The price of an NCAA Final Four ticket bought through a broker is up to $4,500 as excitement builds for the college basketball championship weekend.

Although selling tickets to brokers is frowned upon by the NCAA, the longstanding practice is fueled by that organization's tradition of giving tickets to corporate sponsors, coaches and universities."I get them from other brokers, corporate sponsors, schools, alumni," said Randy Cohen, president of Austin-based Ticket City. Cohen is paying $200 to $2,000 for tickets with a face value of $100 or less. He resells them to eager fans for $450 to $4,500.

Cohen expects to move 800 to 1,200 Final Four tickets by the time the semifinal games begin Saturday at the Alamodome. The dome is configured to seat 40,500 for the event.

Indianapolis-based Tickets & Travel also is doing a booming business and anticipates reselling about 600 ticket packages.

There is nothing illegal about brokers selling or buying tickets.

In San Antonio, scalpers are prohibited from selling tickets on public property without a vendor's license. But that doesn't deter ticket brokers, who operate phone banks and work by advertisements, fax and mail.