Stanley Cup Tickets Are Most Expensive on Record, and Prices Are Only Going Up, Up, and Away

Posted on: May 30, 2018, 02:00h. 

Last updated on: May 30, 2018, 04:22h.

Heading into the Stanley Cup Final, it was obvious that tickets – particularly for the Vegas Golden Knights home games – were going to cost a bundle.

Stanley Cup ticket prices
Fans of the Vegas Golden Knights cheer on their team during a playoff game against the San Jose Sharks. (Image: Stephen R. Sylvanie/USA TODAY Sports)

But few could have guessed that those buying tickets on the secondary market would be paying record prices, with no sign that those costs will be coming down before the series ends.

According to data compiled by TicketIQ, the 2018 Stanley Cup Final between the Golden Knights and the Washington Capitals has the highest average “get-in” price of any NHL championship series they’ve tracked, dating back to 2011.

In data compiled before Game 1, the average price of the cheapest ticket found on secondary markets such as StubHub was approximately $1,070, more than $400 more than the next closest series.

The previous high was $631, when the Los Angeles Kings and the New York Rangers met in the 2014 Stanley Cup Final.

Vegas Win Only Increases Demand

The Golden Knights appeared to be close to breaking single team records as well. Leading into the series, TicketIQ found that the average price for ticket at one of the Golden Knights’ home games during the series was over $2,500, trailing only the $2,664 that fans paid on average to see Nashville’s home Stanley Cup appearances last season.

Amazingly, these numbers have continued to rise following Game 1, which Vegas won 6-4. According to a Wednesday post in the TicketIQ blog, prices for the three potential remaining home games for the Vegas Knights have risen over the past two days.

While Game 2 is the last guaranteed game to take place at T-Mobile Arena, the average prices for tickets in Game 5 and Game 7 – both of which will only take place if necessary – have risen to about $2,500 for each contest.

Two Irresistible Stories

There are some simple reasons for the exorbitant pricing during these games. The hype around the Golden Knights is palpable in Las Vegas: not only is the hockey franchise the city’s only major league professional sports team, but they’ve managed to reach the Stanley Cup Final in their first year in existence, an incredible feat for a team that was given odds of 200/1 or worse to win the Cup at sportsbooks before the season started.

But it’s not just the Golden Knights that have fueled enthusiasm for the series. The Washington Capitals are making only their second Stanley Cup Final appearance ever, and have never actually won a championship. They’re also powered by a rabid fan base that has seen the team consistently underperform in the playoffs over the past decade.

The interest in the series can also be seen in television ratings. While numbers are up across the country, the home markets for both teams are absolutely enthralled by the matchup: Game 1 did a 16.0 rating in the Washington, D.C. market, while the local rating was an incredible 28.1 in Las Vegas.

If the novelty of the hockey series is driving interest from the general public, then that might explain why pricing for tickets in the NBA Finals has been comparatively tame.

TicketIQ reported that the average get-in price for the fourth straight championship series between the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers is just $390, the lowest they have seen in any of the four Finals battles between the teams.