When it comes to ratings in the States, the NHL is gaining some ground but is still miles away from catching its seasonal counterpart, the NBA. A lot more eyeballs will be watching the Spurs and Heat on TV than the Rangers and Kings.
But when it comes to watching the games in person? Well the Stanley Cup Final is simply crushing the NBA Finals. Helped in part by being in two massive markets, Los Angeles and New York -- especially New York -- have incredibly high demand for tickets, pushing prices skyward and outpricing the NBA tickets by a mile.
Forbes has more of the details:
According to online ticket price aggregator TiqIq.com, the average online asking price for the Stanley Cup Final is $1,926, a 28 percent jump from the record set last year when Chicago defeated Boston in six games (this year's figure is based on current asking prices for all seven games, so a shorter series could ultimately reduce the average -- but even the $1,785 average for the first six games beats last year by almost $300 a game). Not surprisingly, New York is the bigger driver of ticket demand -- the prices for games three, four and six at Madison Square Garden average out to $2,354. That's would also be a record, beating out the single-team high of $2,011 set by the Vancouver Canucks in 2011.
Meanwhile, this year's 2.0 version of Spurs-Heat isn't drawing the same interest as last year's original, an intense seven game showdown won by Miami. According to TiqIq.com, the average online asking price for this year's NBA Finals is $865, an 11 percent drop from last season and less than half what hockey scalpers are getting. The asking prices for the three games in Miami currently average $927, which would make 2014 the third-cheapest of Miami's four straight Finals appearances, beating out only the $788 average of 2012, when the Heat beat Oklahoma City.
There is a bit to chew on there. First is obviously the comparison to the NBA, which is awfully flattering for the NHL. But this shouldn't be a terribly big surprise because as we all know, nothing quite matches watching hockey live at the arena, it translates to in-person viewing better than any other sport.
Let's step away from that comparison, though, and just keep the focus on the NHL here. The fact that New York is on pace to have higher ticket prices than Vancouver is a large testament to the fans in New York City and the power of the Rangers. The fact that this Final is also above last year's mega matchup of Boston vs. Chicago is another tremendous ode to NYC the hockey town.
It also makes you wonder what on earth people would pay in Toronto if the Maple Leafs ever make it to the Final.
One way the officials at Stubhub put it is that it would be cheaper to fly to Los Angeles and attend a Kings home game than stay in New York and watch a game at MSG. That's not necessarily a dig at LA either, their prices are high, it's just a sign of how costly MSG is for this series.
Even with the presence of a non-traditional market in LA -- even though it has had an NHL team going back to the 1960s -- this Final is producing a ton of buzz, which is great obviously for ticket sales but the game as a whole. The dream matchup had to be New York vs. Chicago for the NHL but this one is already shaping up pretty nicely for the league as well.