Pricing Insanity at March Madness: Exploring the Causes of Secondary Price Markups at the 2013 Final Four

By Patrick Rishe.

Published by The Sport Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: June 20, 2014 $US5.00

As the online secondary market for buying and selling sports tickets has grown more sophisticated over the last decade, the volume of academic research exploring how sports consumers behave within this marketplace has also grown, but is still underserved. Specifically, there have been no inquiries to date that look into whether secondary price markups differ across micro-events within a larger sporting event and no studies involving college sporting events, in particular the Division I Men’s Basketball Championships and its culminating weekend known as the Final Four. Using 285 online transactions accounting for 750 tickets purchased through online ticket vendor for the 2013 Final Four at Atlanta’s Georgia Dome, the empirical results suggest that the underlying mechanism causing differential secondary markups differs across “session type.” These markup differentials are also influenced by the quantity of tickets purchased within a particular transaction as well as by seat quality. Though the results provide both the NCAA and TicketCity with strategic information to maximize future profits, an extension of this research would be to allow for comparisons across different parts of the entire tournament (thereby creating cross-venue and cross-city comparisons).

Keywords: Secondary Ticket Pricing, March Madness, Sports Marketing, Sports Consumer Behavior

The International Journal of Sport and Society, Volume 4, Issue 2, June 2014, pp.67-78. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: June 20, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 345.394KB)).

Dr. Patrick Rishe

Professor of Economics, Business Department, George Herbert Walker School of Business and Technology, Webster University, St. Louis, MO, USA

Dr. Rishe is a professor of economics at Webster University in St. Louis, MO. He is the founder/director of Sportsimpacts, which has conducted economic impact analyses at over 80 sporting events including super bowls, final fours, and the Ryder Cup. He is also a sports business columnist for, where he has authored over 500 articles on topical sports business issues since May 2010.