March Madness may usually come down to two powerhouse teams, but the thing that makes it one of the greatest sporting events in the world has always been the Cinderella stories. As Tebowmania and Linsanity reminded us, fans still love an underdog, and this year it's those stories that are having the biggest affect on ticket prices, according to TiqIQ's data.
As shown in the chart below, the hottest or most expensive tickets are in the Midwest Regional in St. Louis. Seats for Sweet 16 tickets are currently selling for a whopping $500 apiece, and Elite 8 tickets are selling for $300. Just behind St. Louis is the South regional in Atlanta where tickets for the Sweet 16 are selling for $432 and Elite 8 are selling for $175. What you find in these brackets are this tourney's Cinderella stories; in the South, it's10th seed Xavier taking on No. 3 Baylor, and in the Midwest, No. 13 Ohio taking on No. 1 UNC and No. 11 NC State against No. 2 Kansas.
Prices in these brackets have also seen a major jump in price since the third round wrapped up last weekend, particularly for the Sweet 16 round. In Atlanta, those tickets have gone up 98 percent this week, and in St. Louis prices have jumped even higher, rising 108 percent. To get in to either of these Sweet 16 sessions, it's going to cost fans a minimum of $90 in St. Louis and $175 in Atlanta (the highest for any regional round session).
In the East and West, no team is ranked lower than 7th and there are two No. 1 vs. No. 4 match-ups, yet Sweet 16 tickets in those venues are selling for about half as much as those in Atlanta and St. Louis. Along with the lower average prices, tickets in Boston are trending downward, dropping 53 percent this week, while tickets in Phoenix have gone up just 6 percent. While the average prices are much lower, the get-in price in Boston and Phoenix are similar to their higher priced counterparts, with both get-in prices just under $100.
It may still strike midnight on all these Cinderellas, their impacts on this tournament and its ticket prices are undeniable. If you'd like to see these underdogs, or any of the Sweet 16 and Elite 8 in person, TiqIQ has you covered.