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Buying Tickets to the NCAA Final Four Semifinals

4 April 2010 No Comment

On Friday night I wrote that I would wait to buy tickets to the Final Four semifinals until you are outside of Lucas Oil Stadium. Some people might be nervous about this strategy given 1) you are traveling to Indianapolis without the 100% guarantee of already having tickets in hand and 2) buying tickets from StubHub or a ticket broker guarantees you the tickets are legit.

This morning I almost bought tickets to the Final Four before driving down to Indianapolis. The cheapest tickets for last night’s games have hovered around $225 each throughout the week. Yesterday morning tickets were around the same price. However, tickets for “the strip,” which includes one ticket for Saturday night and one ticket for Monday night, were priced at $180 each. The $45 price difference made me feel “the strip” ticket on StubHub was a good deal ($411 for two tickets after StubHub fees).

However, I hesitated because I did not really want to buy the tickets. First, I felt the price was still too high and second, I did not want to sell a ticket for Monday night’s Championship game since I was not planning to drive back to Indianapolis Monday night. I called my buddy who I was driving to Indianapolis with and he said to buy them. When I tried the tickets were already sold. In the end this was a good thing.

Beg, Borrow and Deal in Indianapolis
After parking in downtown Indianapolis we walked to the corner of Capitol Ave. and South St. by Lucas Oil Stadium – the main scalping location. On the walk to the stadium most scalpers asked for $200 each for 600 level seats. At first, I thought this was close to face value since the printed price on the ticket was $180. But, it turned out that “the strip” cost was $180 – making it confusing for fans since both tickets had $180 printed on them.

Tickets were not that cheap on the corner of Capitol Ave. and South St. ($300 each for an upper level strip) so we walked over to the Lucas Oil Stadium box office to see if tickets were available. I was 99.9% sure tickets would not be available but there are several reasons to walk to the box office. First, you pass fans on the walk that may have extra tickets. Second, many fans have to pick up their tickets from will call. Some of these fans may have extra tickets. Third, the box office may just have tickets available.

The box office did not have extra tickets but there were two people who did have extra tickets. One guy had a single strip for $270 (face value). We needed two tickets and did not want to buy both nights. The second guy had two extra tickets but needed to wait until his friend showed up before he would sell them. We waited for the guy for 20 minutes and finally gave up on him.

We walked back to the “main” scalping corner and ran into Broker Ben (a Chicago scalper who I “know”). He was looking for $300 per strip, which we were not willing to pay. Another scalper was looking for $200 per strip which was the lowest price we had found thus far, but, once again, we did not want to buy a ticket for Monday night unless we were forced. Rather than spend our entire afternoon looking for tickets we decided to eat lunch and then continue the search afterwards.

One thing about Indianapolis is that scalpers are located all over downtown. So even though the “main” corner is near Lucas Oil Stadium, there are plenty of scalpers to negotiate with while walking downtown. On our way to lunch we talked to a scalper who offered us two 600 level seats for Saturday night only (face value $180 for the strip) for $150 each.

Beg, Borrow and Deal Part 2
After eating it was 5 pm so we had an hour to buy tickets. Remember when buying tickets luck plays a big part in your ability to find cheap tickets. We walked towards the corner of Washington St. and Illinois St. where scalpers were still asking $300 per strip and $200 for Saturday night only.

As we walked along Illinois St. towards Lucas Oil Stadium, I saw fans walking in front of us with two tickets in the air – meaning they had tickets to sell. I ran up to them and asked them how much they wanted – $100 each for Saturday night’s session only (we did not have to buy a ticket for Monday night which is exactly what we wanted). I offered him $80 each (even though I would have paid $100) and they accepted. The seats were in the 600 level but with a strip face value of $180 we felt we received a good deal.

Ticket Buying Round Up
In the end we had multiple options of when to buy tickets. First, we would have spent $205.50 each and would have bought a Monday night ticket if we bought tickets through StubHub on Saturday morning. Second, if we were not patient Saturday afternoon we may have spent $150 each for tickets. In the end, we spent $80 each. Tickets for Monday night will be less so even if we wanted to attend both nights waiting to buy tickets would still save us money.

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