THE March Madness Comes to Taco Bell Arena; Avoid Ticket Scams
Whether you're in to basketball or not, it's always cool to say you've experienced something watched by millions nationwide. The NCAA Men's Basketball tournament is coming to Boise in just a few days!
How obsessed with the tournament are you? Normally, my interest wanes when I start losing games right and left in the bracket I put together for my dad's office challenge. I have this very scientific method of filling it out where I average the picks from the experts from CBS Sports and Bleacher Report. The teams that come out with the better average are who I fill in to my bracket. It takes hours to do, so you can see why I get so discouraged so quickly!
But this year, I MAY just stay interested a little longer. Depending how they do in the Mountain West Tournament this week, Boise State's on the bubble of being invited to the "Big Dance." Regardless if they get in or not, there WILL BE "March Madness" in the Treasure Valley this season. Taco Bell Arena will host games for the first and second rounds of the NCAA Division 1 Men's Basketball Tournament next Thursday (3/15) and Saturday (3/17.)
I love my Broncos and they've had a thrilling season, there's no way that the tournament will seed them on a home court if they get invited to the dance but I'm interested in buying tickets anyway. Why? Because if the projections hold up through this weekend's tournament play, one of my OTHER favorite college teams will play their game in Boise. I've never gotten a chance to see them play in person...but the tickets aren't cheap. Clicking through the official NCAA website, the cheapest tickets I can find start at $170 for a single session.
With that hot of a ticket, it's no surprise that scammers see a huge opportunity to take advantage of sports fans. That's why I wanted to pass along some tips that the Better Business Bureau shared with the Idaho Statesman.
Purchase through the venue: That is...if it's possible. Rather than just assume you could, I called over to the BSU Athletic Ticket Office to see if you'd be able to buy tickets through them for the tournament. Unfortunately, their allotment of tickets is already gone. Season ticket holders were able to buy theirs last March, while the general public cleared out that allotment during a November pre-sale. They won't know if they'll have more tickets to offer until after the teams are announced on Selection Sunday.
Pick a reputable third party seller: I also asked the BSU Athletic Ticket Office who they recommended going through if I did want to purchase third party tickets. They referred me to PrimeSport who's the handling the official NCAA Ticket Exchange. If you find a better deal elsewhere, just make sure you can tell the difference between an accredited reseller, scalper or someone who's selling completely fake tickets.
Check their references: So how do you do that? The BBB actually mentioned a pretty cool link that you might want to hang on to beyond the basketball tourney: VerifiedTicketSource.com. That site lets you see resellers who are trusted members of the National Association of Ticket Brokers. You can also look up their profile on the BBB website.
Get familiar with the refund policy: This one's pretty self explanatory. If they don't offer you openly offer you one, the location of your seats or delivery method for your tickets, proceed with extreme caution.
Don't pay cash or debit: In the Statesman's article, the BBB says you're safer paying with a credit card that offers fraud protection, rather than debit, cash or wire transfer. If you go with one of those less secure options, you likely will not see any money if your tickets end up being totally fake.
One last thing: This wasn't in the article, but it's a personal tip from me. Always double check the URL of the website you're using. Scammers often use a technique called "phishing" where they'll use a URL similar to the legit one and use graphics that mimic or are nearly identical to a reputable reseller. When if doubt, double check...and then check again...before entering your payment information.