March Madness resale ticket prices are up 29 per cent on last year as basketball fans prepare for the start of the preliminary round of the NCAA tournament later today (Tuesday).

In data compiled by aggregator TicketIQ, the average ticket to watch one of the 67 games scheduled to take place in the coming month is $316 (£260/€297).

TicketIQ said there are fewer tickets available this year because the opening round games are at venues that have smaller resale ticket markets.

University of Dayton Arena will hold the First Four games on March 14 and 15, with four spots up for grabs in the tournament proper. Those four games, which feature Kansas State vs. Wake Forest in the South, Mount St. Mary’s vs. New Orleans in the East, N.C. Central vs. UC Davis in the Midwest and Providence and USC in the East, will be followed by Round 1 action beginning on March 16.

The tournament consists of rounds one and two, followed by Sweet Sixteen, Elite Eight and then Final Four. Ultimately two teams will face off in the championship match, scheduled for April 3 at the Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.

The cheapest ticket for the opening and regional rounds of the tournament are $43, while the cheapest available ticket for the Final Four is $196. Last year the cheapest ticket cost $38 and fans could get into the Final Four for just $102.

TicketIQ said that while lots of people rush to buy Final Four tickets after the Elite 8 games, prices are usually lowest within 48 hours of tip-off.