When President Trump attends the annual college football grudge match between the Louisiana State University Tigers and the University of Alabama Crimson Tide on Saturday, it’s likely that the Republican National Committee will be footing the bill for his tickets and travel.
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Trump’s trip to Bryant-Denny Stadium will mark his third appearance at a major sporting event in the last several weeks after previous stops in Washington for Game 5 of the World Series and at New York's Madison Square Garden for the UFC 244 mixed martial arts event. While the financial details of Trump’s attendance at the LSU-Alabama game have yet to be confirmed, the RNC covered the cost of tickets at the two other recent events, the Washington Post reported, citing officials familiar with the matter.
“Depending on the circumstances, the RNC and/or the Trump Campaign cover the portions of travel costs for the President that are related to political events,” an RNC spokeswoman told FOX Business regarding Trump’s trip to Alabama. “This is consistent with federal regulations and past practice both in this and previous administrations.”
Tickets for the game that pits top-ranked LSU against number two Alabama was priced at $270 for the cheapest seat on StubHub with the most expensive seats in excess of $1,000.
When presidential travel has a political purpose, federal regulations require that their political parties or campaigns cover the cost of the trip. The University of Alabama referred a request for comment to the White House. The White House declined to comment.
The RNC paid about $60,000 for tickets, security and catering for Trump and his guests to attend UFC 244 at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 2, according to the Post. The committee paid $465 per seat when Trump, members of Congress and staffers attended the World Series at Nationals Park.
The president’s presence at the game prompted school officials to boost security efforts at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Ticketholders were advised to get in line to enter the stadium by 1 p.m. CT for a 2:30 p.m. CT kickoff. Stadium gates will open at 11:30 a.m. CT.
“It is recommended that any non-essentials be left at home or in vehicles,” the school said in a release.
Trump drew a mixed crowd at UFC 244 and was showered with boos during his appearance at the World Series. The University of Alabama’s Student Government Association initially warned that students who “engage in disruptive behavior” would forfeit their seats for the rest of the season, but later sought to clarify its stance.
“Some have misinterpreted my comment regarding 'disruptive behavior,'" SGA Vice President for Student Affairs Jason Rothfarb said in a statement. "As with other games this season, Organization’s Block Seating locations will be clearly marked, but at certain times, other students can and should have access to open seats. By disruptive behavior, we are asking students to be respectful to all students and staff and avoid altercations.
Alabama and LSU enter Saturday’s game ranked first and second in the nation, respectively. Both teams have undefeated records.