March Madness ticket tumult: Butler did it
April 5, 2010
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The going price for tickets to this weekend's NCAA basketball championships in Indianapolis are a lot like this year's games - a lot of back and forth, and many surprises.
The reasons: The elimination of pre-tournament favorites Kansas and Kentucky, and the presence of an underdog local team, Butler.
Over the weekend, tickets to see one of Saturday's semifinal games jumped more than $100 to an average price of about $600 per ticket on FanSnap.com, an online marketplace for event tickets.
As of Monday afternoon, however, the average price fell back to $479.
"There's tremendous dynamism in the market," said Mike Janes, chief executive of FanSnap.com. "You can definitely expect a wide variation in prices," he added.
He said the surprise elimination of Kansas and Kentucky has resulted in a surplus of motivated sellers. "For fans of Kansas and Kentucky, their bubble has burst," Janes said.
But with Butler fans already in town, and the other three Final Four teams - West Virginia, Michigan State and Duke - within reasonable driving distance, the easy commute has attracted buyers who would have otherwise been deterred by travel expenses, Janes said.
With more than 8,000 tickets still available, there are some good bargains to be found. Janes said the spread between the lowest price and the average price for tickets to a championship game is about 50%, compared with a historical average of 30%.
However, ticket prices will probably remain volatile for the next few days, he said, adding that prices for next Monday's final could spike if Butler, whose campus is less than 10 miles from Indianapolis, makes it into the championship.
"If Butler gets into championship, all those local fans will rush to get tickets to see their local team," Janes said. "You'll probably see a major increase if that happens."