March Madness Ticket Prices
It's approach is imminent, and it's never to early to start thinking about tickets to the 2015 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. Ticket prices vary substantially based on a handful of variables including the stage of play, the location of the games, and the teams playing. We've seen some transactions around the earlier rounds of the games, but fans don't usually start buying tickets to the Final Four until the week of Conference Championships.
The Final Four 2015
There has been very little activity on the secondary market regarding the Final Four 2015. However, based on what we know, the average price of tickets to the full strip (the Final Four and the National Championship), is $860 at the moment. Tickets to just the NCAA Championship game are currently selling for and average of $564. The remaining primary inventory is limited, and the cheapest full-strip tickets to the Final Four are currently being sold for $1,010 on the primary market. The two big unknowns as far as ticket prices are concerned are how Conference Championships will pan out and whether or not Kentucky can keep its undefeated streak going into the Final Four.
Regional Championships 2015: Sweet Sixteen & Elite Eight
This year, the regional championships will be in Cleveland, Los Angeles, Houston, and Syracuse. The Midwest Regional will be held March 26 & 28 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. The Staples Center in Los Angeles will host the West Regional. On March 27 & 29, the South Regional will be held at NRG Stadium in Houston, and the East Regional will be held at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse.
At the moment, the West Regional in Los Angeles is the most expensive regional city where the average ticket price to see the two Sweet Sixteen games as well at the Elite Eight matchup is $571. Tickets to the Midwest strip in Cleveland, so far the second most expensive Regional, are going for an average of $478. Last year, the midwest regional in Indianapolis was the least expensive Regional: tickets sold for an average of just $319. Tickets to the South Regional currently average $447 on the secondary market. Surprisingly, the East Regional is currently the least expensive. Historically, the East Regional commands the highest average ticket price of any region, but because Syracuse is relatively inaccessible (especially compared to Boston, DC, and Newark), ticket prices are suffering.
Tickets for Early Rounds
Right now, Seattle and Louisville are the two most expensive host cities for the early rounds. For a full-strip ticket in Seattle, which includes two second-round games and a third round game, the average ticket price on the secondary market is $573. The Gonzaga Bulldogs have good odds of playing in both the second and third round at this point, so their local fans are scooping up tickets. Kentucky fans are similarly excited: the undefeated Wildcats are driving up the price of Louisville tickets to $443 for two sessions. For some perspective, tickets to the Final Four last year cost $608.
Given Kentucky's undefeated streak this season, it's no surprise that the SEC Tournament is the most expensive conference tournament in college basketball. A full strip of tickets to the SEC Basketball Tournament at Bridgestone Arena is averaging $933 on the resale market. Tickets to the championship alone are going for $323! Last year the final was still expensive, at $289, but the full strip tickets cost just $528 last year. That makes the 2015 SEC Tournament nearly 80% more expensive than last year's.
The ACC also has a strong showing this year. Since last year, Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Notre Dame, and Louisville joined the conference, so the average ticket price to the ACC Basketball championship game jumped from $166 to $217. A full strip of tickets to the ACC tournament this year is going for $706, the most expensive full strip tickets have been since 2011 when tickets average $747.
On the flip side, Big 12 and Big East Tournament tickets are lower than they have historically been. Both conferences have lost huge teams: the Big East lost Connecticut, Syracuse, Pittsburgh, and Notre Dame, which the Big 12 lost Colorado, Nebraska, Missouri, and Texas A&M. In spite of the loss of several major teams, the Big 12 boasts 5 of the top 20 teams in the country at the moment, and ticket prices are still down. This year full strip tickets to the Big East tournament are selling for $518, compared to nearly $1200 back in 2011. Tickets to the Big 12 Championship game are selling for $169 on the secondary market.