Taking Things At Face Value

When Minnesota made it to the championship game last year in St. Paul, Minn., fans from all over the state descended upon the Xcel Energy Center trying to score a very hot ticket. Some lower-bowl seats sold for as much as $500 apiece.

The NCAA even printed Minnesota’s anti-scalping law on the back of last year’s tickets. Not so this year, even though New York has an anti-scalping law of its own.

Ticket activity across from HSBC Arena two hours before Saturday's final (photo: Ed Trefzger).

Ticket activity across from HSBC Arena two hours before Saturday’s final (photo: Ed Trefzger).

With Cornell, the nearest Frozen Four team, eliminated, tickets were going for face value on the street two hours before game time.

“I’m looking for four tickets,” shouted one fan — dressed in a Boston College replica jersey — as he approached the crosswalk across from HSBC Arena.

“I’ve got four extras — a buddy of mine backed out on me,” replied a man in a blue windbreaker and Yankees hat.

“How much,” asked the BC fan.

“Oh, I just want what I paid for them. Forty bucks each — that’s one-sixty total.”

“Cool. That’s great. Thanks!” They made the transaction. The man selling the tickets shoved the cash in his jeans pocket, and simultaneously pulled four more tickets out of his jacket.

A short while later, a guy in a bright yellow jacket approached the man with the Bronx Bombers’ lid, and asked him if he had tickets he needed to get rid of.

“Sure,” he replied. “Forty bucks each.”

The man in the yellow jacket noticed that the other fellow had several more tickets in his pocket. “Oh,” he said. “You’re working this too. Sorry. How much did you get those for?”

“I bought about two dozen yesterday for ten bucks each. Mostly from Cornell fans,” said Yankee hat.

“Me too,” replied yellow jacket. “I got a bunch outside the hotel yesterday.”

Transactions were taking place in plain sight — although apparently not on the radar screen — of Buffalo police.

Few, if any, of the transactions appeared to be conducted according to New York law, which has a list of requirements for ticket resale: the price must be no more than five dollars or ten percent above face value; each ticket must have its established price printed on its face; the seller must post a price list and provision a receipt upon a purchaser’s request; the seller must post its operating license or certificate; the seller must collect sales tax; and the seller must keep a record of the transaction for two years.

Even Saturday, scalpers were looking to strike a deal. A couple of blocks from the arena, a man stood on the sidewalk trying to buy tickets and make the same killing as the other scalpers. He offered $10 for tickets, too, but didn’t seem to be doing much business.