USA vs. Argentina has been called "the most important game in American men's soccer history," and fans certainly have had to pay up to attend the historic Copa America Centenario semifinal in Houston on Tuesday night.
The match is sold out, which means prospective attendees have had to migrate to the secondary market. Data provided Tuesday to International Business Times by StubHub, one such marketplace, show getting into NRG Stadium, usually the home of the NFL's Houston Texans, could be pricey. The cheapest tickets would run a fan $55. The most expensive was $1,703. The median price was $209. For context's sake, $209 would get you an average ticket on the secondary market at more than half of the NFL franchises. Anytime U.S. demand for global football can be mentioned in the same breath as American football, well, that's big.
"We’ve seen that consumers are more willing to pay for once-in-lifetime experiences as opposed to tangible items, and tonight’s game is a big moment for the growth of U.S. soccer, as the Men’s National Team looks to prove itself against one of the world’s best teams in Argentina," StubHub spokesman Cameron Papp said in a statement. "Even for casual soccer fans, this [is] a must-see chance to watch Lionel Messi, the game’s best player in a generation."
Argentina comes into the match ranked No. 1 in the world. Argentine captain Lionel Messi, considered by FIFA the best player in the world, appears incredibly motivated to grab the trophy after the national team fell short in the finals of both the 2014 World Cup and the 2015 Copa America. Meanwhile, the U.S. has rallied under the direction of embattled coach Jurgen Klinsmann in the special-edition 100th anniversary South American tournament that allowed the entry of teams from North and Central America, as well as the Caribbean.
These stakes, plus soccer's U.S. growth and the match taking place on American soil, all factor into the importance of the game domestically. It's still not the top-selling Copa match on StubHub, however. Mexico vs. Chile on June 18 (No. 1), Peru vs. Colombia June 17 (No. 2) and the June 26 final in New York (No. 3) all ranked ahead of the match.
The sales for the United States-Argentina match have largely come locally. About 70 percent came from Texas, 5 percent from Louisiana, 4 percent from California and 2 percent from Florida, according to the StubHub data.
If you're in the market for last-minute seats, Stubhub suggested that $170 tickets for spots in NRG Stadium's Upper 644 section represented the best-value purchase.