The Big East generates big interest

Val Ackerman, Big East Conference commissioner, says Big East basketball is back. Two years after a major shakeup that saw the Big East lose some of its biggest teams like UConn, Notre Dame and Syracuse, the Big East Tournament at Madison Square Garden is generating some big interest.

Tournament play starts Wednesday night.

According to Jesse Lawrence, CEO of ticket website TiqIQ, four-session passes to the Big East Tournament are more expensive than any other conference tournament in the country, by a lot. Four session passes to the Big East are running about $1,500 on the secondary market.

Tickets to the ACC tournament are the second most expensive, but they're only half the price, averaging about $670 for four day passes.

Lawrence says a lot of that has to do with the Big East's venue. Madison Square Garden is the mecca of basketball and still commands the highest ticket prices.

Commissioner Ackerman agrees and says she considers the Big East Tournament to be one of the premier sporting events in New York City along with the marathon and the U.S. Open.

Last year, the Big East disappointed during March Madness. None of its teams made it out of the first weekend of NCAA play, but Ackerman says this is a conference that wants to compete for National Championships. She refers to the Big East's history: founded in 1979 as a basketball-centered conference. She believes they are back to that focus now.

As far as ticket prices go, the Big East is certainly competing on a national level. Lawrence says ticket prices took a dip last year, but thanks to the tournament's rich history, tradition, and those storied "March Moments" people are still willing to pay good money to go.