My quest for the Big Ticket | Red's Army - The Voice of Boston Celtics Fans
Red's Army

My quest for the Big Ticket


(thx Andreas for the pic)

When the NBA announced that the Boston Celtics would be opening the 2010-11 season against the Miami Heat, I thought, "man that's gonna be exciting!" Then my next thought was, "those ticket prices are going to be ridiculous." And sure enough, they are. The Celtics posted on their website that tickets would go on sale at 11am on Friday Sept.17th. I talked to a few friends and coworkers, and we all pretty much had the same idea. We would get on a laptop and/or desktop, and also start calling the toll-free number right before 11am.

Well, I logged-on to the Celtics website around 10:55am, and at 11:07am, I was told their were no seats (not even a single) available for the Opening Night game. A coworker told me that she got through at 11:04am and also got the message that "no tickets" were available for the 10/26 game vs the Miami Heat.

My final chance at getting something directly through the C's (Ticketmaster) would be by calling their toll-free number. Well, I finally got through to the automated system at about 11:10am and you guessed it: nothing available. For those wondering, the reason it is so crucial to get tickets for marquee games like this directly through the team is the price. A decent Loge seat via the Celtics website will run you about $100. Ticket resellers will jack that price up by double, or even more sometimes.

Some of you are probably saying to yourselves; "what did you expect?" or "it's like this every year."

Granted, I did know that the demand would be crazy, but I still thought that if maybe I got through quickly enough, I could at least score myself 1 seat. I was lucky enough to get one that way for Game 4 of last year's NBA Finals.

So now I would have to wait until a couple of weeks later when season-ticket holders got their tickets and started to place ads on Craigslist, or sell them through resellers like StubHub, Ace and the like. But before resorting to those usually overpriced markets, I would try TicketExchange.

TicketExchange is a safe, legal way for Celtics season-ticket holders to sell their tickets to games they cannot attend or simply want to unload. For some of the non-marquee games, you can even find seats for under face-value. Being that their are 41 home games, most people have to skip at least 2 or 3 for work, family, etc. For each Celtics home game, their are always at least 10 or so listings for tickets on TicketExchange.


But not for Opening Night 2010. Not one single seat anywhere in the Garden. That in itself tells you just how hyped-up this game is, and just how bad Celtics fans want to be there.

So to make a long-story short, I ended up having to go through one of the overpriced ticket resellers. Out of the 3 (2 local 1 national) sites I browsed, the average price for a "nosebleed" or "cheap seat" was roughly $210. If you wanted to get something in the lower or "Loge" area, you'd be talking at least $400. One site actually has a listing from some greedy jerk trying to sell his or her courtside seats for $33,000 a ticket.. I cannot begin to tell you just how much that makes me want to vomit. 

I debated with friends and other fans, and was on the fence for a while. I finally decided to buy a lower seat using a recent bonus I received at work. This Opening Night at the Garden is going to be exciting I believe, and I want to be there. Lebron is looking for revenge for last year's early exit at the hands of the C's, and our boys in green want to remind everyone who the defending Eastern Conference Champions are.

So if you're like me, and decide that you just have to be there, browse the sites, watch out for scammers, and remember that the closer to game night you wait, the less tickets will be, and you'll actually have the ball in your court (pun totally intended). Scalpers outside the Garden know that as tip-off approaches, they have to unload their tickets or risk eating them.

Rafi Mohammed, a "pricing strategy consultant" has a great post on the Harvard Business Review's website about bartering with scalpers and resellers to get yourself some great seats for less cash.

Well, my ticket arrived in the mail today folks, and despite my wallet being a little lighter, I am still very excited for next Tuesday when the quest for Banner18 resumes!

(tip of the hat to Shawna for some of the ticket price info)


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  • Larry Legend

    You don’t do Club Green? I got tix for my folks because they go on presale before the public does. I’m also coming up in Dec for the Denver game and got tix for that game. Only reason why I did the Club Green was because of the presale. Maybe something to keep in mind for next year. I got loge for opening for my folks.

  • Yes-Club Green is a good option. I honestly just underestimated the demand and thought I’d at least get one decent seat through the release in Sept…

  • greenbeand

    1 week till tip off

  • Yessir! Thank God-this has been a long offseason..

  • Mileke

    Yeeee ! This Has Been A Long Waited Offseason, Im Lookin Forward To The Celtics Bein Extremely Hungry Nd Get This Banner #18 ! Lets Go Celticsssss !

  • fick

    I absolutely cannot wait for this game. Booked my ILPBB subscription this morning, got the day off for the game and our 2008 banner is hanging in our living room. We’re all set. Roll on the 26th (well, 27th)!!

  • Jon with no H

    the other side to the ticket resale website option is I got tix for 4th row balcony for the Jazz in January for cheaper than the Celtics (Ticketmaster) were selling for the same section last row.
    last year I got tix for the 2nd game of the season against the Bulls off the same site in August for cheaper than similar seats from Ticketmaster.
    for marquee games, you’re obviously not going to get a deal but you can do very well for yourself by avoiding Ticketmaster for the less popular/under the radar opponents, especially if you’re buying months in advance before people realize the opponent is better than they thought

  • Larry Legend

    And it was only $40 bucks I went with the cheap option but figured it’d probly be cheaper than having to pay for ticketstub or something like that. I got them as a gift for the folks so I was looking for the least expensive option plus I got this cool little Club Green

  • You sure are dedicated KWAPT. And you’re right, I haven’t seen this much hype since our first official game with KG. This one I think will be bigger.
    I honestly have thought about selling my game 1 seats (front row balcony) to rake in some extra cash, but come on I can’t miss this game!!! Same with playoff tickets. I could make HUNDREDS of extra bucks but I have never done it once. Just can’t do it!
    And one thing I think you are incorrect about:
    You said people miss 2-3 games because of work, family etc. I can tell you that I only have a HALF season and I usually end up missing double that. Perhaps I’m not as dedicated as most but it is REALLY hard to get to all the games.

  • P

    If you HAVE to be at all the premium games then buy season tickets. Nobody should really complain that they cant walk up off the street and buy tickets to the Heat and Lakers games.

  • Fick-sorry for my ignorance, but when the games tip-off here in America at 7:30pm, what time is that for you in Australia?

  • Yeah Matty, it really is hard to make all the games. Some nights after a long day at work I just don’t want to deal w/traffic or am really exhausted and prefer to catch the game on the tube.

  • Paul

    I sold my tickets (7th row balcony). I’ve been to every home opener for the past 7-8 years but decided to skip this one. It’s hyped because of the competition. We’re not getting championship rings before the game; this isn’t the first game with KG/Allen. I just didn’t see a reason to turn down the money. I’ll gladly sell this game and go to a few dozen after this for free.

  • fick

    No apologies needed, KWAPT. 🙂 7:30pm your time is 10:30am (the next day) my time. Hence why I needed the day off work. The other half is even getting in on the act.. She’s about to embark on a baking frenzy – Cupcakes, cookies.. all in green and shaped like shamrocks! lol.

  • fick

    Who’s complaining? It’s just KWAPT detailing what he went through to secure a ticket. Relax dude.

  • That is awesome! Enjoy  ;D