People love sports. If you don’t believe that, just walk in to a professional sporting competition and catch a glimpse of the borderline hysterical behavior. You may have even been guilty yourself, screaming your head off at the referee or razzing the opposing team’s outfielder in between innings. But no matter what we do when supporting our favorite athlete or team, the most accurate gauge of enthusiasm is in the price we’re willing to pay just to “be there” and experience it for ourselves.
In that spirit, check out this list we’ve put together of the Top 15 Most Expensive Sports Tickets from recent years. As you look over these ask yourself: how far you’d be willing to go to experience the action firsthand? Is a ticket to a 3-4 hr sporting event worth a mortgage payment or the price of a new car?
1. Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Sport: F1 Racing
Formula 1 Racing is the most popular racing sport in the world, and while events such as the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix can put a sting on your pocketbook, they’re not as expensive as some of the other sports you’re about to see. However, Abu Dhabi is considered the most expensive F1 event in the world, and to make sure you’re a part of it, you’ll have to lay down around $513 for a single ticket. Not too bad comparably, but if you’re an international fan, any savings you might get from the ticket will quickly be negated by travel expenses.
2. The Masters 2013
Sport: PGA Golf
While Yahoo! Sports declared The Masters the most expensive event in all of sports, that really depends on how you want to qualify it. Prices fluctuate when you factor in third party sellers and the natural supply and demand for any sporting competition, so for now, we’ll hold off our endorsement. Still, the $4,486 four-day pass does make The Masters a big deal. What also makes it a big deal is the fact you’ll be literally brushing shoulders with Tiger Woods, Phil Mickleson, and other modern greats of the green, while filling up on $3 beers and $1.50 pimento cheese sandwiches.
3. Super Bowl XLVII: Baltimore Ravens vs. San Francisco 49ers
Sport: American Football
If you’re an American, then it’s almost guaranteed you know about the Super Bowl. In fact, of the ten most watched shows in television history, nine of them are Super Bowls. Even if you’re not a football fan, you probably tune in every year just to watch the commercials and the halftime show. But as game day draws near, you’ll need some really deep couch cushions if you’re going to attend in-person. Face value ticket prices for 2013 averaged about $1,210, according to NOLA.com, but third party ticket prices were listed as high as $316,000. Good luck footing that bill!
4. FIFA World Cup 2014 Final
Soccer is far and away the biggest team sport in the world. While the United States is just starting to embrace it as part of the mainstream, we’re way behind everyone else. With clubs that date back more than a century, there is an enormous amount of heritage and respect tied to the game that ingrains it into the dreams of young hopefuls from the time they first learn how to bicycle kick. But if you think playing in the global tournament-to-end-all-tournaments is difficult, you should try attending. The World Cup 2014 will be held in Brazil, and to get there, you’ll need at least $990 for a single ticket to the Final, plus travel expenses. Furthermore, if you want to see all group and tournament matches for a specific team, it’ll run you about $3,350 per person for all seven matches. Of course, if your team doesn’t make it through the tourney, you can still go to the R16, quarterfinals, semifinals, and finals, or you may want to sell those to help defray trip costs, but doing so will be an uphill battle.
5. BCS National Championship 2012: Alabama vs. Notre Dame
Sport: College Football
Alabama Crimson Tide Head Football Coach Nick Saban has led his team to three National Championships since 2009, including a victory against his former employer (the LSU Tigers) in 2011. During that game, the Tide also topped ticket prices with an average cost of $632.71, according to ESPN. But that was nothing compared to the prices for ‘Bama’s 2012 drubbing of Notre Dame. High-end buyers for the 2012 BCS title game had to pay as much as $250,000 for a luxury box. (Seats were not sold separately.)
6. London Olympics 2012: Opening Ceremony
Sport: Track & Field
While events, such as swimming, basketball, and tennis can fetch several hundred dollars per ticket on the resell market, nothing compares to the price for an Olympic Opening Ceremony ticket. SeatGeek tracked ticket purchases throughout the 2012 Games in London and found that people were willing to pay as much as $4,000 for category B seats on eBay. The next closest event was swimming, which clocked in with an average ticket a little north of $700. Depending on the events you decided to attend after the lighting of the torch, this one could have gotten out of hand in a hurry, price-wise.
7. NBA Finals 2010, Game 7: Los Angeles Lakers vs. Boston Celtics
The Lakers-Celtics rivalry is one of the most popular in all of sports. So when the two met up for the 2010 NBA Finals, high ticket prices were to be expected. The result: a single courtside ticket ran $57,950. For a pair (the minimum purchase), it was more than $115,000, or a little north of the price tag on a 2011 Mercedes-Benz SL-550 convertible (according to the New York Times). Considering the Lakers would take the title in the seventh and final game by just four points, some might say the expense was worth it — Lakers fans anyway.
8. New York Yankees Legends Suites
High ticket prices needn’t be tied to the importance of a sports competition. Sometimes tickets are expensive just because of where you’re sitting and whom you’re watching. Take the Legends Suites at Yankee Stadium. The suites hold 122, and each ticket runs close to $2,500, according to Forbes. Furthermore, they have to be leased years in advance in three-, five-, seven-, and ten-year increments. At the very least, that’s around $915,000 per game. And if the Yankees manage to make it into the playoffs, it gets pricier from there, easily cracking the $1 million mark.
9. Floyd Mayweather, Jr. vs. Canelo Alvarez
Boxing’s current pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather, Jr., defeated knockout puncher Saul “Canelo” Alvarez on September 14 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, and walked away with a cool $42 million, thanks in part to what people were willing to pay at the box office. Ringside seats went for as much as $30,940 per ticket due to both fighters being unbeaten.
Updated Jan 14th 2015: Just announced Mayweather vs Pacquiao will fight on May 2nd at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas where Mayweather vs Pacquiao tickets for ringside are expected be upwards of $100,00 per ticket on the secondary market.
10. UFC: Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson
When Jon Jones defended his UFC light heavyweight championship against top contender Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 165 on September 21, he did so in front of an always lively Canadian crowd, who as countrymen to UFC great Georges St.-Pierre, take their MMA very seriously. The fight, which took place in Toronto, featured a number of tickets that went for north of $1,000, with four being offered at $2,995. For that price, patrons were so close to the cage, they needed an umbrella to deflect the bloodshed.
11. Stanley Cup Finals 2013: Boston Bruins vs. Chicago Blackhawks
Sport: Ice Hockey
The US isn’t known for its embrace of professional ice hockey. Historically, the sport has been more of a Canada-Russia thing. So when two American cities squared off for the Stanley Cup in 2013, no one expected average prices to reach $1,380; but then, no one expected the Boston Marathon bombing to happen either. Forbes attributed the uptick in pricing to the tragedy, noting how repeat championship appearances often drive future ticket prices downward. Since the Bruins had been to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2011, the 30 percent spike in this year’s prices indicated the city was latching on to every source of pride it could to overcome the senseless tragedy of April 15, 2013.
12. Wimbledon Finals 2013: Andy Murray vs. Novak Djovokic
International tennis stars Andy Murray and Novak Djovokic squared off in July 2013 in what would become one of the more expensive events in Wimbledon’s history. On the morning of the championship match, ticket prices soared to around $65,000 each. For the price, last-minute buyers were treated to a three-hour battle for the ages that resulted in Murray defeating Djovokic, becoming the first British winner of the men’s singles title since Fred Perry in 1936 and the first Scot — man or woman — to win Wimbledon singles since Harold Mahoney in 1896.
13. Vancouver Olympics 2012: Men’s Hockey Final — Canada vs. US
Sport: Ice Hockey
Whether it was place, circumstance, or a combination of the two, the men’s 2012 Winter Olympics ice hockey final managed to top that year’s Super Bowl in terms of face value ticket prices. A single pass to the overtime thriller that saw host country Canada taking the Gold Medal from the US, 3-2, would have cost an individual $3,250, according to CNN Money. Despite the expense, the neighboring countries were still able to pack in more than 17,000 people.
14. WWE Wrestlemania 29
Sport: Professional Wrestling
Given the fact the outcomes are rehearsed ahead of time, it’s perfectly understandable if you don’t want to acknowledge the WWE as a sport. The company classifies its product as “sports entertainment,” which sounds closer to reality. Regardless, it does take a high degree of athleticism to be able to do the things many of these wrestlers do, and patrons of the company’s annual event, known as Wrestlemania, are willing to pay big money to see their ring heroes up close and personal.
What qualifies as “big money” in the pro wrestling world? In November 2012, ringside tickets for last April’s show went on sale at $2,075 a pop. But hey, at least you got to keep your seat!
15. Major League Baseball All-Star Game 2011
Phoenix, Arizona’s Chase Field hosted the 2011 contest between the National League and American League All-Stars. If you were in attendance and sitting right behind home plate, then you had to pay $3,600 for the honor. But per the rules of the event, you were also required to purchase an additional ticket at the same price, which meant the entire experience would have cost $7,200 before even getting to the hot dogs and beer.
As you can see, when it comes to sports, fans are willing to pay almost any price to support their favorites. While most people reading this wouldn’t dream of shelling out $30,000 for a single ticket, there’s always someone out there with the wallet and the passion to push the laws of supply and demand a little further than we thought possible.
What is the most that you would be willing to pay to attend a sporting event, and under what circumstances would you be willing to pay it? Share your thoughts in the comments section below and definitely consider ordering your next concert, sports, or theatre ticket from http://www.BarrysTickets.com/ in the future.