Plenty of good seats available at the Staples Center last year. - Stephen Dunn
If you're heading to Las Vegas for the Pac-12 Tournament this week and don't have your tickets yet, plan on spending a pretty penny for those ducats -- and don't plan on getting a great seat.
One of the presumed reasons for the Pac-12 Tournament moving from Los Angeles to Las Vegas is that Larry Scott and the school presidents got tired of looking at all those fans dressed up as empty seats over the 11 years the event was held in the cavernous Staples Center. It became an embarrassment for the conference.
Following the lead of the Mountain West and West Coast conferences, each of whom already hold successful tournaments in Las Vegas, Scott took the tournament to a destination location in the hopes of luring more fans. And a cursory look at the tickets that are still available indicates that it has worked.
As of Monday night, the best "all-session" ticket you could get at the Pac-12's ticket site was in the second level on the sideline, about halfway between midcourt and the baseline -- nothing on the first level whatsoever if you want to buy all your tickets in one fell swoop.
Your options aren't much better if you just want to buy your tickets by the session -- there are only scattered singles available on the first level for the first four sessions, which cover all the games in the first two days, and there are no seats at all on the first floor for the semifinals and championship.
However, if you're on your way to the tournament and haven't yet bought tickets -- or if you're wondering about using those airline miles for a last-minute trip -- you can still get in. It's just going to cost you: Those second level all-session tickets will go for between $250 and $340 from Ticketmaster. (Or, about $22 to $31 a game.)
If you're not interested in catching all the games and maybe just want to follow the Cougs as far as they make it, A single session ticket will cost you anywhere from $34 for cheapest seats in sessions 1 and 2 on Wednesday to $84 for the best seat you can still buy to the championship on Saturday.
Then, of course, there's the secondary market. There appear to be some nice deals available on TiqIQ for Wednesday's sessions, but the rest look to be at about face value. The advantage there is that you might actually be able to get the decent seat that you're looking for if you're not entirely budget conscious.
Additionally, if you've ever been to one of these tournaments, you know tickets will come on the market as teams are eliminated and fans lose interest in attending any more games. If you're needing to do this on a budget, tracking down tickets by session in that fashion is probably the way to go.
For those of us who can't go, though, we do have this to look forward to: The atmosphere in the building through the eye of our television sets or computers should be respectable for the first time in a decade.