HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Maui is regarded as one of the top tourist destinations on the planet, but the most visited tourist spot on island this week won’t be Haleakala National Park.
Instead, all roads have led to the Lahaina Civic Center, where the 2018 Maui Invitational has drawn attention not just from locals, but also from fans from all over the country to catch a glimpse of No. 1 Duke and the rest of college basketball’s elite programs - no matter the cost.
“Just for one game, $225 apiece,” said Peter Fagan, who bought three tickets this morning for himself, his son and his wife. “Just for the San Diego State/Duke game, which we didn’t think was too bad because we saw them advertised for much more than that.”
Believe it or not, Fagan wasn’t exaggerating in the slightest.
Some basketball fans that Hawaii News Now spoke with today said they paid anymore from face value to upwards of $600 for a single ticket to see Duke vs. San Diego State. There were also reports that some tickets were being resold online for over $1,000.
“Sitting down at one of the hotels, couple guys overheard me saying I really need a ticket, and nice enough, he sold me one at cost - $105,” said Duke fan Jeff Gentiley. “Craigslist tickets are going for $1,500, no, That cost to see the best team in the world, in Hawaii, in the best place in the world.”
While some University of North Carolina Tar Heel fans might argue Duke being the “best team in the world” as Gentiley described, the hype surrounding the Blue Devils is unprecedented. And that includes the hype surrounding Michigan’s “Fab Five” era.
“That’s what the hype is like,” Fagan said. “It’s like the Fab Five. That’s a really good analogy.”
After Day 1, it seems that the hype is real for Duke, as is the competition of this year’s tournament. Each game was as exciting as the last and the real winners of this week are the fans, who have even subjected themselves to standing room only tickets just to catch a glimpse of the next generation of basketball superstars.