Thanks To UConn, NCAA Regionals At Madison Square Garden Now More … – Forbes
When it comes to March Madness, it’s expected that things often don’t go as expected. That, of course, is part of the fun, and what drives millions around the country to tune in to catch a glimpse of the improbable. When it comes to ticket prices, however, there is usually a clear order, with prices going up in each successive round. Final Four tickets for the semi-final session are almost always the most expensive ticket for tournament with all four teams in action. Depending on who is playing in the finals, prices can drop a little or a lot, as half of the fans who made the trip to find themselves looking to unload tickets. Unlike previous years, however, the 2014 Final Four has competition, this time from the Sweet 16 regional round to be played at Madison Square Garden. According to data from TiqIQ, at an average list price of $747 on the secondary market, the East regional semi-final game at MSG is 23% higher than the semi-final game on Final Four weekend at AT&T Stadium in Dallas. In a tournament filled with the unexpected, this may be the biggest shocker of all. Over the last two years, the closest that any regional round came to the Final Four was a 42% discount. That happened last year for the Midwest regional at Lucas Oil Stadium. The biggest difference in prices over the last two years was the 75% discount for tickets to the West Regional at U.S. Airways Center in 2012. That regional semi-final had an average price of $175 compared to the Final Four semi-final price of $722.
While Madison Square Garden never had a chance to host Syracuse this tournament, their former Big East-rival UConn did make it back to their former home-away-from-home, and that has been plenty to send prices soaring. Prices for the Friday night session are up 60% since UConn advanced with their win over Villanova. Just a Metro North-ride away from Manhattan, it seems both alum and students are doing whatever they can to get their hands on the first NCAA Tournament tickets at the Garden in 53 years. They’re also hoping to relive some of the magic that Ray Allen and Kemba Walker used to show on the Garden hardwood.
As for the other rounds, the West regional has stayed closest to form, with three of the top Four seeds still alive. Aside from Baylor blowing out Creighton by 30, there haven’t been any baffling box scores from the early rounds. Most expected to see Arizona and San Diego State in Anaheim and ticket demand shows that locals are willing to pay and fans are willing to travel. The Honda Center features the second highest price point at $376 and average resale price has steadily increased since Friday.
The MidWest regional contains without a doubt the most intriguing matchup of the Sweet 16. Two legendary coaches go head to head as John Calipari’s Kentucky Wildcats take on Rick Pitino’s Louisville Cardinals for an in-state affair as Friday’s nightcap at Lucas Oil Stadium, which is less than 200 miles from each campus. Ticket prices have increased 18% since the matchup was set. The current average ticket price is $267, up from $176 on Friday. If Duke hadn’t suffered an early exit, a Blue Devils-Michigan bout may have ballooned ticket prices past the Honda Center. While prices are likely to rise in the coming days, they still won’t catch the next bigget interstate sporting event: Kentucky Derby Tickets. At an average price of just under $1,000, you can still bring a family of four to the regionals for the price of one ticket to the Derby.
The South regional will ensure that a double digit seed makes it to the Elite 8, with Number 10 Stanford and Number 11 Dayton squaring off on Thursday. While seeing two Cinderella teams on a bigger stage is fun water cooler talk, FedEx Forum tickets have taken the biggest hit on the secondary market. Fans expected recognizable names and stars like Jim Boeheim and Andrew Wiggins, but are instead will see the Cardinal and Flyers. Ticket prices have taken a 17% decrease in the past 24 hours, and are expected to continue to fall. The average ticket price for the sessions in Memphis is $95. At that price, it makes it the least expensive regional session over the last three years, over $60 behind the West Regional in 2012.
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