Kings Game 3 win sends MSG ticket market into tailspin

(Bruce Bennett/Pool Photo via USA TODAY Sports)
(Bruce Bennett/Pool Photo via USA TODAY Sports)

By the third period of the Los Angeles Kings’ 3-0 win in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final at Madison Square Garden, the cheapest ticket on StubHub for Game 4 on Wednesday in New York had dropped from close to $1000 to about $650. By fifteen minutes after the game, it was $550.

As we have previously examined, some factors in the secondary ticket market during a team’s playoff run include the size, enthusiasm, and wealth of the bandwagon following that forms around successful teams.

The Rangers’ unlikely run to their first Stanley Cup Final in 20 years, combined with a lack of recent success in New York professional sports, had ticket prices for games at Madison Square Garden starting in four-digits. Game 3 Monday night set a new record for the highest-grossing NHL game ever on StubHub, according to StubHub spokesman Cameron Papp:

“The Rangers have always sold well, but this surge is astounding. It really shows the growth in popularity of the NHL over the last few years. It’s been an historic NHL playoffs for us overall, and Game 3 in New York is the hottest ticket on the entire site.”

Now, down 3-0 in the best-of-seven series, the bandwagon in New York may be beginning to empty, as optimism — and actual likelihood — that the Rangers will end the city’s championship drought dwindles. The deep-pocketed New Yorkers who consider themselves casual fans may no longer see these games as worth the huge amounts of money, so sellers have quickly started to adjust prices back to the levels that the die-hards are willing to pay, win or lose.

In contrast to this post-loss crash for Game 4 in New York, observers will likely find the opposite effect on the secondary market in Los Angeles should the Rangers win on Wednesday to force a Game 5 back at Staples Center.

The cheapest ticket on StubHub after Game 3 for a ticket to a potential Game 5 in L.A. was $719. Should the Rangers win Game 4, there are a multitude of factors that could affect whether prices rise or fall, but the most likely outcome sees prices spike back up due to the extra demand for a potential Stanley Cup-clincher. Casual fans, especially in Los Angeles, may be more than happy to pay inordinate amounts of money to witness a championship first-hand.

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