Categorized | Featured, Manhattan

The Big East Experience: Basketball, Fans and Scalpers

By Kate Nocera, Michael Preston, Collin Orcutt, and Maya Pope-Chappell

Big East Tournament at Madison Square Gardens

Tournament tickets are always a hot item for the Big East Tournament, but they’re harder to come by this year because there was no general public sale.

A change from previous years, tickets were reserved for only the 16 conference schools and were allocated in blocks of 500 to each team. The lack of a public sale has exponentially increased the traffic of online individual ticket sellers, street scalpers, and middleman brokers like

As throngs of fans, bands and teams packed into Madison Square Garden on March 11, many were left out in the cold, including ticket scalpers.  The sounds of buyers and sellers could be heard from 34th Street to 38th street, from 8th Avenue across town to 5th. “Buying tickets? Selling tickets? 60 bucks, 40 bucks, good seats!”

“It’s totally ridiculous,” said Jarryd Knouse, 25, a longtime Syracuse fan who has been attending the tournament for the last eight years. “There are so many people who want to go who can’t, and the ticket prices are totally inflated. I paid $30 last year for awesome seats, and $75 this year for ones that are a quarter as good.”

Knouse said that guaranteeing all the schools tickets lowered the number of seats that would have otherwise been available.

“The extra schools they invited will be out in a day, so that’s 2,000 tickets that are either going to go to waste for the remainder of the conference or are going to be sold illegally.”

Knouse was at the Blarney Rock, across the street from Madison Square Garden, drinking with a few hundred other Syracuse fans before the much- anticipated early round Syracuse and Seton Hall game. He purchased

To see a slide show of the sights on the street the days of the tournament, click on the photo.

his tickets on Craigslist, but was anticipating what would happen the following day.

“If ‘Cuse wins, I will most definitely be out there talking to some scalpers,” he said.

Scalpers huddled for hours outside the bar, attempting to broker quick ticket deals. A scalper, who would only identify himself as Dan, said the quantity of tickets drove up the prices this year.

“A face value of the ticket is around $30, so last year when there were tons of tickets we could sell them at $40 a pop for the first few rounds and still make a profit,” he said. “Now we’re trying to make more money off of fewer tickets, it’s around $60 tonight.”

Syracuse is always a hot ticket because of the large fan and alumni base in New York City, but some local fans hadn’t anticipated the extra difficulties in securing tickets for this year’s tournament.
Others like Bill Jones, made the trip down from upstate New York to Madison Square Garden, with tickets in hand.

“I’ve been a ‘Cuse fan since ’74,” Jones said. “I saw them win in 2003, and we had no problem getting tickets. I got them two weeks ago because I always come see them play, and I paid $30 bucks for them, so I don’t know what everyone is whining about.”

Big East Tournament Fans on Vimeo.