The New York Rangers and Los Angeles Kings—from the nation's two biggest media markets—will face off in the NHL's Stanley Cup finals this week, and the big-market matchup means a big premium on ticket prices.
The last time the two markets competed for a major sports title was in 1981, when the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the New York Yankees in the World Series. (Stanley Cup ticket prices had already soared this year when the Chicago Blackhawks were still in the running.)
Rangers fans—who haven't seen their team play in the Stanley Cup finals since 1994, when the record 54-year championship drought ended—can expect to pay an average price of $2,424.64 for a seat at Madison Square Garden, according to secondary ticket aggregator TiqIQ.
To put that in perspective, the average ticket price for Super Bowl XLVIII this year was $2,567.
"What you are seeing is tremendous pent-up demand for New York hockey fans," said Jesse Lawrence, CEO of TiqIQ.
For Kings fans, tickets are 38 percent cheaper than Rangers tickets, with an average price of $1,506.06 per ticket.
According to another secondary ticket aggregator, Seatgeek, the difference in prices between the two cities is so great, that a Rangers fan could fly from N.Y. to L.A., book a one-night stay at the Crowne Plaza, buy two tickets for Game 1 and still save about $500.
"Los Angeles is not a traditional hockey town. They have also won in the last two years (2012), so most Kings hockey fans have probably seen them get the Cup there," said Lawrence, who said that if the Blackhawks were playing, he would have expected tickets between $300 to $400 more expensive than they are now thanks to the hockey-loving Chicago market.
If you are planning on going to the game and don't have tickets, you may want to pony up now.
"Supply is not super tight, but there's not a ton out there," Lawrence said.
This year's Stanley Cup is the most expensive series since 2009. Last year, Blackhawks-Bruins ticket averaged $1,503.39.
It's not just ticket prices that are soaring. Merchandise is seeing a huge uptick as well.
According to Fanatics, the largest online retailer of officially licensed team merchandise, sales of New York Rangers gear have spiked 300 percent since advancing to the finals. Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist is the top-selling NHL player over the past seven days.
For the Kings, merchandise sales are up an astounding 1000 percent during the playoffs compared with 2012, the last time they played in the Stanley Cup finals.
—By CNBC's Jessica Golden