NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/TiqIQ) – Upon losing longtime foundational programs Connecticut and Syracuse during the offseason NCAA conference shakeup, it seemed as if the Big East would be left for dead. Instead, the Big East is as good as ever, particularly after adding a Creighton team that features likely NCAA Player of the Year Doug McDermott. Heading into the conference tournaments, the Big East still checks in as the 2nd most expensive ticket by overall average, after ranking #1 in the previous two seasons.
Across all sessions, Big East tournament tickets have an average price of $187.14. Up until yesterday’s shakeup during which SEC tournament tickets surpassed the Big East, the Big East had maintained its 3-year stranglehold on the highest priced tournament. Last year, Big East tourney tickets carried an average of $212. In 2012, they priced slightly lower at an average of $200 across all sessions. Additionally, this year’s Big East price figures reflect substantial secondary market supply, with an average of 2,867 tickets available per session. Only the ACC and Big Ten have a higher average quantity available.
In the past four Big East tournaments under the old conference structure, every team participated. This will be the same case in 2014, as all 10 of the new Big East members get seeded by conference record with similar elaborate tiebreakers to years past. #3 ranked Villanova has captured the top seed, while #14 Creighton took the two. Down in 7th sits old Big East giant Georgetown, which is actually tied with Connecticut for the most Big East tournament championships with 7.
Part of the allure for the Big East tournament throughout its history has been the host site of Madison Square Garden in the heart of New York City. This has not changed with the turnover of conference members. Although MSG was somewhat of a home away from home for Connecticut in particular, the close proximity of current Big East members St. John’s, Providence, Villanova, and Seton Hall still makes it easy for fans of these participants to make the trip to the Mecca of Basketball. With so many schools so close, it is no surprise that the Big East all sessions strip is the highest priced of any conference, at an average of $890.72. This reflects a premium of nearly 24% over the second most expensive all sessions conference tourney strip, which is the Big 12’s strip at an average price of $718.51. However, it is certainly the all sessions strip that has seen the most substantial decrease in price from last year. Last year’s strip was easily the most expensive of any conference tourney at an average of $1,315. With a number of high quality teams leaving the conference, this year’s strip is over 32% less expensive than that of last year.
Although Big East tournament tickets are generally less expensive than last year across the board, most sessions of the tourney have increased in price over the past few days as seeding has become more clear. However, it is actually the championship game that checks in with the lowest price other than the opening first session. With an average price of $69.43, the first session is the least expensive. The second session is most expensive, at an average of $292.59. The championship game checks in with a price between the two, $165.08. This price reflects a decline of 9.5% from yesterday alone, making the championship game the only session of the tournament to decline in price overnight. Although overall Big East tournament tickets are among the most expensive of any conference tourney, the championship game represents somewhat of a bargain, with an average ticket price below that of the Big 12, Pac 12, ACC, SEC, or Mountain West conference championship games.
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