Ticket Demand for Duke – UNC Basketball Games

One of college basketball’s most fiercely and closely contested rivalries begins a new chapter Wednesday night when the No. 8 Duke Blue Devils visit the North Carolina Tar Heels at the Dean Dome in Chapel Hill, NC. While these two teams and fan bases, separated by mere miles along “Tobacco Road” in the middle of North Carolina, will never lose the desire to defeat and demolish their rivals, ticket demand for the annual home and home series is going in very different directions. Although one would always expect the average ticket price for a UNC at Duke game to be higher than when the Tar Heels host the Blue Devils strictly because of limited seating at Cameron Indoor Stadium, the gap between ticket prices at the two venues is as large as it’s been in the last four years.

The average price for a ticket ($332) to Wednesday’s game in Chapel Hill represents the least expensive meeting between the Tar Heels and Blue Devils since at least the 2010-’11 season. Each of the last three meetings between the two teams in Chapel Hill had drawn average ticket prices of at least $400, with the high coming on February 8, 2012, when fans paid an average of $495 per ticket to see No. 10 Duke upset No. 5 UNC, 85-84. Meanwhile, the average ticket price for the March 8 game in Durham is $1,444, the highest it’s been since at least 2010-’11 and more than 4x the average ticket price of tomorrow night’s game.

UNC’s troubles on the hardwood this season – lowlighted by a three game losing streak that included a thrashing at new ACC rival Syracuse – have probably contributed to their home game’s drop in price. The Tar Heels are now riding a five-game winning streak as they enter the homestretch of their conference schedule with eyes on earning a better seed in next month’s ACC tournament. Overall, the average price of UNC tickets on the secondary market has fallen 18% year-over-year from last season, down to $92 from $112 per ticket. Still, Tar Heels tickets are the fourth-most expensive in college basketball this season behind Kentucky ($143 average ticket price), Kansas ($175) and Duke ($221).

The Blue Devils, on the other hand, once flirted with dropping out of the Top 25, as well, but have worked their way back into the NCAA top ten despite three losses to top five teams, all of which came on a neutral or away court. Despite the gap in ranking and apparent demand, these two teams are only separated by one loss in the conference, and both games will have major impact on the ACC scene before March Madness begins.

UNC Tar Heels vs. Duke Blue Devils Tickets

Duke – North Carolina Ticket Prices

Duke home games have consistently been more expensive than UNC ones over the last four years.

Upper-level tickets for Wednesday’s game can be had starting at $80, far less than the lowest price we’ve seen in previous years for UNC-Duke basketball at the Dean Dome ($125 last year, $148 in 2012, and $168 in 2011). You can get into the lower level for as little as $110 per ticket, and there’s even the option of sitting eight rows from the court along the sideline for $200. That’s a steal compared to the cost of attending the game at Cameron Indoor next month, where the cheapest seats available – located in the last row of Section 9 in the corner of the arena – are listed at $900 each, or 4.5x the cost of that eighth-row ticket for tomorrow’s game.

Tar Heels – Blue Devils Rivalry

Date Winner City State Venue
3/8/2014 TBD Durham NC Cameron Indoor Stadium
2/12/2014 TBD Chapel Hill NC Dean Dome
3/9/2013 Duke, 69-53 Chapel Hill NC Dean Dome
2/13/2013 Duke, 73-68 Durham NC Cameron Indoor Stadium
3/3/2012 UNC, 88-70 Durham NC Cameron Indoor Stadium
2/8/2012 Duke, 85-84 Chapel Hill NC Dean Dome
3/13/2011 Duke, 75-58 Greensboro NC Greensboro Coliseum
3/5/2011 UNC, 81-67 Chapel Hill NC Dean Dome
2/9/2011 Duke, 79-73 Durham NC Cameron Indoor Stadium