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April 4, 2013

Final Four a ridiculously hot ticket

Michigan is usually a good draw, no matter the sport. This year is no different.

Prices for tickets this year have effectively doubled as compared to last year's Final Four, and as of now it's costing fans about $700 to get into the semifinals alone, or $400 to buy a ticket to just the National Championship game. Particularly bullish fans can buy an all-session ticket right now for an average price of $1,000.

Seatgeek.com reports that waiting might be the buyer's course of action.

"Based on trends we've seen on secondary markets for past Final Fours, we'd encourage fans to sit tight as prices are likely to fall from these lofty averages in the coming days," they said. "Particularly for fans who might be patient and pass on the Semifinals in the hopes that they can attend a Michigan appearance in the Finals, there will be good deals to be had on Finals tickets come Sunday, when the markets will be flooded with tickets from fans who supported schools knocked out in Saturday's semifinals.

The facts:

  • Ticket prices on the secondary market for this years Final Four will cost you a pretty penny. Semi-Final tickets are selling for an average price of $710, while Championship Game tickets are going for an average of $401. If you're particularly bullish about your team's chances to win it all, you can save by buying full-Session tickets, which are going for $1000 on average. Since Elite 8 games were finished on March 31st ticket prices have not changed significantly but in the last 24 hours ticket prices have gone up by about 18%.

  • Tickets are far more expensive this year than last year. At this point in the lead-up to the Final Four last year in New Orleans (3 days prior to semi-final games), we saw an average ticket price of only $376. This year's average semi-final ticket of $710 makes tickets 46% more expensive this year.

    Some factors could be the inclusion of popular schools such as Syracuse and Michigan that have not made the Final Four in a number of years, as well as the fact that the Georgia Dome is a smaller venue than last year's Final Four site (the Mercedes-Benz Superdome). There are about 5,000 less seats available in Atlanta this year than there were in New Orleans last year. The upper deck in the Superdome is also much larger than the upper level at the Georgia Dome, meaning there are fewer upper-deck cheap seats to go around this year to put downward pressure on average ticket prices.

  • Despite a recent rise in ticket prices in recent days, Seatgeek.com does expect prices to fall somewhat as we get closer to tipoff this weekend.

    "For last year's semi-final games we saw ticket prices drop significantly in the final few days leading up to tipoff," they said. "Average ticket prices two days before tipoff last year were $439, before falling to $316 the next day and then to $210 by gameday. These numbers show that tickets were 28% cheaper the day before the game relative to two days before and that tickets were 34% cheaper when purchased on the day of game compared to the day before the game. We'd expect similar price movement this year, so sit tight and wait a few days if you're still in the market for Semi-finals tickets.

  • Fans who are looking to catch their team play live in the semi-finals for as little as possible can purchase the cheapest available ticket for $352, which gets you a seat in nosebleed Section 330, Row 18. On the other end of the price spectrum, a premium seat for the semi-final games will run you a whopping 685% more than that cheapest seat in the Georgia dome. A premium lower-level center-court seat is selling for $2760, which gets you down to Section 136, Row PP.

  • Ticket prices for the semi-final games are currently selling for 43% more than for Championship only game tickets, with the average semi-finals ticket selling for $710 and the average championship game ticket selling for $401. Fans heading down to Atlanta appear to be willing to spend the money to watch their team play but not willing to spend money on a gamble that their team will advance to the play for a national title.

  • Fans buying full-session tickets with hopes that their team will make it to the finals shouldn't assume that their championship portion of their ticket will be worth enough to make their money back if their team is knocked out. Last year we saw an increase in the amount of tickets sold for the championship matchup but no drastic change in ticket price. Tickets before the semi-final matchup on March 31st averaged out at $239 and tickets after the semi-final matchup averaged out at $228, a 5% decrease in price.


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