In the midst of a slowly recovering economy, playoff ticket sales for both the NBA and the NHL are running hot on the secondary...

In the midst of a slowly recovering economy, playoff ticket sales for both the NBA and the NHL are running hot on the secondary market.

NHL sales are particularly strong, with tickets for Chicago Blackhawks and Montreal Canadiens home games selling high. Currently, the Blackhawks lead the San Jose Sharks 2-0 in their Western Conference finals series, and the Canadiens are down 2-1 in Eastern Conference finals against the Philadelphia Flyers.

Of these series, Christian Anderson, spokesperson for ticket search engine FanSnap, notes that Montreal games are selling particularly high, averaging nearly $500 per ticket, as compared with Chicago’s home games at $290. Habs tickets have been selling at markedly higher prices than other teams throughout the NHL playoffs, in part because of simple economics. “There are far fewer tickets available (for the Montreal games)”, notes Anderson. “The tickets are obviously in demand and the supply is very limited.”

This price difference holds true even for potential Stanley Cup play. On FanSnap, game one of a potential Stanley Cup appearance has Blackhawks tickets at $1,332 and Habs tickets at $1,645. NHL ticket searches currently sit at numbers two (Blackhawks) and three (Flyers) among the top sports ticket searches at FanSnap.

Based on these searches, Anderson suspects fans are anticipating a Blackhawks/Flyers matchup for the Stanley Cup finals. Bob Bernstein, CEO of eSeats.com, sees the same: “We anticipate the Stanley Cup to be a showdown between Chicago and Philadelphia, which will be a dream matchup for hockey fans and sellers alike.”

As for the NBA, fan demand also seems to be driving up prices on the secondary market. The Scottsdale, AZ-based eSeats.com saw strong interest for Phoenix Suns tickets right up to the Western Conference finals, where they are currently down by two games against the Los Angeles Lakers. CEO Bernstein says, “Sales for Phoenix Suns tickets have been strong throughout the playoffs, especially for premium courtside and choice lower level locations. The upcoming Western Championship Series games with the Lakers have seen lower than normal interest, probably because the games fall on Sunday and Tuesday nights, which are tough nights for families to take in a game.”

StubHub’s Corporate Communications manager, Joellen Ferrer is seeing strong interest in home games for both the Lakers and the Orlando Magic, who are down 2-0 against the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Currently, Lakers home games for this series are averaging $320 at the ticket resale site, versus $192 for the Suns. Celts tickets are at $193, and the average Magic ticket is going for $142.

Russ D’Souza, co-founder of SeatGeek, attributes the relatively lower prices for Magic tickets to fans’ disappointment that the team is not meeting Lebron James’ Cleveland Cavaliers in the finals. The average price for the Magic’s Eastern Conference final games dropped from $177.04 down to $154.74 following the Cav’s elimination from the playoffs on May 13.

SeatGeek has both the Celtics and the Lakers selling at particularly high prices for their current finals series, at $515.82 and $599.59, respectively. With these prices, co-founder Russ D’Souza notes that “Ticket brokers should be rooting for a rematch of the 2008 Finals,” where the Celts defeated the Lakers.