NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/TiqIQ) – It’s been 53 years since Madison Square Garden last hosted an NCAA Tournament game. Back in the 1961 tournament, Jack Ramsay coached St. Joseph’s to a third place finish. Tex Winter coached Kansas State and Adolph Rupp coached Kentucky. There were only 24 teams in the tournament, which lasted just 11 days. Needless to say, March Madness has come a long way in the 53-year hiatus from MSG and has undergone significant expansion during that time as a result of commercialization and public demand for more action. This year, the NCAA Tournament finally returns to the ‘Mecca of Basketball’ for the East Regionals, and there is perhaps no better example of the demand for March Madness than prices for NCAA Tournament tickets to these sessions.
Currently, the average price for a full strip of Madison Square Garden NCAA tickets to the East Regional (Sweet 16 and Elite 8) is $969.57. This is the highest price of any region this year, and also the highest since the NCAA tournament was last in the NYC area, which was back in 2011 at the Prudential Center. A strip of tickets to this year’s East Regionals still carry a 7.1% premium over those of 2011, which had an average price of $905.56. Even the least expensive ticket strip available for the MSG sessions carries a price tag of $386, which is easily the highest get-in price of any regional, and is 37.9% above the average price of $280.01 for the South Regional. Tickets for the East Regional have been sold out on the secondary market for quite some time, so substantial demand has been keeping these secondary market prices at these high marks throughout the tournament.
Session 1 of the East Regional (Sweet 16 round) features UConn, Iowa State, Michigan State, and Virginia. The latter three teams are three of the top four seeds in the region, while UConn is the squad with the strongest local ties. This has resulted in Session 1 having an average price of $673.03 and a get-in of $299, which are the highest such figures of any regional session 1 this year. In fact, East Regional Session 1 is currently the most expensive session of the entire tournament, surpassing the Final Four Semifinals ($600.75) and the NCAA Championship Game ($608.19). By comparison, the West Regional is the next most expensive regional Session 1 with an average price of $507.30, a discount of over 22% from the East. The other regional first sessions are not even close, with the Midwest at an average price of $295, and the South at $145.23.
For the New York City big timers looking to take advantage of this rare occurrence of having the NCAA Tournament at MSG, the most expensive ticket for Session 1 is currently listed at $5,780 in Row 1 of Club Sideline Section 4. There are also a handful of suites available, listed for as much as $67,000.
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