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NCAA Tickets Available - For a Price

March 2006 NCAA Tickets

NCAA tickets available - for a price

The Californian
By: JAY PARIS - Staff Writer

SAN DIEGO ---- Before Thursday's NCAA tournament crowd starts shouting, there will be whispers outside Cox Arena.

"Psst, hey buddy, you need a pair?''

For a hoopaholics searching for ducats, it's a sweet question to hear. But will you need a loan to snag two tickets on the secondary market? The face value for a ticket strip for all three sessions at Cox is $55. Good luck finding one at that price on the eve of the six games, especially with the nearby UCLA Bruins among the eight participating squads.

Tickets, though, are available. Just not at the box office where the markup is minimal but the demand is at the maximum.

Procrastinating fans who didn't secure tickets are doing their own reach-in maneuver. First, unleash the button on your back right pants pocket and reach for you wallet.

And no alligator arms, please. Dig deep and say goodbye to numerous dead presidents.

Over at Atlas Tickets, not far from the ipayOne Center ---- where the 1975 Final Four was held when the facility was called the San Diego Sports Arena ---- there are tickets in various locations and price ranges.

For $910, you can rest your backside in Section T, row 24 for all six games. Or $160 gets you in Section B, row 36.

Want a better seat? Go to eBay, where one cent under $2,000 plops you in Section K, row 17 for the first- and second-round games.

Tickets can be located on various Internet sites, which many predict is safer than banking on the honesty of a scalper.

Not only could a naive fan be peddled counterfeit tickets outside the arena, but according to San Diego State officials, it's against university policy to sell them on the grounds.

While ticket brokers are nothing more than legalized scalpers, at least there are options in case the unexpected happens.

And it's not just the local brokers who are doing a brisk business. A site for the Austin, Texas-based TicketCity was moving San Diego product.

Zach Anderson, TicketCity's vice president of marketing, said fans are better served going through brokers, especially those such as his company, which belongs to the Better Business Bureau On Line.

"The primary reasons to use a broker are reliability and service,'' said Anderson, whose top San Diego ticket sells for $1,250. "Today, there are numerous sources (eBay, Craigslist, street hustlers) where you can find tickets, but very few that will stand by their product.

"Too often, we hear horror stories from customers who bought fake tickets, were never shipped tickets, et cetera. And almost every time the punch line to these stories is that they had no recourse when the problems occurred."

Anderson estimates TicketCity has supplied tickets for more than 90,000 customers in 16 years. And while no company is perfect dealing in the unpredictable world of scalping, Anderson said seldom have commitments not been met.

"The few times we could not, we worked with our clients to make sure they were satisfied,'' he said. "That level of assurance is worth paying a little extra for. Unfortunately, some people find that after they've already had a bad experience with buying tickets in some other manner.''

If just wanting tickets for a single session ---- two games in each dose; two sessions on Thursday, one on Saturday ---- they are more reasonable.

A peek at Internet sites reveals a ticket going for $175 for Thursday's opening games between Marquette-Alabama and UCLA-Belmont.

One tip worth noting is waiting until Thursday's first session is kaput. With two teams being eliminated Thursday, more ducats become available as disappointed fans head home.

That could send some heading to their credit card stash. If you're scratching your head later when the bill arrives, the ticket is just writing it off to March Madness.

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