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Stanley Cup Game 7: Is a ticket worth $3,000?

Stanley Cup Game 7 will be especially hard to see in person because tickets in Vancouver are in short supply. Instead of 2,500 tickets available for Game 6 in Boston, one outlet reports having only about 500 tickets for the decisive Stanley Cup Game 7.

By Darren RovellCNBC Sports Business Reporter / June 15, 2011

Vancouver Canucks goalie Cory Schneider makes a save on Boston Bruins center David Krejci during the second period of the NHL's finals in Boston on June 13, 2011. In Boston, plenty of tickets were available for the game. But in the decisive Stanley Cup Game 7 in Vancouver, available tickets are so hard to come by that they're averaging $3,000 apiece at one outlet.

Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press/AP

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If you want to go to any game, it's easy to see how much you're going to pay. You can go to ticket aggregator sites like FanSnap and SeatGeek or hit upStubHub. You can also take your pick on where you want to sit thanks to the secondary market. Choose any game you want to go to, including championship games, and you'll almost always find a couple thousand tickets available.

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That's hasn't been the case with Vancouver Canucks tickets for the Stanley Cup Finals. Vancouver, like its Canadian counterparts Ottawa and Edmonton, does not have the same type of robust secondary market sales.

In fact, according to a StubHub/NHL study, the Canucks had the second fewest tickets available this season on the retail market, only bested by the Senators. That obviously had its affect on price. StubHub says that Canucks fans paid an average of $155 a ticket for games during this season, which is the fourth highest price in the league, behind the Penguins, Maple Leafs and Canadiens.

Powerful brokers in sports cities usually have hundreds of tickets to each game. But one insider estimated that no single broker owns more than 75 Canucks tickets. On top of the supply issue, now add that Wednesday is a do-or-die Stanley Cup Game 7 in Vancouver against the Boston Bruins.

Did we mention that the Vancouver Canucks have been in the NHL since 1970 and haven't won the Stanley Cup?

"For games in Vancouver, we've had as much as 500 tickets per game," said StubHub spokesperson Joellen Ferrer. "Compare that to games in Boston, where we had at least 2,500 tickets per game. We've never seen this lack of supply for a team since the secondary market became relevant."

With about 400 tickets available for Game 7, fans were paying an average of $2,975 a ticket on StubHub on Tuesday. It's not the highest average price ever paid for a ticket — many were paying $5,000 for tickets to the US-Canada Olympic gold medal hockey game in Vancouver last year — but it's up there.

"I don't think we'll ever seen a big sporting event with inventory as light as they have in Vancouver," said Patrick Ryan, co-owner of The Ticket Experience, a sports ticket brokerage in Houston.

Aside from the weakness of the broker business in Vancouver, the other factor holding supply down is that — even for the price — Canucks fans are having a hard time parting with their tickets if they can see the team win its first ever Stanley Cup.

Ferrer says that's slowly changing. At the start of the day on Tuesday, StubHub had 250 tickets to Game 7. Towards the end of the day, that number had climbed to 400. "Over the last few hours, more fans with tickets in-hand have begun to realize the resale potential and are testing the market," Ferrer said. "But at the end of the day, less fans than the norm are willing to resell their ticket to Game 7. They just aren't willing to put a price tag on the experience of being in the building."