For 51 UConn undergraduate students, $100 will provide a round trip to Texas for the NCAA men’s basketball Final Four as UConn pursues a National Championship. For everyone else, the price tag is considerably steeper – and climbing.
UConn’s Undergraduate Student Government is sponsoring a bus to take students from Storrs to Texas this weekend. The bus will depart from Storrs at 6:00 AM on Friday and is expected to arrive in Arlington, Texas no later than 1:00PM Saturday – in time for the early evening game at AT&T Stadium.
The student government is not responsible for meals, lodging or other accommodations at any point during the trip, but will get the fortunate 51 (first come, first served, of course) within shouting distance of the Final Four. For a shot at a bus ticket, however, students must have proof that they are already a NCAA student ticket holder for the Final Four, showing an email confirmation from the official NCAA purchase process. Student General Admission ticket price: $40.
Why take the bus? Norwalk-based priceline.com is reporting that the national average airfare to Dallas/Ft. Worth is around $340, but the average round trip airfare from Bradley International Airport is $604. By comparison, the average round trip fare from the home cities of the other Final Four are less - Jacksonville is $541, $584 from Wisconsin, and $385 from Lexington, priceline.com reported. The average rate for an economy or compact rental car at the Dallas/Ft. Worth Airport is $60 a day for the weekend dates.
Online ticket aggregator TiqiQ reports that the average ticket price for the two semi-final match-ups on Saturday, as of April 2, is $1,091.81. (A ticket for just one of the semi-finals runs averages about $595.) The Championship Game ticket for next Monday night is going for an average of $580.70. That’s a slight drop from earlier in the week, but an increase of about 20 percent over the ticket price a week ago, before the four contenders for the National Championship were determined.
PrimeSport, the Official Ticket Exchange of the NCAA Final Four, lists available tickets ranging from $335.75 in the upper deck of the AT&T Arena to $4,037.50 in Row U facing mid-court. There remain tickets available.
Compared to the last four years, this is shaping up as the second-most expensive price for NCAA tournament tickets to the final four, behind only last years’ Final Four in Atlanta, Forbes magazine reported this week. Last year, the average price for the semi-final game was $887, which was driven up by three big programs in Louisville, Michigan, and Syracuse, in addition to Wichita State. The lowest price for final four tickets over the last four years was 2011, the last time UConn won the national championship, the magazine reported.
Students holding the prized $40 tickets will not be able to resell them on the secondary market, TIME magazine reported this week. Students from the Final Four competitors - UConn, Wisconsin, Florida and Kentucky - must provide valid student ID’s, verification of purchase, and the originating credit card to gain entry to the Final Four stadium.
The Final Four at AT&T Stadium is expected to bring the largest crowd ever to attend a NCAA tournament game college basketball game. The previous record was the 75,421 people that saw the 2011 Final Four semifinal games at Houston's Reliant Stadium. This year’s Final Four may also break the all-time college basketball attendance record of 78,129, Huffington Post reported.
As for the return trip for the 51 UConn students taking the bus from Storrs, there are two scenerios: should UConn lose on Saturday, the bus will depart from Arlington at 9:00AM on Sunday, April 5. If the Huskies advance to the championship, the bus will depart from Arlington at 8:00AM Tuesday, April 8. Sleep deprived, at the very least.