Fans looking to travel to Detroit to watch Purdue or Butler play Friday afternoon in the men’s NCAA basketball tournament should be prepared to pay at least $600 for a pair of lower-level seats — three times face value — or as much as $3,500 to $6,000 for a pair of midcourt club seats.
Lower-level tickets for the games at Little Caesars Arena on StubHub were selling Tuesday for $290, with the highest cost at $2,985 for midcourt club seats. On Vivid Seats, the cost was $277 for lower-level tickets, up to $1,728 for midcourt seats.
But thanks to their John Purdue Club membership, Joe and Jill Wettschurack of Columbus were able to purchase a pair of tickets for Friday games through the Purdue Ticket Office at face value.
Purdue was allotted 200 tickets by the NCAA, with most going to John Purdue Club members or season-ticket holders.
“That’s hardly any,” Jill Wettschurack said. “But I knew we had a good chance, just because we’ve been in it for so long.”
The Wettschuracks met at Purdue and are both graduates of the school. Their daughter, Kelly Hubbard of Fishers, is also a Purdue grad, and her daughter Hayden Hubbard is a freshman at Lafayette.
Jill Wettschurack said she purchased tickets for Kelly and Hayden Hubbard for about $115 ($145 after fees) on StubHub before the prices went up.
Hotel rates in downtown Detroit were listed online Tuesday for $300 to $400 a night within a mile of the arena.
The Wettschuracks have been to Alaska and Hawaii to see the Boilermakers play and spent their 51st anniversary in November in Cancun to watch them at the beginning of this season. But they’re glad to be able to make a much shorter trip this week, about a five-hour, 325-mile venture to Detroit.
“If it hadn’t have been for Detroit or Nashville, Tennessee, we probably wouldn’t have gone,” Joe Wettschurack said. “Because it’s pretty close, that’s the main reason we decided to go. It’s better than watching on television.”
Purdue grads Bob and Meredith Parker of Columbus have had men’s basketball season tickets for 21 years. All three of their children also are Purdue grads.
Bob Parker noted that if Purdue beats Cal State Fullerton on Saturday, fans might be able to get tickets for Sunday’s second-round matchup cheaper from Cal State Fullerton fans or from fans of the loser of the Butler-Arkansas game.
But even though the Parkers likely won’t be able to attend this weekend or at next weekend’s East Regional in Boston, he has tickets for the Final Four in San Antonio. He applied for tickets online last April through the NCAA website and was notified in late August that they were selected.
“The first time in 38 years if (the Boilermakers) make it, we’ll go to San Antonio,” Bob Parker said. “With Purdue being a good team this year with a legitimate chance of making it, we got excited.”
Tom Weiss, president of the Purdue Alumni Club of Bartholomew County, is in Arizona this week. His hotel does not have TRU-TV, the network cable station that will televise the Purdue and Butler games on Friday afternoon, so he may have to go to a bar to watch or stream it on his computer.
Weiss agreed with Parker that the Boilermakers, the No. 2 seed in the East Region, have a chance to make a deep tournament run this season.
“They have (Isaac) Haas and Vince (Edwards) underneath, and (guard) Carson Edwards is just phenomenal,” Weiss said. “He can create his own shot. If one guy is off, the other guys can pick them up. Hopefully, they can hit their outside shots and not turn the ball over, and they need to rebound and block out.”
Lewis Essex of Columbus and his son Steve also plan to watch Friday’s Purdue game on TV. Lewis Essex was on the Purdue Board of Trustees for 10 years and has had season tickets for about 20 years.
Lisa McHone, a former president and vice president of the Purdue Alumni Club of Bartholomew County, also plans to catch the Boilermakers on TV this weekend.
“We’ve really enjoyed watching Purdue this year,” McHone said. “It’s been a lot of fun, and we hope the season will continue for a few weeks.”
For those who can’t make it to Detriot this weekend, the Purdue and Butler games will be televised on TRU-TV. The Boilermakers play Cal State Fullerton at 12:40 p.m., and the Bulldogs face Arkansas at 3:10 p.m.