Hurricane Irene may have flooded hundreds of homes this week, but it could not dampen ticket prices on the secondary market for the U.S. Open tennis championship in New York.
Ticket prices for the annual, two-week event are up just over 38 percent this year over last year, which did not lose any days due to the weekend storm. According to ticket search engine TiqIQ, the average ticket price on the resale market at the start of the tournament was $226.17 in 2010, compared to $312.27 this year.
The U.S. Open, the final major tournament of the tennis season, has been a hot ticket on the secondary ticket market in past years, dating back to the heyday of U.S. tennis when Arthur Ashe, Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe, and later Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi, ruled the courts. But, this year’s spike in average ticket prices has less to do with American players than with the American economy.
“A couple reasons why this year’s tickets are more expensive than last year’s might have to do with a sluggish economy in September 2010, and the postponed men’s finals, which could have decreased prices dramatically for the most expensive round of the tournament,” Chris Matcovich, director of Data & Communications for TiqIQ, told TicketNews. The men’s final was delayed last year due to rain and was played on a Monday instead of Sunday.
The United States Tennis Association (USTA), which runs the tournament, is again working with Ticketmaster, and its TicketsNow subsidiary, on an official ticket exchange Web site, but prices there were similar to those found on the open resale market. However, the exchange does not allow for tickets to be sold for below face value.
New York-based ticket broker Jason Berger, managing partner for AllShows.com, told TicketNews that he has seen a rise in prices this year. The U.S. Open attracts a lot of Wall Street money, and even though some investment banks have laid off workers, some companies are spending more this year on hospitality.
“I see the demand for the Open very strong this year,” Berger said. “I am seeing especially high demand for courtside and [lower level] seating, which is, I believe, tied to a resurgence in corporate entertaining.”
Lower level seats this year are averaging $895.23, compared to $802.03 in 2010, according to TiqIQ.
“This year’s event is not sold out for all sessions, but I do think that another reason tickets could be in high demand is that Novak Djokovic has made his presence felt in what was previously a two horse race with Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer,” Matcovich said, adding that if those players get knocked out of the tournament early it could have a devastating effect on secondary ticket prices. “A changing-of-the-guard could bring a little more excitement to the men’s side of the bracket.”