Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Final Four ticket prices: They’re a moving target


Final Four budget tracker

Here’s how New Orleans hotel and plane ticket rates, and availability, changed between Monday and Tuesday afternoon:

• Game tickets: Monday’s lowest price for one ticket for the three-game package on was $175. That had increased to $299 by Tuesday.

• Plane tickets: On Monday, a survey of several plane ticket websites listed tickets — leaving Friday and returning Tuesday — starting at $1,200. One site had the cheapest tickets Tuesday at about $1,900, while another had only two tickets left at $1,200, and then a jump to $1,700. Travelers can find cheaper rates if they leave Kansas City on Thursday.

• Hotels: On Monday, a search on showed the cheapest nightly rate in New Orleans at the Maison St. Charles Quality Inn & Suites for $299. Many hotels are requiring a four-day stay, which would cost about $1,200 at the Maison. On Tuesday, the Maison was sold out, and the next cheapest hotel was the Le Pavillon Hotel at $525 per night. A four-day stay? $2,100.

Huddled in front of a computer in New York City, Myles Kaufman, data analyst for the sports ticket website, has been busy crunching numbers figuring out the current rate for prized Final Four tickets.

It changes by the hour.

Since Friday, Kaufman said the daily average for the two-game ticket package — which includes everything from courtside to the nosebleed section — has shot up more than 85 percent, to $521.

As of Tuesday afternoon, thrifty ticket-buyers could still get seats for about $300 on, which is one of a number of sites that offer ticket-seekers a safe way to buy unwanted tickets.

Kaufman and his data team have also looked at trends in ticket prices from last year, and said this year’s Final Four tickets are going for about $100 more than last year’s.

Sam Soni, president of — the NCAA’s official ticket-purchasing partner — said they’ve also seen a spike in price this year, something he attributes to the teams represented in the Final Four.

“Four big schools, four big basketball traditions,” said Soni, adding that their hospitality packages, which include food, drinks and entertainment, are going for up to 40 percent more this year than in 2011.

Final Four tickets that aren’t reserved for coaches and the participating schools originally sell for as low as $200, Kaufman said. People buy early, but later decide to sell when their teams don’t make it to the final weekend of the college basketball season.

With ticket-buying sites, it’s then up to the free market and supply and demand, Kaufman said.

So for KU fans still looking to make the trip to New Orleans, is it better to buy now, or wait?

Depends how much of a risk-taker you are, Kaufman said.

The $521 daily average is probably as high as it’ll be, he said, as people begin backing out of their plans, or find they can’t afford plane tickets and hotel rooms. But he advises making the safe bet and “book as soon as possible.”

Google form

Who's buying the tickets

Chart depicts which state Final Four ticket purchasers are from, according to data collected by, an online ticket provider. The numbers only reflect purchases made through


jaybate 9 years ago

Maybe ticket prices are a little higher now, because there aren't as many tickets being syphoned off from inside and dumped on the auction market?

Nah, that couldn't be. :-)

9 years ago

"Price. A fair price. That's not what you say it is, and it's not what I say it is... It's what the market will bear."

~ Leonard Smalls

Scott Smetana 9 years ago

Any seat in a large dome other than on the football field needs binoculars to see the game. I'd love to go, but you have to know someone or pay $5000/seat to get on the field.

gsxr600 9 years ago

If we win, it will be much more enjoyable here in Lawrence. And a lot cheaper.

frompekka2sasha 9 years ago

The Superdome will likely sell more tickets the day of the game. You may not be able to SEE the actual game from those seats but I'm sure the big screen will give you that live experience. The place is monstrous so there is no way that a basketball game is going to truly sell out. However I do believe it will be the most attended Final Four of all-time because you are talking about 3 of the most rabid fan bases- KU, UK and LOU.

Scott Smetana 9 years ago

I bet from the $250 nosebleed seats you need a binoculars to see the video screen. Maybe only at the Jerry Jones can you watch the TV from that high. These games belong in the end zone or in an NBA arena!

jayhawkinATL 9 years ago

I saw the 2003 Final Four (in NOLA) in-person from the upper level using tix purchased on the street. I will never do upper level in a dome for b-ball ever again. Better off at home sitting in front of your flat-screen.

jayhawkinATL 9 years ago

Speaking of $$$:

Think we're going to have to pass the hat around to make sure Self doesn't walk.

Bob Forer 9 years ago

I am sure Coach enjoys the money, but if money was the only thing he was about, he'd be gone already.

Tony Bandle 9 years ago

Everybody, go back on KRichards link and check out the posters from 2008...what happened to those guys??? I've been posting for years and have never seen any of them!!

Steve Gantz 9 years ago

I've never seen the Jayhawks in person since I graduated in 88. I live an hour and a half away from the dome, but alas my little public school teacher salary doesn't cut it. Maybe if they make the final, and Kentucky loses the market will be affected by a selloff and I could go on Monday night.

Shawn Mansfield 9 years ago

I went to Lucas Oil Stadium in 2009 to watch the KU-MSU game. I''ll never do a dome/football stadium again. We were in a corner that didn't have a good view of the tv so it was a terrible game. Even the "good" seats I thought wouldn't be good because how flat the section was. Better to go and watch from a good bar. Or better yet, go to Lawrence.

brooksmd 9 years ago

I was in the dome in 2003 in the nosebleed section and there was no problem watching Kansas brick so many ft's. Living in Louisiana, with the only possibility to see the Hawks once every 9 years, and to see them in the Final Four, I'll take nosebleed anytime.

Alex Berger 9 years ago

That's a lot of tickets out of Kentucky... ugh.

Jim Roth 9 years ago

Two of the 4 schools are in Kentucky. The state is guaranteed to have one school in the finals. Even so, I agree; that's still a lot of tickets.

Tony Bandle 9 years ago

Don't worry..they'll get to see two Kentucky teams lose!!!

dtdjayhawk 9 years ago

I will be cheering from home base in Lawrence, and hopefully storming Mass street twice! Rock Chalk!

Lance Hobson 9 years ago

Got my room at the Royal St. Charles - there were three rooms left right after the game. $229, and I lucked out because it happens to be right next to the team's hotel. Gotta act fast in this game. Can't wait for the pep rally! (Can't afford to go to the game and sit in the nose bleeds, but I'll see them practice on Friday).

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