Stanley Cup ticket prices soar

For the first time, Stanley Cup ticket prices are shooting past those for NBA championship games as hockey takes center rink with two big-name teams and lingering fervor from the recent Winter Olympics, MarketWatch reported Friday.

Ahead of the start of the series Saturday between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Philadelphia Flyers, fans are paying in the secondary market an average price of $759 for tickets to four potential home games in Chicago and $565 for three possible home games in Philadelphia.

That's nearly double last year's Stanley Cup ticket prices. It's also well above the $526 Boston Celtic fans have already starting paying and on par with the $585 that Los Angeles Lakers fans are shelling out in anticipation of an NBA showdown between those teams next month.

"We have seen tremendous growth for NHL tickets," said Joellen Ferrer, spokeswoman for StubHub, a secondary ticket market site. "This is the first time in our 10-year history that we're seeing NHL prices keep pace with the NBA."

It helps that both towns are big and have lots of rabid hockey fans. The game also promises to be a cliffhanger, though the Hawks are favored. That team hasn't seen a Stanley Cup appearance since 1992 and hasn't touched the Cup itself since 1961.

But there's also what Christian Anderson, a spokesman for search engine FanSnap.com, called the X-factor. "That gold medal game between Team USA and Team Canada ignited interest everywhere," he said, noting that many teams enjoyed a post-Olympics bump in attendance and ticket prices for some teams jumped 8 percent to 10 percent.

Stanley Cup ticket prices are as steep and then some to all games and get higher the more games there are, assuming there are more than four. If there are seven games, ticket holders are offering platinum glass tickets in the front row near the bench for as much as $17,648.

At least one Chicago ticket broker thinks prices will drop sharply as game time approaches for each outing.

"It's ridiculous what some people are asking," said broker Jim Bracey. "They're going to have to pull the plug at some point or go to the game themselves," he said.