (to date) reveals that SEC towns took five top spots on the list of highest average nightly rates. Meanwhile, Notre Dame emerged victorious as an individual team, with homes in South Bend, Indiana, going deep at $818 per night on average.

HomeAway, a site for renting beach houses, cabins, condos and more worldwide, examined three-year data from major college football towns across the U.S. Among the highlights:

  • The SEC Rules: Renting at an average of $623/night, five SEC towns cracked the HomeAway fan top 10: Oxford, Mississippi (Ole Miss); Tuscaloosa, Alabama (‘Bama); Auburn, Alabama (Auburn); Athens, Georgia (Georgia); and College Station, Texas (Texas A&M). [2]
  • Spending in South Bend: Notre Dame fans win the individual team bowl, shelling out an average of $818 each home game weekend night for a South Bend, Indiana, vacation rental. [3]
  • Roaring Like a Lion: Penn State ranks as the Eastern U.S. champ, with pigskin-obsessed, State College-bound trekkers snapping up HomeAway-listed inventory at an average rate of $752/night. [4]

“It’s hard to find people more passionate about their teams than college football fans, but don’t let those passion-pumped prices fool you. Since vacation rentals often accommodate six, eight, or even more guests, the value is remarkable,” said Melanie Fish, HomeAway’s travel expert. “It’s truly a win-win, with fans getting exactly what they need and want, and homeowners generating income.”

Here are HomeAway’s top 10 college football fan passion towns based on per night vacation home rental cost[i]:

  • South Bend, Ind. (Notre Dame: $818)
  • State College, Pa. (Penn State: $752)
  • Oxford, Miss. (Ole Miss: $744)
  • Tuscaloosa, Ala. (‘Bama: $700)
  • Auburn, Ala. (Auburn: $616)
  • Blacksburg, Va. (VA Tech, $553)
  • Athens, Ga. (University of Georgia, $536)
  • College Station, Texas (Texas A&M, $518)
  • Clemson, S.C. (Clemson, $498)
  • Stillwater, Okla. (Oklahoma State, $492)

Sleeps 16 house in Union Pier, MI

[1] HomeAway’s analysis focused on vacation rental booking prices in home cities of 26 of the top 30 football home attendance leaders, according to the NCAA. Cities and universities located in popular, year-round travel destinations—Austin, Los Angeles, Miami and Seattle—were excluded from the analysis.  Source: NCAA 2017 Football Attendance: FBS Home Attendance Leaders. (2018) Retrieved from NCAA website:

[2] Average nightly rental rates during home game weekends for 2016, 2017 and 2018 (through Aug. 1, 2018) college football seasons. 

[3] Average nightly rental rates in South Bend, Indiana, during home-game weekends for 2016, 2017 and 2018 (through Aug. 1, 2018) college football seasons. 

[4] Average nightly rental rates in State College, Pennsylvania, during home-game weekends for 2016, 2017 and 2018 (through Aug. 1, 2018) college football seasons. 


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