An average game for the Golden Knights still beats March Madness.
At least according to the secondary ticket market. The prices for the Knights’ Thursday game against the Winnipeg Jets are higher than the prices to watch the first rounds of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.
Knights’ tickets start at $118 each on StubHub.com, while the price to see No. 7 Louisville play No. 10 Minnesota and No. 2 Michigan State play No. 15 Bradley in Des Moines, Iowa, on Thursday starts at $80.
“Believe it or not, first and second rounds, until you really start to get to the Sweet 16, the Elite Eight, you’ll see (low) prices,” said Ken Solky, president of the secondary ticket seller LasVegasTickets.com. “Because half the teams are going home. When half the teams go home, half the fans go home.”
It’s no secret that Knights’ tickets have been in demand since their first game as a franchise. The team averages 18,301 fans per home game this season, well above T-Mobile Arena’s listed 17,500 capacity for hockey games.
That’s one reason why the rink was the runaway winner for “which arena has the best atmosphere?” in the NHL Players’ Association’s annual survey with 42.5 percent of the vote.
“I’ve tried many times before to express how great it is, but I think when I look at it, the phrase I’ve kind of been using is the fans are more in love with the team than they are with the sport,” winger Max Pacioretty said. “And I think it leads for a genuine crowd that’s out there just genuinely rooting for their favorite team, and it leads for a really emotional game every night no matter who we’re playing.”
The fact that Thursday’s matchup with the Jets registers as an average game price-wise is a surprise because it’s a rematch of last season’s Western Conference Final. Solky said it is for two reasons — it’s a Thursday night, and the game won’t have a huge effect on the standings.
The Knights are 10 points behind the first-place Calgary Flames in the Pacific Division and seven points behind the second-place San Jose Sharks. They appear locked into third, giving their final nine regular-season games less meaning.
“It compares fairly (price-wise) to most playoff clubs,” Solky said. “Perhaps earlier in the season, before the Knights went on that (current 9-1) run, you might have seen a little more concern on the fans’ behalf that you don’t see now.”
Even though demand for Knights’ tickets isn’t at a peak right now, it’s enough to beat out the opening rounds of the NCAA tournament. A Friday session featuring No. 7 Cincinnati vs. No. 10 Iowa and No. 2 Tennessee vs. No. 15 Colgate in Columbus, Ohio is similarly priced to the Knights’ Thursday game at $115 per ticket, but the second session of No. 8 Utah State vs. No. 9 Washington and No. 1 North Carolina vs. No. 16 Iona starts at $72.
Solky said that’s no surprise, as even a normal game for the Knights makes them one of the most sought-after tickets in Las Vegas.
“It’s still one of, if not the most popular, live ticketed event in Las Vegas right now,” Solky said. “Lady Gaga might be first, but the Golden Knights are certainly holding their own.”