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Saturday, May 18, 2024

Surging Ticket Prices Reflect Rising Popularity of Women’s Final Four

  • The average listing price for Friday’s semifinals is more than twice last year's comparable figure.
  • Significant star power across women’s basketball is seen as a big driver of demand.
David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

The signs are everywhere that women’s March Madness has soared to a whole new level of prominence, with ratings among the key indicators.

But the ticket resale market for the upcoming Final Four and championship game provides another crucial window into the leap the sport has taken this season.

The average resale listing price for the upcoming semifinals in Cleveland is $1,556, according to ticket aggregator TicketIQ, with an average get-in price of $479. In particular, that low-end figure has soared by more than 50% in the last four days after Iowa and Caitlin Clark—college basketball’s all-time scoring leader and currently the biggest star in the sport—defeated LSU in the regional finals to punch their Final Four ticket.

But the average semifinals price is also more than twice the comparable figure for last year’s women’s Final Four in Dallas, widely seen as a more attractive tourist destination, showing once more how far, at least in some respects, women’s college basketball has come in the last 12 months. 

A comparison with the men’s Final Four provides another window into the emerging market trends. The average semifinals listing price for the men’s event is $1,422, with a get-in price of $456. Of course, the men’s event is being played in a domed football stadium, as is custom, with Arizona’s State Farm Stadium the site for this year that seats more than 70,000 for basketball. The women’s event, meanwhile, is happening at Cleveland’s Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, with a capacity of 19,432, in keeping with that event’s typical placement in NBA-sized arenas.

Even with that marked difference in available supply influencing pricing, the ticket market for the women’s Final Four has become a national story in its own right across mainstream media—fueled significantly by the hefty star power supplied by Clark, UConn’s Paige Bueckers (above), and others. Five years ago, having any sort of comparability in ticket resale pricing for the men’s and women’s events, even with the difference in seating capacities, would have been unimaginable. Now, pricing for both the men’s and women’s events are at the highest levels that TicketIQ has tracked.

“Clark is leading the way as a demand driver as Iowa competes for its first-ever women’s national championship,” TicketIQ said. “Add to that South Carolina’s pursuit of a perfect season and the rabid fan bases of UConn and NC State, and here we are.”

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