Wednesday, February 11, 2009

UNC-Duke recession-proof

StubHub, the online ticket resale sight, is finding that the intensity of the North Carolina-Duke men's basketball rivalry defies even the economy, with the average sale price at about $1,260 for tonight's game at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

That blows away even championship game averages, such as: $684 for the Bowl Championship Series title game between Florida and Oklahoma, $903 for Philadelphia Phillies home games in last fall's World Series, $378 for Tampa Bay Rays home games in the Series, $389 for Memphis-Kansas in the NCAA final last year, $703 for Boston Celtics home games in the 2008 NBA Finals and $884 for Los Angeles Lakers home games.

Cameron's capacity is 9,314, so it figures that fewer available tickets translate into higher prices, but tickets to the Duke-Carolina rematch March 8 at the Dean Smith Center, which seats 21,750, are selling on StubHub for an average of about $1,000, says Sean Pate, a spokesman for StubHub. One seller is trying to get $6,900 apiece for two tickets.

(Earlier tonight, there were still six left for tonight's game on the site, the asking prices ranging from $707 to $1,395. There are about 400 left for Duke at UNC.)

"Duke at North Carolina and North Carolina at Duke are the two highest-grossing games of the season for our site," which charges a 10 percent fee on each ticket sold, Pate says.

Typically, 50-75 tickets are available through StubHub for the rivalry game at Cameron, Pate says, and about 400 for the game at the Dean Dome.

The actual prices paid range from about $460 to $2,400 for tonight's game and about $425 to $3,600 for the game in March.

"A lot of fans, especially in this economy, are looking at new revenue-generating sources, and if you have a pair of tickets for Duke-North Carolina and you're a season-ticket holder and you can fetch $3,000 or $4,000 for the pair, that's going to make quite a bit of difference on your monthly bottom line," Pate says. -- Roger van der Horst, News & Observer