The Zion Effect: Ticketing
HISTORY IN THE MAKING
The best way to compare demand for Duke tickets this season to past seasons — and isolate the impact Zion Williamson and this team have had — is by looking at the Blue Devils’ away games this season compared with the their previous trip to that school. In most cases, Duke’s visit this season drove significantly higher demand (and prices) for tickets than the prior visit. In four cases (see Florida State, Notre Dame, Virginia and Virginia Tech), the increase led to the most in-demand home ticket at the host school since SeatGeek began tracking the secondary market in 2010.
Only twice has ticket value for a Duke road game in 2019 dropped — North Carolina and Louisville. The UNC game is always a high-demand game, so that one can be easily explained. The Louisville numbers, however, are perplexing, a true outlier. When Duke last traveled to Louisville in 2017, the Blue Devils were ranked No. 7 and the Cardinals were No. 14, certainly a high-profile matchup. Maybe Louisville fans weren’t very optimistic, pushing ticket values lower.
Below are the comparisons for Duke’s nine 2018-19 away games versus its most recent trip to each school (includes March 9 game at UNC) :
DRAWING A CROWD
Through the end of February, Duke has played eight true road contests (not counting tournaments or neutral-site games), playing before capacity crowds at each matchup.
Not only are Duke’s tickets more valuable in the friendly confines of Cameron Indoor Stadium, their value spikes significantly on the road. When the Blue Devils are away from Durham, the average resale ticket price vaults a staggering 194 percent, compared with the home team’s average ticket price. North Carolina is a distant second. A seasonlong trend like this is typically found in the NBA — think the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls in the 1990s or Steph Curry’s Golden State Warriors in 2015-16 when they set the NBA record with 73 wins. Below are the top 10 college basketball teams driving ticket demand on the road:
Duke has been the hottest ticket in college basketball this season, both at home and on the road, according to SeatGeek. At home, the average resale ticket price to see a Duke game is $329, by far the highest in college basketball. Below are the top five most in-demand college basketball home tickets, ranked by average resale price on the secondary market: