New Yorkers are so starved for sports glory right now that tickets to a Stanley Cup Finals game involving the long-dormant New York Rangers, have reached astronomical proportions.
New York sports have recently hit a nadir. The usually reliable Yankees missed the playoffs entirely last year and are three-and-a-half games back from the lowly Toronto Blue Jays in the AL East. The Knicks just hired Phil Jackson — a man who personally won 11 NBA Titles in the time since he helped the Knicks win their last one — but so far he has watched as his number one choice for the head coaching vacancy went to another team, and has been fined by the league for tampering. Meanwhile, the Nets live in Brooklyn, the Mets are still the Mets, and the Giants and Jets both fell off the playoff radar.
But no local contingent has suffered more than hockey fans. The Rangers haven't even sniffed the Stanley Cup Finals since Mark Messier led the team to a Cup in 1994. That 20-year drought ends this week, when they play the Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday, in Los Angeles.
That means games will be played in New York City to determine sports championship. This is a big deal now! No non-Yankee team has hosted a championship series game since 2000 (when the Mets lost to the Yankees), and this is the first time in 15 years a team playing at Madison Square Garden made the finals in their respective sport. (The Knicks lost the 1999 NBA Finals to the San Antonio Spurs.) The scarcity of a sports title being contested at MSG means tickets on secondary markets are ballooning to outrageous levels.
In fact, prices are so high for games in New York that people have joked that it's probably cheaper for Ranger fans to fly to Los Angeles, check into a hotel, and buy tickets to a game at the Staples Center than it is to watch Games 3 or 4 at Madison Square Garden. Except, wait: that's not a joke. Bloomberg did some math, and the results are not encouraging:
The average price paid for a resale ticket to Game 3 in New York is $1,626, more than twice the $679 average for a ticket to Game 1 at the Staples Center. Round-trip flights to Los Angeles from Newark, New Jersey, on Travelocity.com, leaving the morning of Game 1 and returning the next day, begin at $490. The website offers a night at the airport Crowne Plaza for $69, meaning the total price for a ticket, flight and hotel would be $1,238. That’s $388 cheaper than the average price paid for an MSG ticket, which could be used for cab fares and food.
This might be the only time in history that flying to L.A. will be considered an affordable option.