Coming up this weekend is Selection Sunday, when the NCAA selection committee will choose which teams are worthy of playing in the Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament — also known as March Madness.
While some teams will find out their fate on Sunday, many of the schools with the top basketball programs are selected nearly every year — teams such as Duke, Kentucky, Kansas, and North Carolina. These schools are not only able to recruit the best players each year, but they also fetch high regular season ticket prices.
According to sports ticket research group TiqIQ, Duke tickets were the most expensive in the second-hand market. The average second-hand ticket price to a Duke game this season was nearly $200, and some Duke games cost even more — in some cases hundreds more. 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the current top-25 NCAA men’s teams as ranked by the Associated Press. We ranked each team based on its average secondary market ticket price for this season.
Dan Pizzuta, managing editor of TiqIQ operations, explained that compared to professional sports, ticket prices for college basketball games are much more varied. This is at least in part because the number of tickets can fluctuate widely as the sizes of arenas vary. Duke’s Cameron Indoor Stadium, for example, has a capacity of just 9,314 seats. Kentucky’s Rupp Arena, in contrast, can seat 23,000 people. Scarcity can drive up prices.
While small stadium sizes can drive ticket prices higher, so can an exciting opposing team. “Teams like Kansas and North Carolina and Duke are going to be expensive no matter who or [where] they are playing,” said Pizzuta. When looking at the most expensive game each of the 25 teams had this year, Kansas, arguably this year’s best team, was the opponent in three of these games — the most of any team.
Although better teams tend to draw more fan interest and are more likely to drive up ticket prices, it is clearly not the only factor. The average ticket price of the No. 2-ranked school, Michigan State, was just $36 this season. Tickets for No. 16-ranked Kentucky, meanwhile, cost $167.20 on average — well over four times as much.
Rivalries also drive up prices. The most expensive single ticket among the 25 top-ranked AP teams was for Duke vs. North Carolina. The average secondary-market ticket for the January 16 game cost $1,590. Even the cheapest secondary-market tickets for this game cost more than $1,000. This is not surprising, explained Pizzuto. “Duke/UNC is probably the biggest rivalry in college basketball.”
24/7 Wall St. reviewed the 25 top NCAA basketball teams, as ranked by the AP as released March 7th. TiqIQ provided the most recent available average secondary market ticket prices for team’s current season, including the most expensive single game. Win-loss records are as of 03-09-16. One team included on the A.P. list — Iowa State, does not have an average ticket price listed, as according to TiqIQ, there were not enough tickets for sale to provide a meaningful sample size.
These are the ticket prices for the top 25 basketball teams