With NCAA college basketball’s ticket-selling juggernaut Zion Williamson of Duke out of Final Four action, buyers looking to get into U.S. Bank Stadium this weekend won’t be paying premiums.
Michigan State defeated Duke on Sunday night, ending the season for the Williamson-led Blue Devils and leaving the tournament’s final weekend without a must-see player. Joining Michigan State in Minneapolis for the first two games on Saturday will be Virginia, Texas Tech and Auburn. The championship game between Saturday’s two winners will be Monday, April 8.
On Monday morning, ticket prices for the two semifinal games were trending about average compared to recent years, according to reseller SeatGeek.
Throughout the regular men’s basketball season, Williamson increased ticket resale prices threefold when Duke played on the road.
Analyst Chris Leyden said there’s usually a buying surge after the teams are chosen. Most of the action over the weekend came from Texas, about 20 percent, he said. Texas Tech will play in the Final Four for the first time in the history of the Lubbock university.
“Duke making the Final Four would certainly have increased demand from the general college fan base who wants to see Zion, but an early look at prices show they haven’t moved much as one would expect,” Leyden said. “Texas Tech seems to be driving a lot more demand than you might expect, and Michigan State has a strong fan presence across the Midwest.”
As fans look to buy, the Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota warned about scams. The agency suggested using VerifiedTicketSource.com to make sure a reseller is legitimate, using a credit card with buyer protection and double-checking websites because imitators try to replicate reliable sites. The NCAA also has its own buying and reselling site.
On that site, tickets for the games Saturday were starting at $325. The championship tickets started at $202.50. Tickets for all three games started at $445.
There’s still excitement out there.
Kansas City Chiefs star quarterback Patrick Mahomes is a famous Red Raiders alumnus and, judging from his Twitter account, he’ll be here. On Saturday after Tech’s victory, he tweeted, Patrick Mahomes II “Minneapolis next weekend???? #FinalFour @TexasTechMBB.”
And on Sunday, he said, “Man we are in the FINAL FOUR!! I’m still too hyped!”
Absent Zion, fans can look for famous alumni from the four teams. Michigan State has Magic Johnson and Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins. Auburn’s biggest fan is Charles Barkley, who would be here anyway as part of the CBS broadcasting crew.
The NCAA provides 600 tickets for students to each of the four teams. Those students pay $40 to sit courtside for their team’s games.
Airfare from Lubbock will cost a lot more. Flights were selling for about $1,000 for most of the weekend. But they’re students, so a 17-hour drive is nothing, right?
Leyden said Texas Tech fans traveled to the Sweet 16 and Elite 8 games, as well.
Some 14 percent of the buyers on SeatGeek are from Minnesota, with 7 percent from Michigan and Alabama and 6 percent from Virginia.
Michigan State is in East Lansing, about four hours from Chicago and 10 to Minneapolis.
Auburn is in the city of the same name in Alabama, about 90 minutes from Atlanta. Even flights on that relatively cheap route are selling for about $500 for days later this week through Monday night’s championship game. Getting from Charlottesville, Va., to Minneapolis will cost about the same — even with a drive to Washington, D.C. to shorten the flight.