The biggest bargains on Super Bowl tickets go to those willing to run out the clock.
Since 2010, the average ticket resale price fell about 23 percent between the National Football League conference championship games and Super Bowl Sunday, according to data provided by TiqIQ, an aggregator of several online ticket markets.
The average seat price for the Feb. 2 game at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey -- the NFL’s first outdoor, cold-weather Super Bowl -- are near the median compared to the past four years, according to a Bloomberg index of ticket prices. There’s plenty of price movement to come, however, said Chris Matcovich, TiqIQ’s vice president of data.
“Some may be surprised that, even in this speculative stage, the price isn’t higher with all the hype around this game in New York, but most brokers are waiting to see how the games play out, and even more so, the weather,” Matcovich said.
The average Super Bowl ticket was about $3,803 on Jan. 16, more than the $3,678 a seat average on that date before the 2010 game in Miami and just ahead of the $3,601 average for the 2011 title in Dallas. Tickets to that contest, between the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers, rose to $4,685 after the playoffs’ divisional round, fell about $1,000 in the last two weeks of January and then recovered to about $3,649 on gameday.
With the Denver Broncos hosting the Patriots on Jan. 19 to determine the American Football Conference winner and the San Francisco 49ers visiting the Seattle Seahawks to crown a National Football Conference champion, no possible Super Bowl matchup is likely to cause the same price spike as the 2012 game between New York and New England, according to Robert Tuchman, chief executive of Goviva, a New York-based sports and entertainment travel company.
“Of the teams left, there’s no one team that you’re saying, ‘Oh my God, if this team gets in prices are going to blow up, and it’s going to be outrageous,” Tuchman said in a telephone interview. “I don’t think the market is going to be driven by fan bases at this point.”
New England fans may even be spoiled by their team’s five Super Bowl appearances since 2001, he said. The Patriots lost to the New York Giants in both 2012 and 2008, when the Giants spoiled the Patriots’ bid for a perfect season in Glendale, Arizona. They won the title in 2002, beating the St. Louis Rams in New Orleans; 2004, topping the Carolina Panthers in Houston; and 2005, beating the Philadelphia Eagles in Jacksonville, Florida.
“Historically, they don’t travel as well as you might think, and they’ve been to so many Super Bowls,” Tuchman said of New England fans, adding that the chance of having them lose in the stadium of their rivals, the New York Jets and Giants, might keep some fans away. “Having to be stuck in New York, the worst place of all time for Boston fans, at the Giants’ stadium, it can’t get any worse.”
Denver’s last trip to the Super Bowl was in 1999, beating the Atlanta Falcons in Miami to claim its second-straight championship. San Francisco lost 34-31 to Baltimore last season in the New Orleans title game, its first Super Bowl since 1995. Seattle’s lone trip to the game was in 2006, when it fell to the Pittsburgh Steelers during an indoor game in Detroit.
The average price for a ticket to the AFC Championship is $691, the highest in five years of data collection by TiqIQ. The $811 average price for the NFC Championship is the second-highest since 2010, trailing only the 2011 matchup in Chicago between the Bears and Green Bay Packers, which had an average of $1,157. The most expensive ticket for each conference championship is going for more than $7,700.
On EBay Inc.’s StubHub, the average Super Bowl seat was priced at $3,955. Shannon Barbara, a spokeswoman for the online reseller, said this game may shake previous patterns, because New York is an attractive destination and annually one of the largest sources of ticket purchasers.
“The upcoming Super Bowl will definitely be unique -- a different beast than others before,” she said in an e-mail. “Access alone will be huge. The weather will make a difference as the game gets closer. Snow and freezing temperatures could cause prices to fall, but in short, we’re likely to see one of the biggest Super Bowls in history, solely based on location.”
On ticket reseller Razorgator.com, 26 percent of people viewing Super Bowl ticket pages are located in New York or New Jersey, compared to 12 percent in Washington or Oregon, 11 percent in California, 5 percent in Massachusetts, Connecticut and New Hampshire, and 1.5 percent in Colorado.
For last year’s Super Bowl, 30 percent of tickets purchased on Razorgator were bought the week before the game, including 1.5 percent the weekend before kickoff.
While oddsmakers already are taking bets on the Super Bowl, with Seattle a 7-4 favorite at the Las Vegas Hotel SuperBook, it’s too early to predict the weather. The average Super Bowl ticket briefly fell to a five-year low of about $3,386 at the beginning of the playoffs as record-setting cold hit the U.S. in early January, according to TiqIQ.
The weather may keep prices low outdoors and high for the stadium’s most expensive seats, including the club levels and luxury boxes -- sold this year by the NFL starting at $400,000 - - where fans can spend more time watching indoors, Tuchman said.
“Especially if the weather reports get worse, corporate clients are going to be saying ‘I’ve got to be indoors now,” he said. “Half our clients were saying they wanted to be indoors or they were going to do other events instead.”