As the New York Rangers head to the Stanley Cup finals next week for the first time in 20 years, tickets are reaching heights worthy of the Super Bowl.
Though the average price for a Super Bowl ticket runs slightly higher, at $2,567, getting in the door at a Stanley Cup game may cost just a bit more, according to data compiled by online ticket price comparison site TiqIQ. At $1,573, the minimum ticket price for a seat at the final Stanley Cup game costs $59 more than one for the 2013 Super Bowl.
This year's average minimum is also higher than the one for last year's Bruins versus Blackhawks Stanley Cup battle. Minimum entry to that game was $1,503.39 once tickets hit the aftermarket vendors.
Yet it is probably their return to the finals after an absence spanning two decades that has fans shelling out wads of cash for a seat at the games, said Chris Matcovich, vice president of data and communications for TipIQ.
"I think as far as fan loyalty goes, at least for home games, the Rangers are one of the top teams, right up there with the Green Bay Packers," Matcovich said. "They have a really die-hard fan base that will go and see them whether they are winning or losing."
The Rangers have several days off before starting the Cup finals June 4. They await the winner of the Los Angeles Kings-Chicago Blackhawks series.
The team plays its home games at Madison Square Garden—and New Yorkers tend to have a lot of disposable income, Matcovich said.
Here is a breakdown of how much tickets are currently selling for each game:
The Rangers could have the highest average ticket price for by any team playing a Stanley Cup Final game at home. The Vancouver Canucks are not far behind—tickets for their 2011 Stanley Cup run averaged $2,055.83.
In the U.S., hockey is nowhere near as popular as football and basketball, but passions can run red hot among serious fans, especially in nearby Canada. Riots famously broke out in Vancouver for the first time in decades after the Canucks lost the 1994 Stanley Cup to the Rangers. Canucks fans who shelled out the high prices for the 2011 finals were disappointed again when the team lost to the Bruins. Once again, Vancouver rioted.
TipIQ has only been tracking NHL ticket prices since that year, so the data cannot say for certain whether these are the highest prices ever paid for Stanley Cup Finals tickets. But with inflation and rising demand, there is a good chance they are, Matcovich said.
Prices could drop, as they often do in the final days or hours before an event. But Matcovich does not expect them to fall by much. If the Rangers are trailing in the series going into the sixth game, he expects prices to remain steady or dip only slightly. But if the Rangers are winning, even the cheapest tickets could jump up as high as $2,500.
—By Robert Ferris, Special to CNBC