March Madness has officially spilled into April with the NCAA Championship game taking place tonight. The national championship game will be played between the No. 5 seed San Diego State and No. 4 seed UConn at 9:20 EST on CBS (why so late? it’s a weeknight).
But according to the Houston Chronicle, based on ticket prices, no one really seems to care.
If you wanted to score a last-second ticket to the finale of March Madness in Houston, you could secure one on Ticketmaster for around $59 dollars (including fees, which for the evil Ticketmaster, is baffling).
Compared to the women’s national title game which took place in Dallas yesterday, the cheapest ticket to the battle between Caitlyn Clark’s Iowa team and the LSU Tigers squad was $370 dollars.
The men’s NCAA tournament has been hectic and full of upsets. A couple of “Cinderella runs” kept the “blue blood” programs of the Power 5 conferences from even reaching the Elite Eight.
The lack of big name programs in the Final Four is most likely the culprit of the dwindling ticket prices. San Diego State beat Florida Atlantic University to reach the title game, and Connecticut beat Miami (FL) to play for the national championship. The fan bases of those four schools combined probably wouldn’t touch the die hard followers of a school like Kentucky or Duke.
With all this being said, props to the women’s tournament for being absolutely electric.
Their tournament concluded with a great game between the LSU Tigers (led by the flashy dressed Kim Mulkey, see below) and an Iowa team who might have one of the best shooters to ever play the game in Caitlyn Clark. The Tigers bested the Hawkeyes 102 to 85, and the game spawned an online debate about sportsmanship (or sportswomanship I guess), but I won’t get into that though.
The women’s final four games averaged around 5.5 million viewers on TV as well, and though the numbers haven’t come out for the championship game, I’m sure it surpassed the 6 million mark.
Meanwhile, the men’s tournament games have seen around 9.1 million viewers per game, but with the lackluster matchup in the championship game, I think it could be a safe guess to say that the women’s title game has a chance to beat the men’s in TV viewership.
As far as the ticket sales go though, the difference in prices could boil down to just good old fashioned economics. Many people are downplaying the whole ticket sales thing because of the differences in capacity of each stadium.
The women’s game was played at the American Airlines Arena in Dallas, TX. The stadium is built for basketball viewership and is able to sit around 19,200 fans. On the other hand, the men’s game is being played at NRG Stadium, which is a building meant for football games and can house over 72,000 people.
So if you just look at the numbers, it makes sense. More seats, less money. Less seats, more money. However, I think the upswing in women’s sports popularity played a large role in the price difference.
Personally, I think basketball games should be played in stadiums meant for the sport. We’ve talked about the lowest ticket price for the men’s game being around $60 bucks, and look at where that $60 would put you:
Why would you pay for a ticket if this was your view? At that point you are paying for a ticket just so you can say that you were there.
That is why I’ll be taking in the men’s national championship game just as I did the women’s: from the comfort of my couch with a beer in my hand.