Final Four Basketball Return to Dallas Boosts Ticket Prices 26%

Resale ticket prices for the Final Four’s first visit to the Dallas area since 1986 are on pace to set at least a four-year high.

With four state universities -- Florida, Wisconsin, Connecticut and Kentucky -- reaching the semifinals of the men’s college basketball national tournament at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, the average price paid for a strip of tickets to both the April 5 semifinal and April 7 title game was $1,185, according to secondary market ticket aggregator SeatGeek, which has tracked such data since 2011.

That price is 26 percent higher than they were the Monday before last year’s Final Four, when a strip of tickets for the games in Atlanta went for an average of $938, according to New York-based SeatGeek. The 2012 games in New Orleans averaged $485 and the 2011 games in Houston averaged $681 as of the Monday before tipoff.

“Dallas is an ideal city to host a Final Four -- centrally located with plenty of hotels, with a large hometown market of sports fans who can help boost demand for tickets,” said Will Flaherty, a spokesman for SeatGeek.

AT&T Stadium, which is home to the National Football League’s Dallas Cowboys, has a seating capacity of more than 80,000 for basketball and more premium ticket options than any previous host.

“This factors into more expensive primary market pricing for many tickets, which in turn tends to drive up secondary market prices,” Flaherty said in an e-mail.

The size of the venue also means that there are plenty of cheap seats available, with the least expensive full-session strip going for $271 on SeatGeek.

Texas Return

Louisville won the National Collegiate Athletic Association championship the last time the tournament was played in Dallas, at Reunion Arena in 1986. The Cardinals beat Duke 72-69 to take the title and Pervis Ellison was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player.

The face-value price for a full-session strip to this year’s Final Four ranged from $190 in the upper bowl of the stadium to $315 for the lower bowl, according to SeatGeek.

The average list price for a strip has climbed 25 percent to $1,320 since the night before final-eight play began, according to resale ticket aggregator TiqIQ.

Top Seed

Florida, the overall top seed in the tournament, is the only No. 1 seed remaining. The Gators will take on seventh-seeded UConn in the first semifinal game, while second-seeded Wisconsin plays No. 8 seed Kentucky.

“For fans still interested in buying tickets, we’d strongly recommend waiting a few days,” SeatGeek’s Flaherty said.

In each of the last two years, resale prices dropped 13 percent between the day after the Final Four competitors were determined and the start of play. Prices also routinely fall from 25 percent to 30 percent once the title-game matchup is decided as fans of semifinal-losing teams look to dump their tickets, Flaherty said.

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