Final Four 2017: South Carolina fans paying most for Phoenix trip

By Alex Butler
Final Four 2017: South Carolina fans paying most for Phoenix trip
The University of South Carolina basketball team boards a plane for Phoenix. (GamecockMBB/Twitter)

March 30 (UPI) -- Yes, the average ticket price to see the Final Four in Phoenix is more than $450.

But what about everything else it takes for fans to attend the big game? Well, South Carolina Gamecocks basketball followers can answer that question best, as it is costing them the most of any school to attend its matchup against Gonzaga.


Runzheimer, a data company and consultancy for business vehicle programs, calculated the real costs for the Final Four teams and fans who traveled from their hometown to Phoenix. The calculations included gas prices, mileage, food, beverages, hotels and more.

While airfare for the trip from Columbia to Phoenix has risen to more than $800 since the school clinched its first Final Four spot, the road trip is also pricey for the Gamecocks.

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The average nightly hotel rate is $222 for South Carolina fans from March 31 to April 4. Oregon fans are paying $165 on average, while North Carolina's are paying $178 and Gonzaga's are paying $216. The cost to drive from North Carolina's Chapel Hill campus is the highest at $965, while Gamecocks fans would pay $955, Zags fans $649 and Ducks fans $505.


Overall, the variance over typical hotel cost benchmarks in Phoenix is 118 percent for this weekend, meaning rates are 118 percent higher than the national average.

"I always find it interesting to see the impact of a special events like the Final Four on travel costs like hotel rates," said Ken Robinson, market analyst for Runzheimer. "I think you see it every year and I think it's really interesting. We saw the same in Houston last year."

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The cost to drive includes fuel, costs modeled around fuel, maintenance, tires and a car payment for a midsize domestic automobile. Hotel rates are based on one room for four nights, double occupancy, three to four stars, +/- 5 miles from the city center, and includes local taxes and fees. All hotel rates exceed national average for business travelers.

Although prices also spiked for the 2016 Final Four in Houston, they are a bit lower in comparison for 2017.

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"Compared to last year's study, Phoenix is actually a bit more reasonable in terms of overall expense for the Final Four," Robinson said.

Before the tournament began, gave the Zags and Tar Heels an 11-1 shot at winning the national championship. The Ducks opened as 20-1 favorites, while the field was a 15-2 favorite to bring home the trophy.

The Gamecocks battle the Zags at 6:09 p.m. Saturday at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Tar Heels face the Ducks at 8:49 p.m. for a chance to advance to Monday's title game.

There was a suite available Thursday for the game at University of Phoenix Stadium on TicketCity for $110,975.

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