Flyers and Blackhawk fans 'starving for a championship' -- and ticket prices prove it
June 2, 2010
Hockey fans are forking over much more money than usual for tickets to this year's Stanley Cup Finals between the Philadelphia Flyers and Chicago Blackhawks, according to online ticket marketplaces, proving you don't need dynasties or the game's superstars to create a hot ticket.
While online ticket prices for the finals are up, fans in Philadelphia are finding cheaper seats, on average, than Blackhawks fans.
Philly fans are paying an average of $1,117 per seat while seats in Chicago cost an average of $1,266 online, according to Christian Anderson, a spokesman for FanSnap.com, a ticket search engine that pulls information from dozens of online ticket sites.
Anderson said last year fans plunked down about $900 per ticket in Pittsburgh and $700 per seat in Detroit for the finals between the Red Wings, a hockey powerhouse that has won four Stanley Cups since 1997, and the Penguins, who have two of the game's biggest stars, Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.
''It's actually much higher than usual,'' Anderson said of this year's ticket cost. ''It's right on par with the NBA [playoffs], and that's usually not the case. You have these great fans in big hockey markets starving for a championship.''
The series has been good for NBC too. The Blackhawks' 2-1 win Monday night earned the best overnight rating, 4.1, for a Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals since at least 1975, which is as far back as viewing records go. The rating was up 21 percent from last year's 3.4 for the Red Wings-Penguins game, according to The Associated Press.
Anderson said tickets for Chicago's home games have been selling at higher prices because the city's ''thirst for a championship is greater.''
While Chicago's last champion was baseball's White Sox in 2005, the Philadelphia Phillies won the World Series in 2008 and returned to baseball's biggest stage last season. The Blackhawks haven't won the Stanley Cup since 1961, and the Flyers haven't kissed the giant silver trophy since winning back-to-back championships in 1974 and 1975.
StubHub.com, one of the ticket sites that FanSnap gathers information from, says it has seen increased sales and ticket prices for Games 3 and 4 in Philadelphia even though the Flyers are down 2-0 in the series.
''This is the most demand we have seen in our company's 10-year history for the Stanley Cup Finals,'' StubHub spokeswoman Joellen Ferrer said.
StubHub's average ticket prices are lower than the ones reported by FanSnap. StubHub says fans on its site are paying an average of $766 per ticket in Chicago and $587 for games in Philadelphia. That's well above the average prices fans paid last year on the site -- $486 for games in Detroit and $500 for games in Pittsburgh.
Anderson said prices for NHL games have been up 8 percent to 12 percent since Canada defeated the United States in overtime in the Vancouver Olympics gold medal ice hockey game in February.
While the average seat in Chicago for the finals is more expensive, the Windy City is where fans can find the lowest-priced tickets, Anderson said. He said standing-room-only seats in Chicago have sold for $250 through FanSnap. He said similar tickets in Philly have sold for $345. But the best tickets for seats along the glass cost as much as $2,838 in Chicago and $2,195 in Philadelphia, he said.
Wachovia Center in Philadelphia and the Flyers public relations staff didn't return phone calls seeking the true cost of these tickets.
With traditional box offices sold out of face-value tickets, fans are willing to spend hundreds more than the tickets are actually worth to catch history.
So if the Flyers lose Game 3 tonight, Game 4 tickets could skyrocket with Chicago having a chance to hoist the Cup, Anderson said. But if the Flyers storm back and win the next two games, the cost for Game 6 tickets will probably multiply before Game 5, with both teams having a chance to win on Philly's ice.