Big East Season Ticket Prices For 2023 Season

After diving into a decade’s worth of Big East financials this summer, it made me curious to see how those schools got their individual revenue numbers. That is the stuff no one other than a handful of bigwigs and bookkeepers will let loose, so I had to go foraging once more through the most prominent source of college basketball revenue, season tickets.

Having pulled up all these numbers, I thought I’d put them into one place for the world to be able to reference, if they want to nerd out like me.

Before you get all up in arms about any particular seat section and how much you personally are paying, remember that I’m taking incomplete data from buildings that have much different sizes.

Carnesecca seats 5k total, that’s less than one side of the lower bowl at Fiserv. As such it’s not fair at all to compare ticket prices. Still, knowing that there won’t be a ton of like for like similarities across 11 schools in very different markets, this is still a useful measure overall to be able to gauge what the average for these Big East schools looks like. So I went digging through every school’s season ticket pages and pulled out the data to try and synthesize it.

(Note: Villanova did not have publicly available numbers for The Finneran Pavilion and only had 2021 data for Wells Fargo, which only featured 3 games. I had to make some rough estimates here for them.)

Big Picture

With those caveats in mind, take a look at what my interpretation of season tickets cost on average across the Big East.

The biggest challenge here was combining the different size price tiers. For example, Seton Hall only has 5 tiers for their season at the Rock while Marquette has a record 23 tiers at Fiserv. I settled on the average, which was 11, so that meant using averages in some sections for teams with more than 11 tiers.

What we can say with relative certainty is that it’s quite expensive to go watch a season’s worth of games.

Outliers

Without listing every tier for every school (you have Google for that), here’s a few sections that stood out to me.

The most expensive tickets in the Big East are the first row of courtside seats for Marquette, which each cost $12,723.20 including donation, taxes and fees. (Using the Ticketmaster site, 54 of these 70 have been sold already). The 2nd row of sideline courtside seats at Fiserv alone would be the more expensive than all but 3 other teams at $7,602.13. All of this is to say, the support from the whales at MU is exemplary. For further reference, DePaul had the cheapest courtside front row seats at $3,150.    

One other outlier from Marquette are the non-courtside front rows of sideline seats, where there are 198 premium seats to be had, all over $5K. No other school was over $3K, with Nova ($3K) and UConn ($2,950) being the closest.

Speaking of UConn, they took the crown for most expensive sideline lower bowl seats in the upper sections, averaging $2,950 when you combine the Gampel and XL Center packages. Xavier was the next closest at $1600 for this tier.

Of the schools that have upper decks, only Villanova’s projection was into 4 digits, but again, that’s for a full season at Well’s Fargo, which isn’t really a thing. UConn once again takes the top prize with upper deck sideline seats averaging $768.

The cheapest seats for basically every level or section are at DePaul.

Cheapest courtside: $2,925
Cheapest upper Sideline: $540
Cheapest lower corner: $360
Cheapest upper corner: $360
Cheapest upper deck sideline: $270
Cheapest upper deck corner: $180

And yet the Blue Demons only averaged 3,256 fans per game, the fewest in the conference by over 1,700 a game. Plenty of room for improvement.

Student Tickets

Because there’s no resource for this, I also went ahead and rounded up the season ticket prices for each school’s students. For the 2022-’23 season, 7 teams will offer “free” tickets for their students: DePaul, Villanova, UConn, Creighton, Xavier, St. John’s, and Butler. I put free in quotes because nothing in college is free, and some sort of athletic or general fee is applied to the entire undergrad population to cover the expense. But still, if a student at one of those 7 schools wants to attend games, there is no financial transaction needed at that time, but some sort of portal or lottery system instead.

(One note here, St. John’s tickets are free at Carnesecca, but cost $15 per ticket at MSG, though they are not sold in a bulk package but a game by game basis.)

Of the 4 schools that do charge for tickets, Seton Hall has the highest price at $150 followed by Marquette at $140, Georgetown at $99 and Providence at $75. One caveat would be that both Hall and Georgetown offer incentives for rebates (such as attendance), so that not all students will end up paying the full price.  

As seen in the chart above, there is a fairly wide range in how many seats students are allotted. This is where Marquette regularly selling out its student block becomes so darn impressive. Not only are ticket prices the 2nd highest in the conference, the size of that section is also the biggest by a decent margin for any that aren’t free.

(One note: not all schools release the exact numbers so estimates were used for UConn, Creighton, St. John’s and Villanova.)   

Conclusions

With the 2nd highest average attendance, 3rd biggest home arena and elite price points for prime seats, it’s much clearer to see exactly why Marquette is always near the top of the country from a revenue perspective.

Here is the full data for anyone curious.

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Categories: Analysis

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