What can the secondary ticket market tell us about March Madness? Although these are neutral-site contests, there might be a few teams with a home-court advantage this weekend.
At the East Regional, StubHub says to expect to see a lot of Syracuse Orange in the stands. Currently, fans in New York are outnumbering fans in Indiana by a factor of 6 to 1.
On the other side of the country, the close proximity to Los Angeles will help the Arizona Wildcats get a home-court advantage over the Buckeyes, as fans in Arizona are buying seven tickets for every one purchased by a fan from Ohio.
In the South Regional, it’s clear Kansas fans aren’t deterred by the eight-hour drive to Dallas. For every one Wolverine you see in the stands, expect to see eight Jayhawks fans if purchasers on StubHub are any indication. No matter the rooting interest, expect to see those seats filled. StubHub says the South Regional is leading all site-wide sales as of Wednesday night, outselling all other sporting events and concerts.
The largest home-court advantage of all, however, goes to Louisville. Just two hours from Indianapolis makes the Midwest Regional an easy drive for Cardinals fans. More tickets have been purchased for the Midwest Regional from fans living in Kentucky than every other state combined. For all the other regional tournaments, the largest percentage of purchasers come from the state hosting the tournament. Not so in Indianapolis. Currently, Kentucky is bringing 125 times more buyers than Oregon for Friday night’s game.
Indianapolis is also an easy jaunt for Michigan State fans, with East Lansing just four hours away. StubHub says buyers from Michigan are outnumbering those from North Carolina by a factor of 20 to 1.
What the numbers don’t show is any definitive interest from fans of the mid-major, Cinderella teams La Salle, Wichita State and Florida Gulf Coast. For the West Regional, StubHub says it's not seeing any large continents from Kansas or Pennsylvania buying tickets. In Dallas it’s tough to tell, since Florida and Florida Gulf Coast are both from the same state.
What we do know is that Cinderella teams can have an impact on ticket sales for the following season. In 2008, Davidson made it to the Elite Eight, nearly beating eventual champion Kansas. The following season, the average price for a ticket to a Davidson game quintupled on StubHub. After Butler’s 2010 run that brought it within inches of the title, ticket sales tripled the following season.
VCU saw an even bigger increase in ticket sales following its 2011 Final Four appearance, with ticket sales increasing by a factor of eight on StubHub. The school felt the impact as well. For the 2010-11 season, VCU had 2,238 season-ticket holders and an average attendance of 6,645. The following season, after its Final Four appearance, VCU saw season ticket sales increase by 27 percent and its average attendance increase by 15 percent.