May 16 2014, 6:27pm CDT | by Forbes
Over the past four seasons, there have been 35 series across the NHL and NBA playoffs to go seven games. Most of them have come from the NHL. At the conclusion of the current conference semifinals in each league, there will have been a total of 57 playoff series since 2011. While the NBA has seen 13 playoff series (22.81%) reach seven games over that time frame, the NHL has seen 22 (38.6%). But not only are Game 7s more prevalent in the NHL, fans are also paying more on average and higher premiums over the rest of the series to see these deciding games.
According to TiqIQ, Game 7 tickets in the NHL have sold for an average of $512.42 on the secondary market over the past four seasons, 15.38% above the NBA average of $444.14. However, this figure is affected by two variables. First, while each league is represented by one championship series, tickets for the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals between Boston and Vancouver were far more expensive than those for last year’s Spurs/Heat contest in the NBA Finals. This has served to inflate the NHL average a bit. Secondly, the NHL has more Game 7s from later rounds, where overall prices are typically higher. Still, it would appear that NHL fans get more excited for Game 7s than NBA fans. NHL Game 7 tickets have carried a premium of 23.18% over the average price of the other games in each respective series, while the NBA premium is a bit lower at 21.24%.
Undoubtedly, this year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs have really been a treat for fans who love an extended series. Three of the eight first round series ended up going seven games, and fans got to double down in the Conference Semifinals with another three series going the distance. While we won’t see a Game 7 in this year’s NBA Conference Semifinals, the final Game 7 of this year’s NHL Conference Semifinals between Los Angeles and Anaheim is to be decided this evening. Uncharacteristically however, the Kings/Ducks Game 7 carries an average ticket price of just $255 on the secondary market, 3.57% below the series average. This makes it the only NHL Game 7 over the past four seasons selling at a discount to the rest of the series, a feat typically reserved for the NBA where both of the conference semifinal Game 7s over the past four years have both sold at prices below the series average.
It does however seem to be the case that premiums do tend to get squeezed in the conference semifinal round overall. The NHL series to go seven games in the first round this year had an average ticket price of $303.73 and a Game 7 average of $401.56. The resulting Game 7 premium is a rather significant 32.21%. In the second round, tickets from the seven game series have averaged $386.52 on the secondary market, but only $403.53 for Game 7s—a premium of just 4.4%. Some might blame the matchups or teams involved for this phenomenon, but that would be somewhat erroneous seeing as the Rangers and Kings were involved in seven game series in both rounds, and the Canadiens/Bruins matchup in the Conference Semifinals is one of the most storied rivalries in sports. Indeed, while the elevated ticket prices of being another round deep provides a higher starting point that can naturally lead to lower premiums, the conference semifinal round seems to be somewhat of an outlying discount round for Game 7s not just in the NBA, but the NHL as well.
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