All posts by Brian Stacey

Brian Stacey is a longtime tennis fan, often tweeting his thoughts over at @Roddickulous. He still believes that Andy Roddick will win a Wimbledon title and has eternal optimism about US Men's tennis.

Strong ACL Lineup Means High Demand for Tickets

As August progresses towards September, it is time for music fans to say good-bye to all the fantastic summer festivals that took place this past year and begin preparing for the gatherings of the Fall.  And the highlight of the fall season will certainly be the Austin City Limits Music Festival, taking place at Zilker Park October 3rd through the 5th and 10th through 12th.  This will be the second year in a row that ACL Fest will be spread out across two different weekends. With starring acts including Eminem, Pearl Jam, Outkast and many more, demand for Austin City Limits tickets has never been higher.

Photo: AP
Photo: AP

According to TicketCity, the average ticket price for a three-day pass to the first weekend is currently $290, a full $75 higher than last year.  Even more impressive, the average ticket price for a three day pass to Weekend 2 is $280, compared to only $135 last year.  The increase in demand can be for a number of reasons, but many believe this year’s lineup will draw a much more diverse crowd compared to 2013.  Last year’s lineup was headlined by Depeche Mode, Muse, Kings of Leon, Lionel Richie, Arctic Monkeys, and Kendrick Lamar.  This year’s lineup has some huge names that have been popular for decades (the aforementioned Eminem, Pearl Jam, and Outkast) but also many newer acts who have gained much popularity in 2014, such as Chromeo, Iggy Azalea, and Lorde.  Lorde will only be performing during the second weekend, but the overwhelming majority of the bigger acts will be there both weekends.

Currently, the most expensive day this year is Saturday, October 11th, at an average ticket price of $200.  That will be the day Eminem, Skrillex, Lana Del Rey, and Iggy Azalea all hit the stage.  The ACL tickets are the Friday before, October 10th.  For just $105 on average, you’ll be able to see acts such as Outkast, Beck, Foster the People, and Capital Cities.  For the Lorde fans out there, she is preparing for a fall U.S. tour and will only be performing the Sunday of the final weekend, alongside Pearl Jam, Calvin Harris, and Zedd, to name a few.  The average ticket price is $110 for the final day of Austin City Limits.

This will be the thirteenth year of the Austin City Limits Music Festival and it continues to exponentially grow in popularity.  Officials expect crowds of approximately 75,000 individuals each day and covers a wide variety of genres from classic rock to electronic to hip-hop.  It is not unusual for music fans to travel thousands of miles to attend the festival year in and year out.

If this year’s lineup is a hit (which is expected) fans can expect ticket prices to increase yet again increase in 2015.  A couple years from now, it wouldn’t be unbelievable to have the cheapest tickets far exceed $200 for each day.  So if you’re torn between attending this year’s ACL Fest or waiting for future occasions, you may never be able to get a ticket for $105 ever again so make sure to take advantage!

Can the Houston Dynamo Get a Playoff Spot?

Over the weekend, the Houston Dynamo suffered another road defeat, getting shutout by the Columbus Crew 3-0. The Dynamo have managed to win only one road game all season long, the primary reason why they are currently mired in 9th place in the Eastern Conference. They have picked up just seven wins in twenty-four games, losing thirteen times and drawing four matchups. Currently sitting at twenty-five points, the Dynamo will most likely need to come very close to doubling their point total in the final ten games of the season if they wish to make the playoffs in 2014.

Photo: AP
Photo: AP

While fans are rather expectedly frustrated with their recent play, the Dynamo have notoriously finished the season strong. Over the past eight seasons, they have lost more than three games out of their final ten just once. And even in that season (2010) they were able to scratch out 13 points by winning four games and drawing one. In 2008, Houston lost just one of their final ten games, winning five of them and drawing the other four for a total of 19 points. If they can replicate that type of success, they just may be able to sneak in to the 5th and final playoff spot on the Eastern Conference.

Depending upon how these next two or three games go, it’s certainly fair for fans to be cautiously optimistic about the Dynamo’s chances. They’ll play this Friday at Sporting KC before heading back home for two in a row. The first home matchup will be against the Montreal Impact, the line team trailing the Dynamo in the Eastern Conference standings. After that, the Columbus Crew will come to town as Houston seeks revenge after this weekend’s poor showing. The average ticket prices for Dynamo tickets to the Impact game is $30 while just a tick more expensive for the Crew game at $32.

If the Dynamo can find a way to draw against KC and then win the two home games, they’d be sitting at 32 points with seven games to go. From there, just winning out the final three home games and finding a way to get a win or a couple draws on the road would probably be good enough to reach the postseason. The final three home games are against the Chicago Fire on September 28th, D.C. United on October 12th, and the New England Revolution on October 16th. Each game has seen a progressively higher average ticket price on the secondary market at $32, $33, and $34 for each matchup, respectively. Though it’s too early to tell just how the end of this season will play out, expect ticket prices to gradually rise over the next few weeks if the Dynamo can remain in the hunt. A history of strong finishes will keep the fan base on their toes. And with a few newcomers firmly entrenched in the lineup now, it’s within reason to expect Houston to provide their fans with a very exciting finish to the 2014 campaign.

US Open Ticket Demand Up from Last Year

The end of August means only one thing for tennis fans around the United States: the beginning of the U.S. open, the final major of the professional tennis schedule.  Held every year in Flushing Meadows, New York, the U.S. Open has been the scene of some truly tremendous tennis over the past few years.  In 2003, American sensation Andy Roddick won his first (and what would be only major) in thrilling fashion against Juan Carlos Ferrero.  And just two years ago, Andy Murray sent away the demons and won his first major title.  On the women’s side, not much will ever match the 1999 U.S. Open when Serena Williams became the first African-American women to ever win a Grand Slam title, displacing defending champion Lindsey Davenport in the semifinals and World #1 Martina Hingis in the finals.us-open-logo

This year, fans should expect just as much fireworks and excitement as the tournament begins.  In the Men’s draw, there is the notable absence of Rafael Nadal who had to withdraw due to a lingering wrist injury.  On the top half of the bracket, Novak Djokovic will have a potentially very difficult draw with American fan favorite Jon Isner looming before the quarterfinals and then Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka as potential matches in the quarters and semifinals.  That leaves Roger Federer rather uncontested in the bottom half of the bracket.  Though no match is ever a given, Federer must be very pleased that he will avoid several of the game’s best.

For the women, the 2014 U.S. Open looks to be an absolute dogfight.  Anyone looking to get to the finals in the top half of the bracket will need to defeat Serena Williams, a daunting task, especially since she recently played exceptionally at the Western & Southern Open, taking home the title.  Nonetheless, Serena can certainly be beaten and if we had to bet who could do it, Ana Ivanovic and Eugenie Borchard pose the strongest threats to taking her down.  On the bottom half, Maria Sharapova and Caroline Wozniacki figure to be two of the heavy favorites to make a deep run in the tourney.  American favorite Sloane Stephens also lurks as a potential winner.

With so much uncertainty on both men’s and women’s sides, demand for U.S. Open tickets has increased this year compared to last.  Prices for each of the first five sessions are up year-over-year, with the most noticeable increase for Session 5, currently at $93 in 2014, compared to just $74 last year. Of the first five sessions, the cheapest day session this year is Session 3 at $80.  Last year, only Session 1 cracked $80 the first few days, at $83.

A crowded field with many youngsters trying to prove their mettle against the game’s best, along with several stars who have either struggled at times this year or have looked very beatable of late, is a recipe for great tennis and the fans seem to believe as such.  Throw in projected sunshine and mid-80’s temperatures for the first three days and it’s easy to see why 2014 U.S. Open tickets for the first few sessions are so in demand!