College basketball fans hoping to score Final Four tickets on the (relative) cheap might have just caught a break.
Ticket prices for the NCAA’s big elimination round appear to have cooled in the last few days, dropping to an average asking price of around $743, according to TicketIQ. When looking at day-of prices, it’s the 3rd most expensive since 2011, a website representative told CNBC.
While not exactly peanuts, that price is a far cry from earlier this week, when it seemed as if, for the fourth consecutive year, fans might have to cough up more than $1000 for a seat at this year’s Final Four in San Antonio. On Saturday, Loyola-Chicago will take on Michigan, while Kansas will face off against Villanova.
According to TicketIQ, the most expensive Final Four ticket on the secondary market was in 2017, at $1,343, when North Carolina and Gonzaga advanced to the title game.
In this year’s unpredictable round, the early demise of several top-seeded teams threatened to push ticket prices even lower. Yet prices have steadily increased since Selection Sunday, and on that night alone, Final Four ticket costs jumped by $200.
The drastic increase in demand and prices can be attributed to top teams advancing — but perhaps even more so their enthusiastic fan bases. Two of the top squads — Kansas and Michigan — bring with them some of the most vocal boosters in the game.
“The simple answer is that Michigan and Kansas are two of the best travelling fan bases in [college basketball], and fans wait to buy until they know their team has made it,” TicketIQ said of the high demand.
“Michigan hasn’t been to the Final Four since 2013 and hasn’t won a national title since 1989.”
Ticket demand and affordability are influenced by a multitude of factors like region and the intensity of a fan base. However, recent history suggests that fans get less interested — and tickets get comparatively cheaper — when top teams get knocked out.
Back in 2011, when lower-seeded teams that advanced were fairly common, the ticket price to see the last 4 remaining teams tumbled to $552 — the lowest ever.
The Championship, which will pit the last teams standing from Saturday’s games against one another, will take place Monday night.