Consumer Watch: Sweet 16 pricing


by Andy Treinen

Posted on March 26, 2014 at 4:35 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- We're calling this weekend's NCAA regional round at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis the "Clash of the Commonwealth".

Fans are paying uncommon coin to see it and that's good news for both hotels and scalpers.

If you want a hotel room in downtown Indianapolis over the weekend, be prepared to pay.

"Actually, we got a handful of rooms left but they are very high rates for a two-night stay," Phil Ray, the General Manager of the Marriott Downtown Indianapolis said. 

Sellouts are never certain with NCAA regional action, but this year, it's different.

"There's absolutely no question the match up between the teams are all close enough to drive, but also able to come in for that Friday and Saturday nights has caused incredible demand here in the city," Ray said.

Louisville and Kentucky are both an easy drive to Indy. Tennessee and Michigan will be sending fans on four wheels as well, yet all four are far enough away that fans plan to stay overnight.

Visit Indy's Chris Gahl said that puts rooms at a premium.

"In 2013, our downtown hotels were able to command on average $140 average daily room rate," Gahl said. "This weekend, hotels are generating and creating $250 to even $350 per room per night." 

Ticket prices on the secondary market for the Louisville vs. Kentucky game are more than double what they were for last year's tournament games, Mike Peduto of Circle City Tickets said.

"Right now, it's about $100 a ticket just to get in that evening for the worst seats," Peduto said. 

Peduto also said most buyers are from out of state. Having the Friday-Sunday games helps. Fans from teams that win Friday will head to Indy Saturday, easily filling in for those who leave because their team lost.

"We're looking at sold out hotels, sold out Lucas Oil Stadium, our bars and restaurants jam packed and to the tune of $20 million in estimated economic impact," Peduto said.

Yes, we know it's a heated rivalry, but you may want to partner with a fan from the other school. If Kentucky wins, Cats fans can agree to get additional tickets and hotel rooms from a Cards fan for Saturday and Sunday. If Louisville wins, we're sure there's a Kentucky fan who'd love to have some extra money in their pocket for the ride home.

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