Photo: John J. Kim / Chicago Tribune
The Tribune ran an interesting story on Sunday, in a section they named "Hawkeytown," interviewing fans at the United Center for Saturday night's Game 5. It was called "Tell Us Your Blackhawks Ticket Story," in print, and more to the point online: "How Much Did You Pay for Your Game 5 Tickets?"
One guy paid $2,000 on an on NHL ticket exchange site for Section 105, row 1, seat 7, which has a face value of $865. A dad took his 8-year-old son to sit in the fourth row—their tickets' face value was $265 each, but he got them on Stubhub for $3,300 total. Another guy paid $400 for a standing-room only ticket (face value $125). And the man in the photo above, Tom Allision, got two tickets at face value—$390 apiece—for himself and his wife, for the fourth row of Section 213.
It's not that surprising that tickets to a Stanley Cup Final series go for exorbitant prices. But this was Game 5, in which neither team could be eliminated—and which was also guaranteed to happen. Let's say the Blackhawks lose tonight. (Sorry! It's possible.) So then there's a Game 7. And it's fair to say it's the biggest hockey game in Chicago in 42 years, since the Blackhawks hosted (and lost to) the Montreal Canadiens in Game 7 of the 1971 Finals.
Today, before anyone knows whether it's even going to happen, you can get a ticket Game 7. Prices, as you can imagine, are nuts.
- Standing room only tickets are starting at $720.
- All the way at the top, you can get a ticket (in section 13) for $1,689.
- Harris Club (midlevel) tickets start at $3999 and go to $9500.
- You can get mid-ice seats in Row 1 on the glass for $7,500.
- There’s a row 1 seat on the glass right behind the net for $3990.
- The most expensive ticket (that’s probably real / not a typo) is currently $14,707.
- And there's a ticket in Row 8, on the lowest level, for a suspicious-sounding $333,333.33.
That's a lot to pay for a hypothetical hockey game—much more than when the Hawks won their first Stanley Cup in 1934, when 3,500 general admission seats were made available at seventy-five cents each, the equivalent of $13 today. And if the Blackhawks do lose tonight, these prices are presumably a fraction of what you'd be looking at just 24 hours from now. But maybe you should just buy one in advance. Tomorrow, you'll feel like you got a hell of a deal.
Seriously, why not? You've got savings, don't you? A credit card that isn't already maxed out? Look, Game 7 is a pretty rare thing to begin with. There has only even been a Game 7 in the Stanley Cup Finals 15 times in the past 71 years. And in a Finals that has gone into overtime for three out of the first five games, it makes sense to assume the series itself will be neck and neck, down to the wire, won by a nose, etc.
Here's another idea, Big Spender: What if you bought one today so you could resell it tomorrow? At double the price. Or triple. Or for three hundred thousand bucks! It's almost a guaranteed investment—the Blackhawks and StubHub refund your money if the Hawks win it all in Game Six.