College basketball games can be relatively affordable, depending on which teams you’re going to see. Even teams in some of the most prominent conferences can offer inexpensive tickets. For instance, it could cost you $30 to see a North Carolina State game in the ACC. Tickets for smaller conference teams are even more affordable. It costs as little as $10 to see a game with North Carolina Central in the MEAC.
However, this isn’t the story with all college basketball games. It was estimated that in 2011 you’d have to pay $220 on average for a ticket to see Kentucky or Duke play. Meanwhile, it cost $100 on average to see Kansas or Indiana. The average price of $50 for a Georgetown game is practically a bargain when compared to those other matches.
Some specific college basketball matchups will cost even more to attend. This listing of the most expensive college basketball games includes more than just the games that occur during the big tournament held every year in March. It also includes games in many conference tournaments as well as some of the biggest rivalry games of the year.
These are games that involve not only big money but that also hold great meaning for those involved. College sports are home to some of the most heated rivalries in the world, creating a spectacle that few want to miss. Some conferences also value their tournaments a little more than others, especially since certain games can determine which teams become top seeds at the Big Dance. In the following list you will find the 10 most high-demand games in college basketball, and the large price tags attached to them.
10. NCAA Second and Third Round Games – $300
The first two rounds of the NCAA tournament are technically referred to as the Second and Third Rounds because of the four play-in games that are held before the full field of 64 teams is set up. This is an extremely expensive event to obtain seats for, as you could spend around $300 for the most expensive tickets to this game. The NCAA has some VIP tickets for sale with additional access to more features like a lounge and a party event, but you’d have to pony up $800 on average for such a ticket. The $300 value is a consistent average for all sites in the 2014 tournament including San Antonio, Raleigh, St. Louis and Spokane, just to name a few.
9. Big East Championship – $300
A prime ticket to the Big East Championship was worth as much as $300 in 2013. This event at Madison Square Garden in New York is expected to have the same maximum value in 2014, even with the massive realignment that the conference underwent. While the conference has many big name programs like Butler, Creighton, Georgetown and Villanova, the smaller tournament makes it so that smaller schools like Marquette or DePaul could technically make it to the championship. It’s also worthy to note that the average cost for a championship ticket was $200 based on all the ticket options available, so this game would be costly no matter where you sit. For hardcore fans it’s definitely worth it to take in this particular game before the Big Dance starts.
8. Big XII Championship – $330
The Big XII is a popular conference with many great teams like Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Texas and Baylor. While it’s true that the Big XII now only has ten teams thanks to some schools leaving in favor of the SEC, the conference is still a popular one that features several different top-name programs. The fact that the event is hosted in the state-of-the-art Sprint Center in Kansas City each year is a good excuse to hike up the ticket prices. A lower level seat for the championship game during the tournament can go for up to $330. This is particularly for those fans who don’t have any links to schools that are competing in the event.
7. Kentucky vs. Louisville – $400
It can cost up to $400 to get a ticket for the annual game between Kentucky and Louisville. This is primarily due the speed at which the game sells out each year, regardless of whether it’s in Louisville or Lexington. Compare this to the $35 value for student tickets to a regular Louisville game and you’ll see just how heated this rivalry is. As a result, many people head directly to the third party market to obtain their tickets. Prices to this game have really gone up in value over the years, especially thanks to the two schools’ recent successes in winning national championships. The fact that Louisville coach Rick Pitino once coached at Kentucky certain makes the rivalry all the more intriguing for everyone involved.
6. ACC Tournament Championship – $700
The ACC tournament has a good deal of history and is noted for having many popular teams competing far into the tournament each year. The championship game will have tickets that go for as much as $700 in some of the more exclusive sections of the stadium. This game is typically held at the Greensboro Coliseum in North Carolina, although the tournament has been known to change locations every couple years and has been played in Washington, Tampa Bay and New York. Still, the most expensive tickets for this championship game will normally be found in the lower-middle part of the stadium where the view is nothing short of spectacular. This tournament, like many others in college sports, has discounted tickets for people within certain schools, but you’d need to have a few good connections to get tickets in the best spots the stadium has to offer.
5. NCAA Regionals – $1,250
The regional matchups of the NCAA tournament, or the Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight as they are officially known, entail three games in one of four different sections. Tickets prices vary from game to game, but it’s estimated that the most expensive ticket for any of these events is worth an average of $1,250. This value is generally for a floor-level seat. It goes without saying that these seats provide the best viewing experience, but moreso because many of these events take place in incredibly spacious buildings where half the stadium may be cordoned off. One 2014 regional will be at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, for instance, and has select tickets going for $1,131. Another will take place at the much smaller FedEx Forum in Memphis and have tickets for up to $1,400.
4. Duke vs. North Carolina – $1,600
The rivalry between Duke and North Carolina has been heralded by many for being the best in all of college basketball. The game features two historic schools located only a few miles apart. Whether it’s held at the Dean Smith Center in Chapel Hill or Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, you can rest assured that tickets will be extremely expensive. In fact, you’re better off going to a third party site to get tickets as it can be impossible for even some students to get tickets to the game. StubHub estimates that the most expensive tickets for this matchup max out at $1,600 each for the lower areas of the stadium. Sometimes the tickets may be more expensive if the game is held at Cameron where the capacity is much smaller than the Dean Dome.
3. Big Ten Tournament Championship – $2,000
It can cost up to $2,000 for a premium ticket to see the championship game of the Big Ten tournament. This event is typically held in either Chicago or Indianapolis each year and often involves the potential for one team to become a top seed during the March tournament. Naturally, the most expensive seats will typically be in the center part of the court with tickets on the lower corners going close to $1,000 each. Many of these sections will have tickets in limited quantities as a good number are given out at heavy discounts to people with direct connections to the teams.
2. Final Four – $2,975
The Final Four is a big deal as it hosts two games that will determine who will play for the championship. The most expensive tickets at the game can be astronomically high with the NCAA making it easy for people to directly get information on ticket values. It costs around $2,975 to get a front row ticket to either of the games. The least expensive ticket you could get your hands on will be closer to $250 in value. Even the lower-end tickets are amazingly expensive considering the size of the venues where these games take place. The 2014 edition will be held at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, a building that can fit more than 100,000 at a given time, enabling the game to sell upwards of $50 million in tickets when all is said and done.
1. NCAA Championship Game – $2,975
The amazing thing about getting tickets for the NCAA Championship Game right after the two Final Four games is that the prices are the same in almost all spots in the stadium as they are for the Final Four. And realistically speaking, they couldn’t possibly get more expensive. You’d have to pay $2,975 for the best ticket in the house at the 2014 edition of the NCAA final. Some of the less expensive tickets for the game cost a little more than what they would have been for the prior games in the tournament. An upper deck ticket that cost $250 will go for closer to $400 for the final game.
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