NEW YORK ( MainStreet) -- A championship or a spot in a premier sports event is worth a lifetime's worth of work to those involved, but how much should it be worth to fans?
When a fan's team makes a title run or a fan finally decides to drop money on a marquee sporting event, ticket price is just one item in a steeplechase of obstacles between fans and their tickets to the big show. Jennifer Swanson, spokeswoman for
(LYV - Get Report) resale service TicketsNow, says a championship or premier event is only as pricey as the market dictates.
A lot of factors affect demand for tickets to events such as NBA games. If a major event's ticket looks like a steal, fans should still buy warily.
"Of course, there are many dynamics involved in ticket resale prices for marquee events," she says, citing as examples the teams involved (and those fervent fan bases that will travel), how many games in a series (if it goes to a Game 7), market/event location (Dallas vs. Indy for a Super Bowl), weather (rain at Daytona, hurricane at U.S. Open) and so on. "Just so many factors that come into play when you're talking about demand for event tickets."
After weighing all of those variables, we came up with a quick price comparison of eight of the top events on the sports calendar using data from TicketsNow. If a major event's ticket looks like a steal, fans might want to consider scouting out the location or at least checking their sports sources a few times before splurging:U.S. Open Golf Championship
2011 average ticket price for all days: $134
This is easily the lowest-priced event on our list, but it's a little easier to score tickets to a multiday event in which tickets start out around $50 for practice rounds. The absence of Tiger Woods last year may have driven down prices initially, but Rory McIlroy's record-breaking run to the title made late-round tickets a bargain for anyone lucky enough to get into the galleries at Bethesda for bottom-dollar. Daytona 500
2012 average ticket price: $184
These tickets are a lot costlier under ideal conditions, but went for budget prices this year after rain postponed the start by a day. That's no small change, especially when a race that was supposed to be run on a Sunday when everybody's off gets kicked to Monday, right in the middle of the workday. The residual rain that followed Monday turned out to be a blessing, as the start was pushed from noon to much later in the evening. Waterlogged ticketholders waited a day and a half to watch Matt Kenseth edge out Dale Earnhardt Jr., but we're guessing more than a few folks in the grandstand got a deal as a result.