(CBS/TiqIQ) – With high profile teams such as Syracuse and Connecticut so close in proximity to Madison Square Garden, host venue of the Big East tournament, it is no surprise that the Big East has had the most expensive conference tournament tickets on the secondary market for each of the past two years. Despite the conference shakeup during the offseason that stripped the Big East of two of its most dominant teams, with Villanova and Creighton putting together fantastic seasons, it looked as if MSG was once again going to host the most expensive conference tournament. However, all of that changed overnight as the average SEC tournament tickets nearly doubled in price, rising from an average of $102.01 to $195.74.
Currently, there is an average of 1,696 tickets listed for each of the seven sessions of the SEC tournament. With an average price of $382.30, the championship game is currently the most expensive session. In some tournaments, it is not uncommon that the semifinals round carries the highest price tag, as holders of these tickets get to watch two high quality basketball games as opposed to one in the finals. When it comes to the SEC tournament this year however, the semifinals round is a close second to the championship, carrying an average ticket price of $368.16. For fans of teams like Florida or Kentucky, the likeliest squads to make it to the conference championship game, they might be best off purchasing an all sessions pass. For $410.33, an all sessions pass would allow the holder to attend every game of the SEC tournament for just 7.3% more than what it would cost to attend just the championship game.
This year’s tournament will take place at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, which last hosted the tournament in 2011. Although the SEC tournament has taken place at a variety of venues and continues to relocate year to year, the Georgia Dome has become as much of a regular venue as there is for the tournament. This year will mark the 11th time since 1995 that the Georgia Dome has hosted the SEC tournament, easily the most of any venue in that timeframe. Next on the list is Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, which has hosted four times since 2001, including last year. Up until yesterday, it appeared as if there was a bit more demand for last year’s event. SEC championship tickets last year checked in at an overall average across all sessions of $128, with the championship game carrying an average ticket price of $140. In 2012 at New Orleans Arena, the overall average was $146, with the championship game at $177. This year’s event at the Georgia Dome now looks as if it will command a substantial premium over the SEC tournaments of recent years.
Florida and Kentucky have each participated in six SEC championship games in the past ten years, including three times in which they have played each other. Naturally, these two schools have a great deal of recent history at the Georgia Dome. In 2011, last time the tournament was held at the Georgia Dome, Kentucky defeated Florida in the final. The last time Florida won the SEC tournament was in 2007, also in the Georgia Dome. The Gators went on to cut down the nets in the NCAA championship that season. With Florida undefeated in conference play and ranked #1 in the country, they are the biggest favorite to cut down the nets once again this season, at 5-to-1.
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