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NCAA tickets sold for big bucks in Buffalo <br> Highest secondary-market prices for subregional games reported here

The numbers are in from several precincts, and they are proving what everyone assumed -- that the tickets to last weekend's NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament games in HSBC Arena were the hottest ones of the eight subregional sites.

How hot?

Buffalo tickets on StubHub, a leading secondary market site, were changing hands at an average of close to three times the face value.

And ticket holders to the games here were asking -- not necessarily getting -- an average of almost five times the face value, according to FanSnap, a ticket search engine that monitors data from more than 50 Internet ticket sellers.

StubHub officials have figures showing that the Buffalo marketplace hit the daily double, with both the highest average ticket price and the top gross dollar sales.

Those Buffalo tickets sold for an average of $213, almost three times the face value of $73 per ticket per two-game session; the NCAA sold each ticket inside HSBC Arena at a face value of $219 for all three sessions.

"That speaks to the volume of the demand there," said Joellen Ferrer, corporate communications manager for StubHub.
"It was the most active marketplace that we saw for the first two rounds of the tournament."

Buffalo was followed by Spokane, Wash., at $211 per sold ticket, and Jacksonville, Fla., at $199, but those markets had lower volume. Spokane finished last in dollar volume, while Jacksonville came in seventh, suggesting that a smaller supply of available tickets on the secondary market there helped boost the average resale price.

Over at FanSnap, which allows customers to compare available ticket prices and seat locations from various ticket sellers, the average asking price Saturday for the Sunday second-round doubleheader here was $345. The next highest was Providence, R.I., at $214.

"That tells me that the Buffalo [site] was by far the hottest ticket in the first two rounds of the tournament," said Christian Anderson, corporate communications director at FanSnap. "It wasn't even close."

The discrepancy between the two brokers' numbers can be explained by asking prices being higher than selling prices and by the increased demand for the Sunday doubleheader.

The reason for the hot Buffalo market was pretty obvious more than a week ago, when the pairings were announced.

Syracuse, a No. 1 seed, is only a 2 1/2 -hour drive to Buffalo, while West Virginia, a No. 2 seed, is about a five-hour drive.

That's why orange became the predominant color seen in downtown Buffalo all weekend, and why vans and SUVs bearing West Virginia University decals could be seen heading into parking lots during the morning rush hour Friday.

There's another reason the ticket prices here stayed high for Sunday's second-round doubleheader. The teams with the two biggest fan bases descending on Buffalo both survived first-round upset bids.

If either Syracuse or West Virginia had lost here Friday, its disgruntled fans would have been walking out of HSBC Arena and ready to dump their tickets on the secondary market.

That high supply of tickets, without the corresponding high demand, would have meant a lot of resold tickets but at depressed prices.

Statistics compiled by StubHub show the home states, or province, of the greatest number of StubHub purchasers for last weekend's games in Buffalo.

As expected, New York topped the list with 61 percent of the buyers, followed by Ontario with 12 percent, West Virginia with 8 percent and Pennsylvania with 7 percent. Other states had 1 percent or less.

And guess where ticket sales are spiking for the next two rounds -- in nearby Syracuse, site of both the Cornell-Kentucky and the West Virginia-Washington games later this week.

Cornell is a big reason for that. It has become the new media darling, and it's only about an hour from Syracuse.

The top-seeded teams with their loyal traveling fan bases, such as Kentucky, Syracuse and Duke, are being joined by fans who never expected to be looking for tickets.

"The Cinderella stories, the Cornells, the Washingtons and Northern Iowas, these fans never expected their teams to be there," Anderson said.

e-mail: gwarner@buffnews.com

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Costly NCAA games

Average price paid by StubHub customers for tickets to games in these cities

Buffalo $213

Spokane $211

Jacksonville $199

Oklahoma City $182

Providence $178

San Jose $173

New Orleans $172

Milwaukee $158

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