CHAMPAIGN — With reduced capacity at six stadiums in Indianapolis, getting a ticket to an Illini game during the NCAA tournament may be difficult.
While some first-round tickets were available at market value last week through Ticketmaster for $30, that was before the bracket had been announced.
Each of the venues will allow up to 25 percent capacity, including the players, family members, coaches and essential staff.
As of last week, the Illini weren’t sure how many tickets it would be given, spokeswoman Kent Brown said.
“It will likely be dependent on which facility we are assigned as each will have a different capacity. Normally, we never have tickets for the first or second rounds that are available for sale since the number is so limited, and I expect the same this year,” he said. “If we do, by chance have any tickets available after the allotment to our team, they would be distributed using the priority points system set up for IFUND donors.”
With so few tickets available, ticket resellers are cautiously optimistic.
“Until the schedule is set on Selection Sunday, it is hard to say what demand will be like for the NCAA tournament,” StubHub spokeswoman Jessica Erskine Finn said. “Regardless, the NCAA tournament always drives incredible demand.”
On Friday, first-round tickets were on sale for as low as $47 and as high as $404. Second- and third-round tickets ranged from $70 to $370.
Tickets for later rounds weren’t yet on sale.
While the capacity limitations will make it hard to compare this year’s demand to previous years, Finn said other events that have come back this spring have been popular.
“With the events that have been welcoming fans back, we see a healthy resurgence in ticket demand and sales, and we anticipate the NCAA tournament will be no different,” Finn said.
Ticket marketplace Vivid Seats spokesman Stephen Spiewak said the location of the games is typically a large factor.
While the NCAA typically tries to place teams in regions they’re closer to, that won’t be a factor this year.
“The fact that Indianapolis is centrally located makes it accessible. Plus, many teams with sprawling fan bases across the Midwest (Illinois, Michigan, Iowa, Ohio State) are playing really well,” Spiewak said. “Throw in that nearby Chicago has a Final Four dark horse (Loyola) and that Purdue would be playing in its own backyard and the Final Four/national championship could be a very hot ticket.”
TickPick spokesman Kyle Zorn said ticket prices could depend on whether nearby teams, such as Illinois and Michigan, end up at the larger venues.
“We’ll know much more when matchups are determined,” he said. “This is the first time all these venues are all at one location, and if you’re a fan on the east or west coast and have to travel, it’s definitely going to be a bigger decision.”
Still, “we’re expecting high demand with such limited capacity,” Zorn said.
If you’re unable to get a ticket, you can still make it to the Final Four in spirit:” Until Tuesday, the NCAA is selling $100 fan cutouts to put in the stands.