If you thought shelling out $5 for a gallon of gas was outrageous, take a gander at the soaring price of a ticket to a Celtics NBA Finals game at TD Garden.
The average price of a ticket is sitting around $1,500, depending on which ticket broker you use, with the cheapest ticket approaching $1,000 for Games 3 and 4 Wednesday and Friday.
For a potential clinching Game 6 next Thursday, the cheapest ticket has already cleared $1,000.
“The demand for these games has really been unprecedented,” said Jim Holzman, owner of Ace Ticket. “I think it’s the combination of the last two years where 90 percent of people were not going to anything, that people realize while we’ve had this great Boston run, you never know if or when a Boston team is in the finals.”
With the Celtics 12 years removed from their last Finals appearance and 14 from their last championship — and Boston fans “parched” from a three-year championship drought — the demand to lay eyes in person on the next championship team is real, to the point where Boston Police have issued a warning to be on the lookout for fake-ticket scams.
“When it comes to events like these, you have a father wanting to take his son or a mother taking their daughter, plus you have an influx of college kids home for the summer, and it’s still before people take off for the summer,” said Holzman. “So I think the timing of this makes it really big as well.”
At Ace Tuesday morning, the average ticket price for Game 3 Wednesday was $1,094, with the “get-in” cheap price at $709. For Game 4 Friday, the average price was $1,250, with the cheap seats going for $875.
StubHub points out Tuesday that ticket sales for the two games this week are outselling those for the first two games in San Francisco by nearly 30 percent. Its Game 3 prices were starting at $800, with the average price on Monday at $1,946.
StubHub’s Game 4 prices began at $750, with the average price on Monday at $1,922.
“We’re continuing to see excitement in Boston far outpace San Francisco as the Celtics head home for the next few games of the Finals,” said StubHub spokesman Michael Silveira in an email. “Fans are even showing up in bigger numbers than the Celtics’ last Finals appearance in 2010: total sales for Game 3 are more than double what we saw at this time before Game 3 of that year’s series against the Lakers.”
Back in 2010, Holzman said, the cheapest seats were going for around $400, with the average ticket around $550.
The series returns to San Francisco for Game 5. If one of the teams sweeps the two games here and then wins Game 5, then Friday’s Game 4 would be the Celtics’ final appearance at home this season.
There’s a better chance that the series will go at least six games, which means another game at the Garden next Thursday. If it’s the Celtics who are up, 3-2, by then, the prospect of watching them clinch their 18th championship will sell itself in terms of fan demand.
And even if it’s the Warriors up 3-2, demand will still be high. With the US Open in town, the number of celebrities, corporate bigwigs, sponsors, and probably golfers who will want a seat will keep prices high.
On Tuesday, nine days before a potential Game 6, Holzman reported that the cheapest Game 6 ticket was going for $1,099, with the average price at $1,750.
When the Red Sox won the 2013 World Series in Game 6 at Fenway Park, the cheapest seat at Ace was $1,500.
“I think Game 6 has the potential to be one of the biggest events in Boston sports history and what could be the highest demand ticket in Boston history,” said Holzman. “I’ll talk about that next week.”