The SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament is one of the most exciting events in college basketball. As the championship tournament for the Southeastern Conference, the SEC Tournament brings together the best teams in the SEC for a thrilling five days of competition. With fervent fan bases from across the South coming out to cheer on their teams, SEC Tournament games have an electric atmosphere. If you want to experience March Madness before the NCAA Tournament even starts, getting tickets to the SEC Tournament should be high on your to-do list.
When and where is the SEC Tournament played?
The SEC Tournament takes place in mid-March, typically starting on a Wednesday and running through Sunday. The location rotates between venues in SEC cities. In 2023, the SEC Tournament will be held at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee from March 8-12.
Here is the schedule for the 2023 SEC Tournament:
|Wednesday, March 8
|Thursday, March 9
|Friday, March 10
|Saturday, March 11
|Sunday, March 12
The early round games are single elimination before moving to a standard bracket format for the quarterfinals onward. The winner of the championship game on Sunday earns the SEC’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
How can I get tickets to SEC Tournament games?
There are a few different options for getting tickets to the SEC Tournament:
Buy tickets through the SEC Tournament website
The main source for SEC Tournament tickets is the official SEC Tournament website. Here you can choose session-specific ticket packages for each day of the tournament. Packages range from all sessions to single sessions. The SEC offers ticket packages for seats throughout the arena, from lower bowl to upper deck. Buying directly from the tournament website is the most convenient option and ensures your tickets are legitimate.
Use a ticket reseller like StubHub or SeatGeek
If ticket packages are sold out or you only need tickets to specific sessions, using a ticket reseller like StubHub or SeatGeek is a good option. Resellers often have a variety of ticket selections for individual tournament sessions. You can shop around for the best deals on the sessions you want. Just be sure to use a reputable site to avoid counterfeit tickets.
Join your school’s fan group
Many SEC schools have organized fan groups that handle buying ticket blocks and travel packages for the SEC Tournament each year. Joining your school’s fan group is a great way to sit with other fans and guarantee you have tickets. Typically you need to join the fan group and purchase your ticket package well in advance of the tournament.
Use a travel package
Various sports travel companies like Anthony Travel put together travel packages for the SEC Tournament each year. This bundles your tickets, hotel, and often transportation all in one package. It takes the hassle out of planning each piece yourself. Travel packages do come at an increased total cost but can be worth it for the convenience.
How much do SEC Tournament tickets cost?
SEC Tournament ticket prices vary based on the session, seat location, and when you purchase them. In general, expect to pay:
|$20 – $80
|$25 – $100
|$30 – $150
|$40 – $200
|$50 – $250+
Lower bowl seats closer to center court will be more expensive. First round games feature the lowest seeded teams so they have cheaper ticket prices. Prices increase as the tournament progresses into the playoff rounds. If you purchase earlier you can take advantage of pre-sale discounts.
Beyond the tickets themselves, budget for costs like:
- Hotel rooms in Nashville for the duration of the tournament
- Airfare or gas if driving/flying from out of town
- Parking fees at Bridgestone Arena ($15-$20 per day)
- Concessions and merchandise at the games
Tips for buying SEC Tournament tickets
To get the best deal on SEC Tournament tickets and have a great experience, keep these tips in mind:
- Buy early – Prices go up closer to tournament time and sessions can sell out.
- Friday and Saturday are most popular – If your schedule is flexible, look at sessions earlier in the week to save money.
- Upper deck seats still have great views – You can save money by sitting higher up in the arena.
- Check seat views online before buying – Avoid partially obstructed seats.
- Read up on venue policies – Know what you can and can’t bring into Bridgestone Arena.
- Join team fan groups for presale access – This gives you first crack at ticket blocks.
- Use reputable sites like official SEC for resale tickets – Avoid scams from disreputable resellers.
What you need to enter the SEC Tournament
To enter Bridgestone Arena for tournament games, you will need:
- A valid game ticket – Have it ready when approaching the gate. Use mobile tickets to avoid losing paper tickets.
- No bags larger than 14″ x 14″ x 6″ – All bags will be checked upon entry.
- No outside food or beverages – Concessions will be available inside.
- No professional cameras – Camera policies are strictly enforced.
Make sure you review Bridgestone Arena’s security policies online before the tournament so you come prepared. Arrive early to account for time getting through security. Gates typically open 90 minutes before tip-off.
Where to sit at the SEC Tournament
Bridgestone Arena has over 20,000 seats split into two levels. There are advantages to different areas:
|Lower bowl sidelines
|– Close to the action
– Better view angles
|– Most expensive seats
|Lower bowl corners
|– Cheaper than sidelines
– Still low to the court
|– View angles can be worse
|Lower bowl behind baskets
|– Cheaper option
– Decent view of one basket
|– Far from the other basket
|Upper deck sidelines
|– Elevated view of whole court
– Cheaper than lower bowl
|– Far away from the action
|Upper deck corners/ends
|– Cheapest seats
– Can see both baskets
|– Nosebleed seats
Consult the Bridgestone Arena seating chart when buying tickets to understand the view you’ll get. Mid-court is ideal but higher priced. The stadium has excellent acoustics so the atmosphere comes through anywhere you sit.
Where to stay in Nashville for the SEC Tournament
As the home of the SEC Tournament, hotels in Nashville fill up fast. Reserve your room early to ensure availability and price. Good areas to stay include:
- Downtown – Closest proximity to Bridgestone Arena and Lower Broadway. More expensive but very convenient.
- The Gulch – Trendy area south of downtown. Close to the arena and cool restaurants.
- Music Row – West End hotels near lively bars and live music.
- Airport area – Budget hotels further from downtown but cheaper rates.
Nashville has major hotel chains like Marriott, Hilton, and Hyatt along with unique local spots like Bobby Hotel. Book rooms along the free downtown shuttle route to avoid paying for parking.
Alternative lodging options
Besides hotels, Nashville has abundant vacation rental options on sites like Airbnb, VRBO, and HomeAway. These give you more space and amenities when traveling with a group:
- House rentals
- Bed and breakfasts
Look near downtown or neighborhoods like The Gulch and Germantown. Nashville also has great campground options for RV travelers.
Getting around Nashville for the Tournament
Bridgestone Arena sits right downtown making it easy to access. Nearby parking is available but expensive. Use these transportation options instead:
- Rideshares – Uber and Lyft can drop off right at the entrance. Split costs by pooling.
- Downtown shuttle – Free buses connect downtown hotels to the arena.
- Public transit – Buses serve the greater Nashville area.
- Taxis – Always available outside arena entrances.
- Bike shares – Nashville has bike share stations around downtown.
- Walk – If staying downtown, Bridgestone Arena is walkable.
Coordinate transportation back to your hotel before the session ends to avoid delays leaving the arena. Grab dinner downtown after before returning to your hotel.
Things to do in Nashville beyond basketball
When you aren’t watching tournament action, get out and explore Nashville – one of America’s most dynamic cities. Top attractions include:
- Lower Broadway – Legendary stretch of honky tonks and live music bars.
- Country Music Hall of Fame – Artifacts and history of country music.
- Ryman Auditorium – Original home of the Grand Ole Opry.
- Johnny Cash Museum – Celebrating the life of the man in black.
- Parthenon – Recreation of the Greek Parthenon with an art museum.
- Music Row – See legendary recording studios.
- Grand Ole Opry – Catch a show at the new Opry House.
- The Gulch – Trendy modern district with restaurants and boutiques.
Take advantage of Nashville’s plentiful bars and live music to continue the fun after tournament games wrap up each night. Be sure to sample Nashville’s amazing hot chicken and barbecue too!
Top tips for enjoying the SEC Tournament
To make sure you have an amazing experience at the 2023 SEC Tournament in Nashville, keep these top tips in mind:
- Arrive early – Give yourself time for traffic, parking, security.
- Charge your phone – Take photos and upload to social media.
- Bring earplugs – It gets loud when the arena is packed.
- Wear comfortable shoes – You’ll be on your feet a lot.
- Pack light layers – Temps can fluctuate inside.
- Save your ticket – Keep it as a souvenir.
- Download your parking location – Avoid wandering huge lots.
- Review arena policies – Avoid hassles over banned items.
- Have cash for vendors – Many don’t accept credit cards.
- Pace yourself – Don’t try to do too much each day.
Most importantly, come ready to cheer loudly for your team alongside all their passionate fans. The energy and excitement of SEC basketball is what makes the tournament so much fun for everyone.
With thrilling college basketball and a buzzing atmosphere, the SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament is a bucket list sporting event. While tickets can sell out and hotels fill up fast, planning ahead helps you get great seats at a fair price. In a place like Nashville, there are so many fantastic restaurants, bars, and attractions to enjoy when not in the arena too. Following tips from prepared fans who have been there will ensure you have an amazing SEC Tournament experience. With the right preparation and mindset, you’ll be able to enjoy all the action and excitement that makes SEC basketball so special.