December 4, 2018 / 7:19 PM / 2 years ago

Super Bowl the top-selling U.S. sporting event of 2018: StubHub

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The Philadelphia Eagles’ stunning upset of the New England Patriots in February’s Super Bowl was the top-selling sporting event in the U.S. this year, edging out college football’s championship game, ticket seller StubHub said on Tuesday.

The Alabama Crimson Tide’s thrilling overtime win against the Georgia Bulldogs in January’s College Football Championship came second for ticket sales, said the San Francisco-based company, which is the world’s largest event marketplace.

The final three games of baseball’s World Series, where the Boston Red Sox defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers in five games, rounded out the top five.

Star power played a big part in driving ticket demand this year.

Tiger Woods’ return to the Masters made it the best-selling Masters tournament ever, outselling last year’s record-setting event in Augusta by seven percent.

LeBron James’ blockbuster move to the Los Angeles Lakers propelled the franchise to the number three position among NBA teams with a 16 percent growth in ticket sales for the season.

Demand for live events is at an all-time high and continues to grow, Perkins Miller, general manager for the Americas at StubHub, told Reuters.

Fans are increasingly willing to travel to see their favorite athletes, teams and musicians, he said.

The Super Bowl in Minneapolis saw ticket sales from all 50 states and 24 different countries, while South Korean K-Pop sensation BTS generated the highest ticket demand per show, drawing fans from 80 countries to their summer tour.

“We had more than 200,000 folks go across borders to attend 30,000 events in 2018,” Miller said. “It makes the world feel a little smaller and more connected.”

The Super Bowl is likely to head the list of top-selling U.S. sporting events again next year, while the Copa America soccer tournament, which begins in Brazil in June, will also be a hot ticket in 2019, he said.

Reporting by Rory Carroll; Editing by Ken Ferris

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