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Which Local Teams Are Driving Highest Prices For NCAA Tournament Tickets?

Head coach Jim Boeheim of the Syracuse Orangemen speaks with Trevor Cooney #10 (credit: Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

Head coach Jim Boeheim of the Syracuse Orangemen speaks with Trevor Cooney #10 (credit: Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/TiqIQ) - Syracuse may have been snubbed from the East Region and a potential appearance at Madison Square Garden for the Sweet 16 and Elite 8, but the Orange will play even closer to home for the 2nd and 3rd rounds of the NCAA Tournament. Despite being placed in the South Region, Syracuse will open up at the First Niagara Center (formerly HSBC Arena) in Buffalo, N.Y.—the draw closest to campus that they could have possibly gotten. While it’s no guarantee how far a given team may advance, higher seeds can historically feel pretty good about making it to the 3rd round. Naturally, 2nd and 3rd round venues located in close proximity to participating schools often carry higher secondary market ticket prices.

With an average price of $300.20, the 3rd session in Buffalo is the 2nd highest priced session across all NCAA Tournament tickets during the first two rounds. Given that a number of fairly local teams are likely to be involved, it’s no surprise that demand has been quite strong since the brackets came out. In the South Region, it seems fairly likely that Syracuse will move on to participate in Buffalo’s 3rd session, while the winner of Connecticut/St. Joseph’s will likely take on Villanova over in the East. Although Syracuse and Connecticut are no longer in the Big East conference, their northeast fan bases have served as a boon to ticket prices for the Buffalo games. With average ticket prices of $188.65 and $185.70 on the secondary market, even Sessions 1 and 2 check in well above the 2nd Round tourney-wide average of $170.25 at a premium of roughly 10%. But the Session 3 premium in Buffalo is still substantially higher, 48.6% over the tourney-wide 3rd round average.

Despite the Buffalo Session 3 premium, the most expensive location for 2nd and 3rd round games overall is St. Louis. While Buffalo has the 2nd most expensive Session 3 in the country, the St. Louis premium for Sessions 1 and 2 make up the difference. Games at the Scottrade Center currently carry an average of 229.35 on the secondary market across all three sessions. The premium for St. Louis tickets is due to the close proximity of Kansas, Wichita State, and Kansas State, all of whom will be playing their 2nd and 3rd round games at the Scottrade Center. Despite these lofty price tags, both St. Louis and Buffalo sessions still have tickets available on the primary market in addition to substantial secondary market supply.

In fact, all sessions of the tournament with the exception of the Final Four and the Sweet 16/Elite 8 at Madison Square Garden still have primary market tickets available. However, quantities are limited or unavailable for most good sections. In St. Louis, the best available seats on the primary market are a few rows up in the corner of the upper section, checking in with a price tag of $198. Contrarily, there are nearly 3,200 tickets available on the secondary market for Session 2 in Buffalo, and over 4,600 tickets available for Sessions 2 and 3 in St. Louis, and these tickets are available across a wide variety of sections. Fans can get into Buffalo from the secondary market for as inexpensively as $43, $58, or $147 for each of the three Sessions, while the get-in prices are $65, $85, $106 for St. Louis. These get in prices are quite similar to even the least expensive site for rounds 2 and 3, which is the AT&T Center in San Antonio. With only one local team playing there, 6-seeded Baylor ripe for upset in the West, demand is not that strong for San Antonio tickets which currently carry an average price of $153.98 across all sessions. Get-in prices for the San Antonio sessions check in at $51, $52, and $64. Although there is still primary supply available for all of these 2nd and 3rd round sessions, tickets are currently selling at lower price points on the secondary market.

With no Final Four tickets available on the primary market, the secondary market is also the place to be for the championship of college basketball, albeit at a different price point from the earlier rounds. Often times, Session 1 of the Final Four carries a higher price point than the championship game because of the opportunity to see two high level basketball games as opposed to one. This year however, the championship game slightly edges out Session 1 at an average price of $669.86 as opposed to $644.02. With over 8,300 tickets available on the secondary market for each Final Four session, there are certainly deals to be had. Tickets are currently available as inexpensively as $150 for Session 1 and $125 for Session 2. Tickets for last year’s Final Four at the Georgia Dome averaged $887.90 for Session 1 and $468.16 for the championship game, so at least for Session 1, this year is a bargain for those who want to take the trip of a lifetime to the Final Four.

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