NHL Playoffs: Rangers-Flyers Match-up Most Expensive First Round Ticket

The NHL playoffs are finally here! Tonight the rivalry playoff match-up between the Rangers and Flyers kicks off and the series is already breaking records as the most expensive in the First Round of the playoffs. The fact that these teams haven’t met in the postseason since 1997, coupled with an intense rivalry, means the average price for a ticket to a game is $199. That’s 45% more than the league average for a ticket to a First Round playoff game.

stanleycup_playoff_vs_image_tampa_bay1Rangers fans are really the driving force behind this trend as they head into the series with a bit of an edge having secured home ice-advantage. Ticket prices for games played at MSG vs. Wells Fargo are on average 80% higher. This indicates that Rangers fans will be in strong attendance at home, a fact that doesn’t bode well for the Flyers, who have lost 8 straight games at MSG. Additionally, Game 5 is the most expensive of the series, when the Rangers return home to MSG after two away games. With an average ticket price of $256, Game 5 is also the most expensive First Round playoff game in the league.

This will be the 11th time these rivals meet in the postseason, and Philadelphia has won six of the first 10 meetings, including the last three.  This season both teams overcame sluggish starts to reach the playoffs, but they’re both clicking now. Game 1 will be important to the Rangers as they look to get off on the right foot against their long-time rival, so tune in tonight at 7pm ET as the series begins.

Maple Leafs Rank #1 For Best Fans Second Year in a Row

When we released our study of the “Most Engaged” Fan Bases in the NHL post-lockout last season, the results definitely sparked some debate.  Everyone has an opinion about who are the best and worst fans in the league, and that’s why we’ve taken a data-driven approach to rank the team’s that do the best at engaging their fans both online and offline.  We look at things like game attendance, social media following and ticket demand to determine the final ranking.

Based on the study, we found the NHL has seen huge growth in their communities on social media post last season’s lockout.  In fact, the average growth rate in Twitter followers for the league was 56%, with some teams like the Maple Leafs and Blackhawks nearly doubling their follower base over the course of the season. The official Facebook communities for each franchise also experienced growth, although not as extreme (+22% increase in likes).

Who were the “winners”? Coming off a championship year, the Blackhawks made one of the most dramatic jumps in the league, climbing from #7 to #3 on the list.  The Bruins also increased their rank from #4 to #2, as a New England region that had been rocked by tragedies rallied around the Bruins during their Stanley Cup run.

And of course, there’s no ignoring the Leafs, who now hold the #1 spot for the second consecutive year. Despite a 46 year championship drought, the Maple Leafs hold the #1 or #2 spot in the league for the most Twitter followers, highest average attendance, and most expensive ticket on the secondary market (average ticket price is $191).

Check out the graphic below to find out where your team ranks, and let us know if the comments if you agree!

best and worst nhl fan bases

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Basketball, Basketball, Basketball…. and Hockey

It’s time for the NBA to shine, now that the Super Bowl has come, gone, and disappointed most of us. Bring on another 7-game NBA Finals to get us out of this funk, basketball. This week has a slew of good match ups, but not ones you would have been excited about before this year. With the emergence of the Pacers as the NBA’s best team (by record, at least) and the Trail Blazers, Rockets and Suns heading for the playoffs, we’re getting some exciting non-traditionally contests.

Oh, and there’s quite a bit of good hockey this week as well.

Boston Bruins vs. Vancouver Canucks
Tuesday, 7PM @ TD Garden, Boston, MA

These two teams still don’t like each other

It’s been a couple years since the fantastic Canucks/Bruins Stanley Cup Finals, eventually won by Boston, but the there’s still no love lost here. While Vancouver is fighting for one of the last playoff spots in the West, the Bruins are cruising with the second best point total in their conference. A loss at home for Boston would be a bit embarrassing, while the Canucks need something to get them going.

Portland Trail Blazers vs. Indiana Pacers
Friday, 7PM @ Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN

Two of the new titans of basketball

The Trail Blazers and Pacers have become two of the best teams in the NBA, led by some young stars that could be the faces of the league sooner rather than later. Paul George (pictured above) burst onto the national scene during last year’s playoffs, when he went basket-for-basket with Lebron James. Damian Lillard was named NBA Rookie of the Year in 2013 after putting up 19 ppg while never missing a game. Lamarcus Aldridge, Roy Hibbert, Nick Batum… you’ve got to believe these two teams could be taking the torch from the Heat and Spurs very soon, if they haven’t already.

Michigan Wolverines vs. Iowa Hawkeyes
Saturday, 2 PM @ Carver-Hawkeye Arena, Iowa City, IA

Can Michigan rebound from a loss to Indiana?

It’s the best college basketball matchup of the weekend, as #10 Michigan takes on #17 Iowa in Iowa City. The Wolverines took a beating from Indiana recently, but were about to best the Hawkeyes a few weeks ago in Ann Arbor. Iowa lost an overtime thriller to Michigan State, but have gotten back on track with a 81-74 win over the Illini. This game could have Big Ten title implications, and a win for the Wolverines will set the stage for a huge contest with the Spartans on March 6.

Don’t Miss a Thing

Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Portland Trail Blazers
Tuesday, 7 PM @ Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, OK 

KD is a favorite for NBA MVP this season.

Current 2nd and 3rd in the Western Conference, this is an intriguing match up. A win could move someone into 1st place, and the way Kevin Durant has been playing, most bets might be on the Thunder. KD threw up 54 points last week, but LaMarcus Aldridge and Damain Lillard might be even better than the Durant-Westbrook combo.

Montreal Canadiens vs. Pittsburgh Penguins
Wednesday, 7 PM @ Consol Energy Center, Pittsburgh, PA

Crosby leads the league in points, and it’s not even close

The Penguins sit in 1st place in the Eastern Conference, while the Habs are in fourth. A big win in Pittsburgh could give the Canadiens the confidence they need to start climbing that ladder to secure home ice advantage in the playoffs. Montreal is strong defensively and kill 85.6% of power plays, so Crosby and Malkin will have their hands full.

Australian Open Men’s Single Semifinals
Friday, 2:30 AM @ Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia

Oh, the possibilities.

The Australian Open. While we aren’t quite sure who will be playing in the semifinals quite yet, you can bet it will be at least one of these two legends. All but one of the top eight seeds have made the quarterfinals, and with a Rafa-Roger semifinal possibly looming, it’s worth making up early for (or going to, if you’re lucky enough to live in Australia).

Michigan vs. Michigan State
Saturday, 7 PM @ Breslin Center, East Lansing, MI

No love lost in this matchup

In the only game of the weekend featuring two ranked teams, the #21 Wolverines are looking to knock off #3 Michigan State on their home court. Last year the Spartans demolished their rivals 75-52 at the Breslin Center, but then lost a nail-biter in Ann Arbor 58-57.

San Antonio Spurs vs. Miami Heat
Sunday, 1 PM @ American Airlines Arena, Miami FL

The shot that cost the Spurs their 5th title

The Spurs lost a heartbreaking 2013 NBA Finals to the Heat, and this will be the first time the two meet since Game 7.  San Antonio is in first place once again, while the Heat trail only the Pacers in the East. You can bet the American Airlines Arena will be packed to capacity, and the Spurs would love nothing more than to silence the Miami fans.

The Strongest Big Four Fan Bases in 2013

As we look back at the world of professional sports in 2013, TicketCity’s newest study ranks the big four fan bases that had the biggest impact last year.  Using an algorithm based on  social media metrics, game attendance and ticket demand we’ve identified the MLB, NBA, NHL and NFL fan bases that were the most active and most vocal in 2013, whether they were at the game or supporting their team on social media.

The data used in the study is based on the 2013 season, with data for NHL accounting for the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons. To control for factors that influence ticket prices, including total number of games played & stadium size, average ticket price was scored based on the league average.

Without further ado, here are the Top 10 Strongest Big Four Fan Bases in 2013.  The full ranking of every team can be found here.  Do you agree with where your favorite team stacked up? Do the Lakers really belong at the top? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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