Gonzaga University clearly has many fans in the South Sound, as well as vast ’Kennel’ crowds in Spokane. But judging from airline ticket sales, most of them must be driving south to Arizona for this weekend’s NCAA basketball playoff games.
Airlines Reporting Corp., which tracks such things, says air travel to Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport is way up (25% over normal,) from North and South Carolina but only 7 percent higher than average departing Washington state airline gates. Oregon fans have boosted ticket sales for carriers from there by 17 percent.
The average ticket price for air travel from the four states that are sending teams to the Final Four is $431, down from $663 at last year’s tournament held in Houston.
Gonzaga’s opponent – South Carolina – is leading the pack for higher flight tickets sold, up 46 percent above average, so you can expect to see lots of Gamecock fans in the University of Phoenix Stadium Saturday afternoon.
And if you’re going to the games, look for a very busy municipal host, Glendale, Ariz., city manager Kevin Phelps – last year at this time, he was deputy Pierce County executive, following earlier service as a Tacoma city councilman.