With less than 12 hours to go until the puck drops in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals between the Boston Bruins and the host Vancouver Canucks, those who are curious as to where ticket prices will peak on the resale market might be better off asking this: How high is the sky?
“I’m not going to guess — it’s Game 7, unprecedented.” Mario Livich of Vancouver-based ShowTime Tickets told TicketNews Tuesday, June 14. “Hometown team, 40 years of pent-up demand.”
“I think it probably stays at peak — I don’t know if it does hit a peak,” Jim Holzman of Boston-baced Ace Ticket said Tuesday.
Holzman wasn’t doing nearly as much Stanley Cup business Tuesday as Livich, but he knew what he’d be doing — or, more accurately, what he wouldn’t be doing — if the decisive Game 7 was in Boston.
“I’d be too busy to talk to you,” Holzman said with a laugh.
Even with the knowledge that one of them will be a disappointed fan at some point tonight, June 15, Livich and Holzman have plenty of reason to smile after a postseason straight out of their wildest dreams. A serendipitous sequence of events — both within the NHL and beyond — has turned tonight’s Game 7 between two teams with decades-long championship droughts into not only the hottest ticket in two countries but the only game that matters as well.
Livich said the tickets he was selling Tuesday were going for an average of $1,900 per ducat — right in the same range as Holzman, who said he sold “…a couple dozen tickets” from between $1,800 to $2,000. The cheapest ticket as of the pre-dawn hours this morning at StubHub.com, meanwhile, was a $1,500 seat in the Upper Bowl Goal 312 area of Rogers Arena. That’s more than 11 times the list price of the cheapest ticket ($136.25) as listed at Ticketmaster.com prior to the Finals, and far more than the list price of the most expensive ticket ($931).
As of yesterday, Boston fans were the ones driving the demand, which is no surprise given how quickly and thoroughly the Bruins won Game Six Monday, June 13 in Boston. The Bruins set a Stanley Cup Finals record — and chased Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo — by scoring four goals in a span of just 4:14 of the first period as they cruised to a 5-2 win.
“At 4-0 people started looking [for tickets] during the [first] intermission of the game,” Holzman said. “It was a pretty convincing Boston win. You could see the market went up during the game and after the game and it continued to go up [Tuesday] morning.”
“It’s going in ebbs and flows,” said Livich, who said his business was hottest immediately after Game 6 as well. “Right now we’re having a ton of sellers of the market who are heartbroken over what happened in Boston and selling the tickets because they don’t want to see the Canucks lose and suffer more heartbreak.”
As faceoff gets closer, Livich said he expected Canucks fans to begin emerging and buying tickets. “It’s a matter of fans licking their wounds and realizing the game is in town and being prepared to spend,” Livich said. “Vancouver fans have waited for this their whole life and are very passionate, emotional fans.”
Passion, emotion and heartbreak are common themes for both franchises, which has made their playoff runs particularly enthralling for fans and made it doubly difficult for brokers to get their hands on tickets. The Canucks are seeking their first Stanley Cup since joining the NHL in 1970 while the Bruins, who have watched as the Red Sox, Patriots and Celtics have won a combined six world championships since the turn of the century, are pursuing their first title since 1972.
“I think the thing that makes this one so extraordinary is there’s so little inventory out there, from day one,” Holzman said.
The Canucks nearly blew a three games to none lead in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs before edging the Chicago Blackhawks in overtime of Game 7. They then dispatched of the Nashville Predators and San Jose Sharks in six games and five games, respectively. The Bruins sandwiched taut seven-game wins over the Montreal Canadiens and Tampa Bay Lightning around a sweep of the Philadelphia Flyers in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Overall, counting tonight, the Canucks will have played 14 out of a possible 16 home games while the Bruins played 13 out of 14 possible home games at TD Garden.
The lack of a Game 7 in the NBA Finals — the Dallas Mavericks finished off the Miami Heat in Game 6 Sunday, June 12 — has also played a factor in the high demand and prices for tonight’s tilt. The Stanley Cup satisfying the curiosity factor for those willing to see a Game 7 in any sport is nothing new: This is the sixth Cup Finals to last seven games since 2000, more than both the World Series and NBA Finals (two apiece) combined.
“There’s thrill-seekers just coming in to see the seventh game — it’s do or die, almost two months of battle to get here,” Livich said. “Absolutely, anytime you can get to Game 7 of the Finals and we’re the home team hosting the last game — can’t ask for anything better.”