If you cruise around ticket resale sites like StubHub long enough, you’ll find some astronomical prices for sports events and concerts. According to a Globe and Mail article yesterday, one suite for this year’s Super Bowl was listed on StubHub for US$882,375. As of 1 p.m. this afternoon, the cheapest seats were going for $2,500, while the current high prices for suites are in excess of half-a-million dollars. All things considered, the Super Bowl is arguably the most sought after ticket in North American sports, and resale numbers reflect that fervent demand.
But on the other side of the spectrum are the New Jersey Nets, currently playing out their final days at the Prudential Center in Newark before shipping out to Brooklyn next season. Through 19 regular-season games, the Nets have six wins, and it’s debatable as to whether they can hold onto their one identifiable star player, Deron Williams, once he enters free agency. In other words, it’s not a joyous scene at the Prudential Center.
So how much are Nets tickets going for online? One cent.
That’s right—tickets for Sunday’s game against the Toronto Raptors are going for $0.01 on StubHub. As of 1:30 this afternoon, nine separate listings—totalling 20 tickets—were offering upper bowl seats at one cent apiece. Twenty-six listings were selling admission at $1 or under. Four additional games in February have Nets home games going for a penny as well. Through Ticketmaster, the cheapest tickets for the same Nets/Raptors game cost $20.80 apiece (after the site’s fees).
And it’s not just Nets tickets that are going for severely deflated prices. In NBA markets with particularly bad teams, tickets are frequently sold below the $1 mark. Washington Wizards tickets have been sold for as little as $0.30 this season, according to The Washington Post’s Dan Steinberg. Other online chatter has said that Wizards and San Antonio Spurs seats have also been previously listed for a penny.
Consumers have to pay for ticket delivery on StubHub, which is priced at $4.95 for an electronic download. Still, the total price comes to less than half the cost of admission at some movie theatres.
For a variety of reasons, the secondary ticket market can be a boon or an annoyance to sports franchises. In some cases, teams have partnerships with resale sites, allowing those franchises, like the New York Yankees and Dallas Mavericks, to receive a percentage of sales made on the secondary market. Meaning the Mavericks and Yankees are collecting money more than once for a single ticket. Not to mention that Yankees tickets, as an example, are highly sought after, often selling for greater than face value on resale sites.
Further, it’s possible that fans who paid significantly reduced admission prices might be more inclined to spend on food and merchandise at the arena.
But it also means that some fans are paying full price at the box office while the people next to them paid a fraction of face value for essentially the same seats. One New York sports executive told Sports Illustrated’s Jon Wertheim that he frequently responds to angry fan emails about this price discrepancy.
In New Jersey’s case, just imagine how a Nets fan would feel finding out the seat next to her went for the price of a Coke.