Teams are often a symbol of their cities character. After one of the worst tragedies in Boston’s history, The Bruins improbable run to the Stanley Cup Finals seems a reflection the city’s unyielding will to overcome, and advance.
If the Bruins bring back the Stanley Cup for the second time in three years, they would have ascended to glory in a playoff run that will forever be synonymous with #BostonStrong.
This collective quest for transcendence is making Stanley Cup ticket prices in Boston very expensive.
It is also defying the trend of lower-priced tickets for teams that have been crowned champs within the previous 5 years.
The average price for Bruins tickets at TD Garden is $1,380, or 29.7% above prices for their 2011 Stanley Cup victory– their first in 29 years. The discount for recently-crowned champs is not an exact science, and there are exceptions along the way, but generally speaking, winning it all has the effect of lowering demand, and prices, over the next few years.
The 2013 Blackhawks are more typical of that pattern. The average price of Blackhawks tickets at United centre this year are down 26% from their Stanley Cup 2010 average price.
Over the last decade, there’s been lots of research around the link to sports and happiness, and as a fan I’ve experienced much of it. Fans are happier, the simple logic dictates, because they have a common cause to unite them to others, often with the help of alcohol.
When your team wins it all, it’s as if you–and all the time and money you’ve invested in this team–have also won. There’s even a psychological term to describe this called BIRG-ing. BIRG-ing stands for Basking In Reflected Glory, and if you’ve ever been to a sporting event, you’ve either seen BIRG-ing (We Won!) or it’s sad sister CORF-ing. (They Lost…)
In 2013, the Bruins have overcome a lot to get to the finals, and there’s been a lot of BIRG-ing along the way in Boston. In such a defining year for the city, just getting to the finals will be remembered with fondness for years to come. The situation recalls 2001 when the Yankees beat the 102-win A’s and the 116-win Mariners to advance to the first post-911 World Series.
It proved to be one of the most dramatic World Series ever and was won in walk-off fashion, albeit not with the storybook ending of a Yankees win. It ended with a bloop single over a drawn-in infield, and a walk off world series win for the Arizona Diamondbacks. As a native New Yorker and lifelong Yankees fan myself, the loss was stunning, and hard to believe.
How could they have lost this year…of all years?! In the moments afterwards, though, there was some consolation in knowing that the whole country was– perhaps for the first and last time–rooting for my Yankees. It was loss I shared with almost every sports fan.
This year, the fourth-seeded Bruins are also underdogs to hoist the Cup, but even after their game one win, the BlackHawks certainly know that they’re up against more than just a team.
They’re up against the country, and even if the Bruins don’t win, a lot of people will have paid thousands of dollars for the hope of experiencing a BIRG unlike any other in Boston’s history.
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