All prices and fees cited here are based on buying two of the least- or most-expensive tickets available during the one-hour time period searched during regular business hours on each date, except where noted below. No coupon codes or discounts were applied. For events where dates and locations had not yet been set at the time of inquiry -- the NBA Finals, Stanley Cup and World Series -- the lowest and highest prices were recorded and included. For purposes of this exercise, however, the only "correct" answers were for ticketed events that actually took place.
The price sample was retrieved on the following dates in 2018:
Super Bowl LII: 1/18, 1/22, 1/31, 2/4*
NCAA Men's Basketball Final: 3/24, 3/31, 4/1, 4/2
Masters: 4/2, 4/4, 4/6, 4/7
Stanley Cup Game 4: 4/6, 5/24, 6/2, 6/4
NBA Finals Game 4: 4/6, 5/7, 6/4/, 6/8
U.S. Open Tennis Men's Final: 8/9, 8/24, 9/7, 9/9
World Series Game 4: 10/19, 10/22, 10/25, 10/27
*Because of the volatility of Super Bowl prices in the 24 hours before the game, prices were retrieved twice on 2/4/18, between 12:30 a.m.-1:30 a.m. CT and 8:30am-9:30am CT.
Reporting by Tisha Thompson
Research by Sachin Dave Chandan
Illustrations by Lobster Studios
All the prices you will find here are real. Nothing is hypothetical, speculative or made up. Outside the Lines spent the past year sampling prices for the most in-demand sporting events from four of the most widely used retail ticket sites. Total prices listed are for two tickets (because who wants to go alone?) and include associated fees. Let's play!
What's the best strategy for buying tickets to the biggest sports events? We shopped in 2018 to find the lowest and highest ticket prices. Pick your event and see if you can find the best deal ... or the most expensive one!
By Tisha Thompson