Golden Knights and Capitals final shaping up as one of most expensive Stanley Cup tickets ever

The long-shot odds of an expansion team winning a professional championship in its inaugural year and the perennial flops for a talent-stacked team in the frustrated nation’s capital make for a Stanley Cup Final pairing that’s heating up ticket pricing.

According to secondary-market ticket tracker TicketIQ, the “get in” price, without an assigned seat, for a Las Vegas Golden Knights (just call them Vegas, by the way) home game in the final is averaging $925. That’s the steepest since the firm starting tracking the Stanley Cup in 2011.

A Washington Capitals “get in” home-game ticket trails only slightly, at an average of $904 (see the comparisons in the graphic below).

“Prices for the 2018 Stanley Cup are being driven by the fact that neither team has ever won the NHL championship,” said Jesse Lawrence, founder of TicketIQ.

“For the Capitals, a Stanley Cup win will be 43 years in the making, significantly less than the Vegas Golden Knights and their quest for #Cupin1,” he said. Washington reached this stage once before, in 1998, only to be swept by the Detroit Red Wings.

For now, Vegas has the second-most expensive average price for the series on the secondary market on record, second only to the average cost to witness the 2017 runner-up Nashville Predators.

Why the premium? The Golden Knights are only the second team since 1990 in a major North American sports league to earn a spot in the postseason in its first season. And the other team wasn’t even created from scratch; it was the NBA’s 2002-’03 New Orleans Hornets, who had moved from Charlotte.

The Golden Knights took the ice this year after negotiations to launch a new NHL team in the Nevada desert began in 2014. Billionaire businessman Bill Foley fronted the money for the club and launched a season-ticket drive in 2015 that propelled his ownership group above a competing group representing Quebec City, right in the heart of hallowed hockey ground.

The Golden Knights were fifth in the NHL’s regular-season standings, going 51-24-7. Their playoff run can largely be credited to a hot goalie in veteran Marc-Andre Fleury, who previously thwarted the Capitals’ Cup hopes when he played as a Pittsburgh Penguin. He is arguably the only marquee name — alongside perhaps James Neal, formerly of Nashville — on the Vegas roster.

D.C. has its share of stars behind standout Alex Ovechkin. He has led the NHL in goals seven times in his 13-year career and is a seven-time All-Star. But despite making the playoffs 10 times, Ovechkin’s teams had been unable to break through to the final. Until now.

In fact, the Capitals’ championship appearance will be the first for any of the city’s most popular pro teams since that Capitals’ 1998 run. The team’s advanced playoffs hopes were extinguished most often by the Penguins over the past few decades.

So with that chip on their padded shoulders and Fleury in the opposing net, can Washington end the Vegas touch?

Maybe not.

The Golden Knights opened as minus-135 favorites (it takes a $135 wager to win $100), while the Capitals were plus-115 underdogs (a wager of $100 wins $115) as of Thursday, according to OddsShark.

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