RYAN BAKKEN: Despite inflated ticket prices, Sioux fans flock to St. Paul
ST. PAUL -- Bryan Seeley knew someone who knew someone who is the top executive of a Twin Cities bank that has a suite at the Xcel Energy Center. As a UND alum, the bank exec wanted Fighting Sioux fans to have first dibs on the suite for the Froz...
ST. PAUL -- Bryan Seeley knew someone who knew someone who is the top executive of a Twin Cities bank that has a suite at the Xcel Energy Center. As a UND alum, the bank exec wanted Fighting Sioux fans to have first dibs on the suite for the Frozen Four.
So, Seeley, a Fargo resident, went on bended knee to wife Traci, seeking consent to buy two tickets for both days for a total of $800.
"I told him 'no' because it was too much money and we didn't even know if the Sioux would be in it," Traci said. "It was way back in July."
Then, on the sly, she bought the tickets as a 10th anniversary present for her husband.
"She is the best wife in the world," Bryan said Thursday afternoon at UND's pre-game party that attracted more than 2,000 fans, 99.99 percent of them dressed in jerseys.
"Talk about confidence."
Confidence was the required trait to land tickets at face value. There were plenty of Frozen Four tickets available for those who purchased tickets before the post-season playoffs. But most fans didn't want to take the risk of eating the tickets if the Sioux were bounced in the regional.
The waffling meant paying more this weekend.
Dave Werth and Chris Noah of Fargo spent $250 each on StubHub for Thursday's tickets. "Our problem is that we don't have tickets for Saturday's game yet," Werth said.
The NCAA was selling only a two-day package, with tickets for the two semifinal games and the championship costing a total of $195 no matter where the seat was located. So, they spent slightly more than double the listed price, which was pretty common for others who purchased tickets online.
"It's worth it," said Noah, the son of former UND hockey great John Noah. "I can cross the Frozen Four off my bucket list."
It was obviously worth it to Werth, too, because he passed on a free trip to this week's Masters golf tournament. "Amazing, huh?" Werth said, almost in disbelief.
While most UND fans at the pre-game party were cheering for WCHA partner Minnesota-Duluth, Werth was a Notre Dame rooter.
"We don't have a Saturday ticket yet," he said. "If Duluth loses, there will be plenty of tickets. If Duluth wins, it will be a lot tougher ticket."
And, a lot more expensive, given the law of supply and demand, largely driven by those wearing green-and-white and occasionally black. Although they may be cautious, Sioux fans are industrious about finding tickets. Some of it is experience, with the fifth Frozen Four appearance in seven years.
Most fans are left to their own devices because each of the four schools receives only 600 tickets. At UND, half of them went to the more generous givers in the Fighting Sioux Club. Another 170 went to family members of the team's coaches, players and staff and to former players. The rest were distributed to the likes of administrators, the alumni association and higher education board members, Athletic Director Brian Faison said.
"I know we could have sold more than 8,000 tickets," Faison said. "We probably had more than 10,000 fans at the WCHA Final Five.
"This has to be the most expensive ticket in the history of this tournament."
Although the high demand is partly due to Minnesota-Duluth being only a few hours away, the main reason is the presence of UND's road warriors.
"At the reception here for the four teams, they showed video highlights of the regionals," Faison said. "They had 16 crowd shots on the video, and 15 of them were of our fans. The reason is that our fans are the only ones who travel."
Vince, a scalper who didn't want to give his last time, knew of the reputation. He was positioned outside the entrance to the fan fest with an envelope bulging with tickets.
"This is where the demand is," he said. "We were happy when North Dakota made it here."
Reach Bakken at (701) 780-1125; (800) 477-6572, ext. 125; or send e-mail to email@example.com .