The still-recovering economy could test the resale market for tickets to the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament this year, which kicks off tomorrow night, March...

The still-recovering economy could test the resale market for tickets to the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament this year, which kicks off tomorrow night, March 16 with the play-in game.

Fan excitement is traditionally high for the NCAA men’s tourney, especially heading into this year’s three-week event because so many teams have a legitimate shot at winning the whole thing. And, fans are seeing some great deals for tickets, as a result.

For example, RazorGator, which has a relationship with the NCAA as the organization’s official fan-to-fan ticket exchange, was listing a Final Four “strip” ticket (which is good for the two semi-final games and the national championship game) for the bargain price of $248 today, March 15. By comparison, on the NCAA Web site, a Final Four semi-final “session” ticket (good for the two semi-final games) was selling at a face value of $200.

Final Four strip tickets were averaging more than $400 each last year, but that was calculated after the tournament. This year’s prices could rise over the next few weeks.

Christian Anderson, spokesperson for ticket search engine FanSnap, told TicketNews that while some ticket prices might be down on the secondary market, that presents great opportunities for fans.

“What we’ve seen this year is prices are down, but the numbers of transactions are up. It’s a great opportunity for fans,” he said.

“We’re seeing strong sales this year, particularly for the sessions in Providence and San Jose,” Joellen Ferrer, corporate communications manager for StubHub, told TicketNews. “Overall, second round sales are stronger than first round sales, along with full strip sales. We expect quite a bit of activity in the marketplace after the first round, both on the buy-side and sell-side of the equation, as teams begin to get knocked off.”

StubHub, TicketsNow and RazorGator appear to be leading the exchanges with the most listings of tickets to the tournament, all three with well above 1,000 listings.

From an independent ticket broker’s standpoint, this year’s tournament does not appear to be gaining as much interest as in past years, however.

“So far this year, sales are not tracking as strong as in the past,” Evan Schaffer, purchasing manager for ASC Ticket in Maryland, told TicketNews. The company did not load up on as many NCAA tickets this year as in past years, he added, but he declined to elaborate. “The economy is playing a factor, and the NCAA putting a lot of games after the first round in football stadiums is also playing a factor, because it is keeping prices low on the resale market.”