Buying Guide: 2019 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament Tickets

Forget the crack of the bat, it’s nearly time for March Madness! That crazy month of endless last-minute shots, upsets (we hope) and basketball you can’t tear yourself away from. This year’s Final Four is set for Minneapolis, marking the second time in just over a year that all eyes will be on the Flour City. Minneapolis hosted Super Bowl LII in 2018.

The road to Minneapolis starts for four teams in Dayton, Ohio on March 19-20, and winds across the country before the NCAA national semifinals and championship will be decided at U.S. Bank Stadium.

This year’s tournament is already setting up to be one of the most expensive in history. The current average asking price for an all-session pass to the Final Four is trending at $1,118 on the secondary market, according to secondary ticket marketplace TicketIQ.com, and if that number holds, it would be the second priciest of the decade.

With just a few days remaining before the first games tip off, the question is this: Will Final Four prices follow the pattern of the last two years, when they rose at least 39% between Selection Sunday and the Final Four? Or will they follow five of the previous six years, when prices dropped up to 49% between Selection Sunday and the tip-off of the semifinals?

Whatever happens, now is the time to buy, at least for the opening rounds and the regionals, as primary market seats are already sold out at some venues.

Below is a look at how tickets are trending ahead of Selection Sunday, both on the secondary market from TicketIQ, and the primary market from TicketMaster


Final Four at Minneapolis

  • All Session Strip - Avg: $1118 | Get-in: $383
  • Semifinals - Avg: $693 | Get-in: $225
  • Championship Game - Avg: $578 | Get-in: $169

Generally the two most coveted tickets of the postseason, national semifinal and championship tickets reflect high demand. Though fans get fewer games – a total of three for the all-session pass – they are assured of seeing the ultimate national champion play, even if they only buy semifinal tickets. The average asking price of $1,118 would rank No. 2 over the last decade if it holds. Fans pushed prices for an all-session pass to $1,369 on Selection Sunday in 2015, which was their highest point. When the national semifinals started, that average had dropped to $827.

For the last two years, the average asking price on the secondary market increased from Selection Sunday to the day of the game. Prices rose 44% in 2017 and 39% in 2018 during that span. This year, the get-in price of $611 on the secondary market is currently cheaper than the primary market get-in of $936. Get-in prices for each session are also currently cheaper on the secondary market as compared to the primary -- $225 vs. $500 for the national semifinals, and $169 vs. $391 for the championship game.


 

 

Final Four Reservation Prices From Shoowin

Fans who are ready to buy tickets for the Final Four have an additional option through Shoowin.com, which sells reservations for face-value tickets to big events. According to the company, fans save up to 85% when buying through Shoowin, which allows customers to buy a reservation for a ticket  for their favorite team to Final Four for a chance at getting Final Four tickets for no extra cost. 
 
The company has all-session Final Four tickets available for every scenario, and the most expensive reservation price is currently  $415 for a ticket should Duke advance to the Final Four. The next two most expensive teams, Gonzaga and Virginia, currently have reservation prices of $267. Including Duke, Gonzaga and Virginia, nine teams have reservation prices of $110 or more: $170 for Kentucky; $144 for Michigan and Tennessee; $125 for Michigan State and North Carolina; and $110 for Nevada. Below is a look at the the top 25 team's reservation prices:

 

First Four

  • All Session Strip - Avg: $172 | Get-in: $105
  • Session 1 - Avg: $69 | Get-in: $29
  • Session 2 - Avg: $75 | Get-in: $30

Dayton, Ohio has been part of the NCAA Tournament since 2011, when it began hosting the First Four. It’s usually the best value for tournament tickets, and this year is no exception, with a pass to both sessions, March 19 and 20, trending at $172 on the secondary market, according to secondary ticket marketplace TicketIQ.com. On the primary market, an all-session pass costs $95, or $35 per session. The average asking price for individual sessions is $69 for March 19 and $75 for March 20. Inventory is limited on the secondary market, with only 44 all-session passes remaining, and even fewer individual session tickets left.

1st & 2nd Round Ticket Prices

 

First and Second Rounds - Hartford

  • All Session Strip - Avg: $647 | Get-in: $299
  • Session 1 - Avg: $232 | Get-in: $86
  • Session 2 - Avg: $271 | Get-in: $104
  • Session 3 - Avg: $327| Get-in: $165

New England loves its basketball – maybe not quite so much as football – but fans have pushed secondary market ticket averages up to $647 for an all-session pass, the second highest among the eight First/Second Round events. On the primary market, the all-session pass at the XL Center is $171 for games scheduled March 21 and 23. Primary market prices by session are $59 for Session 1, $82 for Session 2 and $152 for Session 3. The secondary market get-in price is trending at $299 and the average asking price per session ranges from $232 (Session 1) to $327 (Session 3).

The following teams will play at Hartford: Vermont, Florida State, Murray State, Marquette, St. Mary’s, Villanova, Old Dominion and Purdue. The highest seed is No. 3 Purdue.

First and Second Rounds - Salt Lake City

  • All Session Strip - Avg: $339 | Get-in: $200
  • Session 1 - Avg: $96 | Get-in: $40
  • Session 2 - Avg: $140 | Get-in: $68
  • Session 3 - Avg: $188 | Get-in: $99

The cheapest ticket on the secondary market is for the Salt Lake City Regional at the Vivint Smart Home Arena, and there are no tickets for this site currently listed on primary market vendor Ticketmaster. SLC all-session passes are trending at $339 with a get-in price of $200, and only 379 all-session passes remain. There are 744 individual day tickets still available for Session 1.

The following teams will play at Salt Lake City: New Mexico State, Auburn, Northeastern, Kansas, Prairie View-FDU winner, Gonzaga, Baylor, and Syracuse. The highest seed is No. 1 Gonzaga.

First and Second Rounds - Des Moines

  • All Session Strip - Avg: $543 | Get-in: $228
  • Session 1 - Avg: $134 | Get-in: $59
  • Session 2 - Avg: $145 | Get-in: $50
  • Session 3 - Avg: $249 | Get-in: $132

One of the four First/Second Round tickets with a secondary market average above $500 is in Des Moines, but primary market tickets for this event are the highest of the eight First/Second Round events. On the primary market, an all-session pass on Ticketmaster to the games at the Wells Fargo Arena costs $302, which is still a savings over the secondary market average of $543. There are fewer than 500 all-session passes remaining on the secondary market. On the primary market, Session 1 on March 21 costs $75, Session 2 on March 21 costs $87, and Session 3 on March 23 costs $143. The cheapest all-session pass on the secondary market is trending at $228.

The following teams will play at Des Moines: Minnesota, Louisville, Bradley, Michigan State, Florida, Nevada, Montana, and Michigan. The highest seeds are No. 2 Michigan State and No. 2 Michigan.

First and Second Rounds - Jacksonville

  • All Session Strip - Avg: $470 | Get-in: $266
  • Session 1 - Avg: $121 | Get-in: $43
  • Session 2 - Avg: $191 | Get-in: $118
  • Session 3 - Avg: $248 | Get-in: $200

The South embraces football over basketball, and Jacksonville doesn’t have much of a basketball culture, which makes it no surprise that the secondary market average for an all-session pass is the fifth cheapest across the country. For $470, fans can see all three sessions at the city’s Veterans Memorial Arena. On the primary market, that same pass is $198, which is tied with Columbus as the second most expensive. Fans can get into each session individually for $65 or less on the primary market, as compared to $200 or less on the secondary market.

The following teams will play at Jacksonville: Yale, LSU, Temple-Belmont winner, Maryland, Abilene Christian, Kentucky, Seton Hall, and Wofford. The highest seed is No. 2 Kentucky.

First and Second Rounds - Tulsa

  • All Session Strip - Avg: $369 | Get-in: $175
  • Session 1 - Avg: $80 | Get-in: $41
  • Session 2 - Avg: $106 | Get-in: $60
  • Session 3 - Avg: $194 | Get-in: $55

None of the teams in the latest Top 25 are located in Oklahoma, and only one from Texas is, so fans are driving down prices for this First/Second Round event at the BOK Center. The $369 average asking price on the secondary market for an all-session pass for March 22 and 24, is the second lowest of the eight host cities. And the $150 primary market all-session pass is tied with San Jose for the least expensive. Fans in Tulsa can into any of the three sessions for $65 or less on the primary market. The secondary market get-in price for an all-session pass is $175.

The following teams will play at Tulsa: Northern Kentucky, Texas Tech, St. John’s, ASU-Buffalo winner, Georgia State, Houston, Ohio State, and Iowa State. The highest seeds will be No. 3 Texas Tech and No. 3 Houston.

First and Second Rounds - Columbus

  • All Session Strip - Avg: $665 | Get-in: $292
  • Session 1 - Avg: $203 | Get-in: $143
  • Session 2 - Avg: $214 | Get-in: $95
  • Session 3 - Avg: $267 | Get-in: $140

Ranked No. 1 in terms of secondary market average asking price, demand for tickets at Nationwide Arena has pushed the cost up to $665, making Columbus one of four sites with an average of $500 or more. The primary market cost of $198 for an all-session pass is tied with Jacksonville for the most expensive. Fans can still buy primary market tickets for Sessions 1 and 2 on March 22 for $50, and $60, respectively, but Session 3 on March 24 is already sold out. On the secondary market, Session 3 tickets are trending at $267.

The following teams will play at Columbus: Iowa, Cincinnati, Colgate, Tennessee, Washington, Utah State, Iona and North Carolina. The highest seed will be No. 1 North Carolina.

First and Second Rounds - Columbia

  • All Session Strip - Avg: $572 | Get-in: $293
  • Session 1 - Avg: $202 | Get-in: $52
  • Session 2 - Avg: $305 | Get-in: $108
  • Session 3 - Avg: $480 | Get-in: $137

It’s no surprise that the site closest to Duke, and four other Top 10 teams has the third highest average asking price on the secondary market. This is the only first- and second-round site that will feature two No. 1s -- Duke and Virginia. Fans have pushed the average asking price for an all-session strip at Colonial Life Arena to $572, making it one of only three on the secondary market with an average asking price over $550. The $240 price for an all-session pass on the primary market is also the highest. Session 3 on March 24 is already sold out on the primary market, but is trending at $480 on the secondary market – and for that price, you may as well buy an all-session pass on the primary market, or the cheapest all-session pass on the secondary market, which starts at $276

The following teams will play at Columbia: Oklahoma, Ole Miss, Gardner-Webb, Virginia, North Carolina Central-North Dakota State winner, Duke, UCF and VCU. The highest seeds will be No. 1 Virginia, and No. 1 Duke.

First and Second Rounds - San Jose

  • All Session Strip - Avg: $395 | Get-in: $187
  • Session 1 - Avg: $107 | Get-in: $45
  • Session 2 - Avg: $126 | Get-in: $48
  • Session 3 - Avg: $273 | Get-in: $87

The $395 average asking price for an all-session pass at the SAP Center for March 22 and 24 is the third cheapest, while the $150 face-value ticket is tied with Tulsa for the cheapest. All sessions are currently available on the primary market for between $50-$65, while demand on the secondary market has pushed Session 3 on March 24 to $273 – which is the same as the cheapest secondary market all-session ticket available.

The following teams will play at San Jose: UC-Irvine, Kansas State, Oregon, Wisconsin, Liberty, Mississippi State, St. Louis and Virginia Tech. The highest seeds will be No. 4 Kansas State and No. 4 Virginia Tech.




Regionals

 
 

South Regional at Louisville

  • All Session Strip - Avg: $664 | Get-in: $258
  • Sweet 16 - Avg: $357 | Get-in: $144
  • Elite 8 - Avg: $323 | Get-in: $149

Traditionally a hotbed for college basketball, it’s a bit surprising that the $664 all-session pass is the cheapest of the four regionals on the secondary market. And Louisville is one of only two sites at which an all-session pass is still available on the primary market. The primary market all-session pass starts at $250, which is a shade cheaper than the current $258 get-in price on the secondary market. There are no primary market tickets left for the individual sessions. The Louisville Regional will be played at the KFC Yum! Center, which at a capacity of 22,090 for basketball, is the biggest venue among the regionals.

  • All Session Strip - Avg: $761 | Get-in: $310
  • Sweet 16 - Avg: $182 | Get-in: $130
  • Elite 8 - Avg: $186 | Get-in: $108

The second cheapest of the regionals, the average asking price for an all-session pass at the Honda Center is trending at $761 for March 28 and 30, and the get-in price is $310. According to TicketIQ.com, this regional has the second fewest number of tickets still remaining on the secondary market – 425 all-session passes, but there are only 263 Sweet Sixteen and 160 Elite tickets remaining. This is the only regional for which primary market tickets are still available for all sessions -- $200 for an all-session pass, $110 for the Sweet Sixteen, and $100 for the Elite 8. The Honda Center seats 18,336 for basketball, and is the smallest venue among the four regional venues.

East Regional at Washington

  • All Session Strip - Avg: $1240 | Get-in: $600
  • Sweet 16 - Avg: $835 | Get-in: $341
  • Elite 8 - Avg: $545 | Get-in: $200

At $1,240, the average asking price for an all-session pass at the 20,000-seat Capital One Arena, is not only the priciest on the secondary market, but also the only regional with a price tag over $1,000. Fans are clearly expecting hometown Gonzaga to advance. Primary market tickets are sold out, both for all-session passes and for individual sessions. There are 338 all-session passes available on the secondary market, and 347 or less available for the Sweet Sixteen and Elite 8.

Midwest Regional at Kansas City

  • All Session Strip - Avg: $766 | Get-in: $329
  • Sweet 16 - Avg: $488 | Get-in: $180
  • Elite 8 - Avg: $368 | Get-in: $155

The second most expensive of the regionals, there are no primary market tickets listed on TicketMaster.com, but seats for both sessions or an all-session pass at the Sprint Center still remain on the secondary market. According to TicketIQ.com, there are 1,079 all-session passes still for sale on the secondary market, the highest availability of that kind of pass for any of the regionals. The venue seats 18,972 for basketball. The get-in price for the all-session pass is $329, which is more than $150 cheaper than the average asking price for the Sweet 16 alone.


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