An NBA Finals matchup between one market known for sizzle, stars and bandwagon jumpers and another famous for being awash in oil money is good news for ticket brokers. But a bicoastal, international NHL Stanley Cup battle between similarly championship-starved cities has been even better for business.
According to figures provided by ticket search engine SeatGeek, the prices on the resale market for tickets to the Stanley Cup — pitting the Boston Bruins against the Vancouver Canucks — are far higher than those for the NBA Finals between the Miami Heat and Dallas Mavericks.
And while the Stanley Cup is not guaranteed to go as long as the NBA Finals — the Mavericks won Game 4 last night, Tuesday, June 7, to tie the series at two apiece and assure it will at least get to a sixth game in Miami Sunday, June 12 — the tickets for any remaining NHL games are almost guaranteed to remain more expensive than those for the NBA games.
As of yesterday, the average price for a ticket to Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals tonight, Wednesday, June 8, was $1,279. The average price to last night’s Game 4 in the NBA Finals was $1,172. As of yesterday, the average ticket prices for Games 5, 6 and 7 in the NBA Finals — scheduled for Thursday, June 9 in Dallas and Sunday, June 12 and Tuesday, June 14 in Miami — were $1,555, $1,729 and $1,859, respectively.
No matter what happens tonight in Boston, the prices and demand for Cup tickets should continue soaring. If the Canucks win to move within one win of their first-ever championship and the first Cup for a Canadian team since 1993, then the opportunity to see history in Game 5 in Vancouver Friday, June 10 will send prices skyrocketing past their current average of $3,783. And if the Bruins win their second straight to even the series at two games apiece, then the possibility of seeing Boston win its first Cup since 1972 in Game 6 in Boston Monday, June 13 — or the possibility of seeing someone force a Game 7 — will send tickets far past their current average of $2,202.
As for a possible Game 7 in Vancouver Wednesday, June 15 — whew. The average price for Game 7 as of yesterday was a mind-boggling $4,636, a number that will probably appear downright inexpensive if a Game 7 actually happens a week from today.
“I’m not shy to say that I was pleased that the series was extended,” Mario Livich, CEO and founder of Vancouver-based ShowTime Tickets, told TicketNews with a chuckle. “The longer the series goes, the more excitement and revenue for many aspects of the Vancouver community.”
Livich said this Cup matchup is not the perfect one for ticket brokers, but matching up a Canadian team with no Cups in 40 seasons of existence against an east coast team that hasn’t won it all in 39 years is almost as ideal. “Best thing would be Toronto or Montreal versus Vancouver, two Canadian teams,” Livich said. “The second-best would be an east coast team like the New York Rangers [against Vancouver] in ’94. Boston is certainly a good matchup we’re pleased with.”
The high Stanley Cup Finals prices result from an old-fashioned combination of supply and demand — those who have the tickets don’t want to give them up — as well as the presence of a Canadian team during a spring in which the economy is better north of the border than south.
“Demand has been higher than anticipated — we’ve seen a lot of pent-up demand, which is what is fueling this marketplace,” Livich said. “I would say 90 percent of the tickets [in Vancouver] are in the hands of season ticket holders and they’re not selling unless the price is considerable.
“It’s been 40 years of Canucks fans waiting for this moment and the economy has been good in Canada. It hasn’t been as bad as in other parts of the world. And hockey is all there is in Canada. It is by far the most dominant spectator activity, whereas in the U.S. you have multiple, multiple options.”