The pressure is usually on local organizers to fill seats at the Edward Jones Dome when the NCAA Tournament is played in St. Louis. But with this year's second- and third-round games being played at Scottrade Center, the NCAA selection committee may have created a bidding war for tickets.
The placement of No. 1 seed Wichita State, No. 2 Kansas and No. 4 Kentucky in St. Louis means three fanatic traveling fan bases will be converging on the city to compete for the 22,000 seats for games to be played Friday with winners advancing to Sunday.
Wichita State was had approximately 8,000 fans at Scottrade for the Missouri Valley Conference tournament. Kansas fans were estimated to make up 40 percent of the 23,964 fans at a regional game at the Dome in 2012. And Kentucky fans are known to travel in masses and helped set what was then a regional championship record of 42,519 at the Dome in 1999. And that doesn't even take into account the placement of Kansas State in St. Louis.
“I would think with those four, certainly with brand names of Kansas and Kentucky combined with what's been the story in college basketball this year (Wichita State), the demand for tickets will be great,” tournament manager Jack Watkins said.
Making matters worse for fans is that each school receives only 350 tickets for starters with the possibility to sell a maximum of 550. Prior to the announcement of the tournament field, 4,000 tickets remained available for the two Friday sessions and 3,700 for Sunday.
Kansas has been a St. Louis mainstay when it comes to the NCAA Tournament, having played here in 2002, 2004 and 2012, posting a 5-1 record. When the Jayhawks were eliminated in the second round in 2010, failing to reach St. Louis, ticket sales suffered.
Demand from Wichita State is likely to be higher than it was for the MVC tourney after the Shockers received their first No. 1 seed in history.