Big Games, Big Cost: This year's March Madness Came with a Cost

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By Cody Adams, @cadam004 (Old Dominion University)

The 2015 Kentucky Wildcats celebrate a Final Four birth in the NCAA March Madness Tournament. Photo via Kentucky.com

The 2015 Kentucky Wildcats celebrate a Final Four birth in the NCAA March Madness Tournament. Photo via Kentucky.com

This year’s March Madness has lived up to its name. Big names like Duke and Villanova both took early bows to lower seeds, while North Carolina, Gonzaga, Oregon and South Carolina are still hoping for their chance to cut the nets. With these teams fighting to be the best in basketball, it seems their hopes are not the only thing rising.

In the 2017 tournament, ticket prices have risen 29%, where resale tickets were previously going for roughly $316 even with the fewer tickets being available.

For this year’s tournament, the cheapest ticket option started off at $43 at the regional round games and $196 at the Final Four just a few days ago. These prices have taken a significant raise from 2016 where regional games were $38 and $102 at the Final Four. One of the causes of this rise is due to the venues of the opening round games.

The venues are offering smaller seating areas than what the tournament is used to having. With the smaller arenas, there comes the question of why host the games there instead of at a bigger venue? One of the reasons could be because of the NCAA pulling championship events out of North Carolina before this year’s tournament began. With their absence, the committee could be trying to shake everything in hopes of starting a new trend.

There are few different scenarios that could cause the tickets prices to rise and fall. For example, when a team is coming into the tournament on a hot streak, prices reflect this.

In 2015 when the University of Kentucky was coming into the tournament undefeated, the excitement to see if that team could run the field and finish the season undefeated was driving people to buy the tickets early, at a higher price.

In 2017, it also seems that secondary sellers are the ones that are really making the money. Even though in some ways it seems that you may be getting the better deal there are always the hidden in plain sight issues.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) has always been proactive in warning people of these scams before they go and buy tickets. The BBB even sends out a list at the beginning of the games warning people to check third party vendors on their website, know the refund policy, and use payment methods with protection.

At the end of the day, March Madness is made for fun for the fans and the players. Even with the rising ticket prices and the never-ending scams, people are still flocking to the games year after year.

Bio: Cody Adams is a junior at Old Dominion University studying Sports Management with a Coaching Education minor. Cody currently works an internship with Thomas Nelson Community College Athletic Department and is working as the head coach of the Norfolk Lions soccer club U10 and U12 teams.

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