Tickets for game 5 of the NBA Finals here in Miami next Thursday went on sale online at noon today. By 12:01 p.m., the only tickets available were standing-room. By 12:04, even those spots -- which started at $150 each -- were gone.
Finals tickets at American Airlines Arena aren't easy to come by; season ticket holders snapped up most of the prime seating, so other Heat fans have found themselves scouring the secondary market, hoping for a pricing miracle or an idiot who doesn't understand the value of being at the Finals.
We've got bad news for those fans still looking: idiots and miracles are in short supply, even if tickets aren't.
A quick check of Stubhub gives you plenty of reasonably priced Game 3 options -- if you find the idea of paying $200 for standing room only to be reasonable. Your first option to plant yourself in one of AA's seats is $225, and even then, you'll find yourself in balcony corner 419. In case you're wondering, that's higher than some Manhattan skyscrapers. A court-side seat will cost you about $6,000, $12k per pair. Fifth row behind the Heat bench: $2,700 each. But hey, parking pass included.
No matter where you're sitting, those tickets won't be getting any cheaper, according to StubHub's Joellen Ferrer. "We've seen an increase in prices for Game 3 of about 10 percent overnight," she tells Riptide.
That jump comes despite the fact that there are 13 times more tickets available for resale in Miami than in Oklahoma City, says TicketNetwork.com spokesperson Tim Fraser. Thunder fans have proven to be tough nuts to crack in the market. "Fans in Oklahoma City are less willing to sell their tickets," StubHub's Ferrer says. "There's less supply, so there's a higher demand. In Miami, it's a bit of an apathetic sports market. There are more tickets available, so the prices are quite a bit lower."
Apathy and availability aren't helping the average Heat fan's wallet, though. Last year's home Finals tickets went for an average of $416 on StubHub. This year, the three Miami home games are going for $200 more per ticket. "There's no lack of interest despite Miami having a second straight year in the Finals," Ferrer says.
Even on Craigslist, ads that are asking for a small fortune per ticket are getting a lot of interest. Chris Gonzalez put up his two tickets in Section 114 to Game 4 -- including VIP parking and four beer vouchers -- for $700. Despite his price, he's gotten six calls and eight or nine texts in the 90 minutes since his ad went up. "Some of them I don't even answer back," he tells Riptide. "I get too many."
He's been a season-ticket holder for 22 years, and has been selling his playoff tickets since the first round. Demand has risen as the Heat have advanced, and he's confident he can move his Game 4 tickets without a hassle. He's even turned folks down. One scheming soul offered Gonzalez $450 a piece for the aforementioned seats. He rejected it outright.
Of course, there's always the option of having an outside agency do your ticket dirty work. That's where companies like White Glove International come in.
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According to account executive Frank Archer, White Glove gets their tickets on consignment and re-sells them to outside folks. If you want Game 3 tickets, for example, Archer can get you seats at $265 in the 300 level. That's just tickets, though. White Glove can also set you up with anything from lodging -- "anything from the W to the Holiday Inn," Archer says -- to transportation to a "nightclub experience" after the game.
And if you're looking for something extra special, White Glove has some VIP accommodations to suit your needs. Courtside seats, a three-night stay in a five-star hotel, limo transportation to and from the game, catering, and even travel to Miami: all of those can be yours, Archer says, if you can pony up $17,000. And that's for each person in your party.
Suddenly, $150 to stand for three hours in an arena hallway doesn't sound so bad.