Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Super Bowl Ticket Prices are going to Spike

If you're planning to attend Super Bowl XLVIII this February at New Jersey's MetLife Stadium, you are likely to be cold. You may also be broke. The NFL is on the verge of approving a plan that would more than double the prices the league charges for the most coveted Super Bowl tickets. According to three league officials familiar with the plan, club-level seats in the mezzanine with access to indoor restaurants are likely to cost about $2,600—a mammoth hike from last year's game in New Orleans, where the top tickets went for $1,250. The next-cheapest tranche of seats (those in the lower bowl) would cost about $1,500, the executives said, up from $950 for the second-tier seats sold in New Orleans. image image A committee of NFL owners studying the matter is likely to approve the plan this week, these people said. In a statement to the Journal, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said the league is considering the plan because it is interested in capturing some of the value it has been yielding to fans and brokers who resell their tickets at a markup. "We are looking to close the gap between the face value of the ticket and the true value of a ticket to what has become the premier sports and entertainment event," he said. The Super Bowl isn't a traditional "fan" experience. Together, participating teams distribute just 35% of the seats. The league itself controls 25% of the seats, which it often shares with corporate sponsors and partners. The result is that a large portion of the audience at any Super Bowl consists of people who are attending the game on someone else's dime. Not every ticket will crack four digits, either: The NFL is dropping prices for the cheapest seats to $500 next year from $600 in 2013. In all, the executives say, about 39% of the roughly 77,500 seats would cost $1,000 or less. At the last Super Bowl, the league held a lottery for $600 tickets in the upper bowl in the corners of the end zones—drawing some 30,000 entries. But of the 500 winners, the NFL said, 60% flipped their tickets within 24 hours. This season, the NFL plans to raffle off 1,000 $500 tickets—but those tickets will be non-transferrable. Barry Kahn, chief executive of Qcue, an Austin-based firm that provides data-based pricing software to the sports and entertainment industry, said the Super Bowl has long been significantly underpriced. "If you said they were raising lower-level tickets to $5,000 I wouldn't blink an eye," he said. According to the NFL, research on the secondary market during the 2013 Super Bowl shows many $600 tickets sold for $2,000 while seats near midfield went for up to $6,100 and premium club seats changed hands for $6,400—both multiples of their face value. Super Bowl ticket prices have risen dramatically in the last decade, but as recently as 2001 they cost $325. Tickets to the first Super Bowl in 1967 cost $6. NFL officials argue that New York is a unique Super Bowl market that warrants higher ticket prices. Not only is it more densely populated than other Super Bowl venues, it has a high concentration of wealthy corporations and individuals. There is also a well-established tradition in the city of paying out the nose for marquee events. Since roughly 50 million people live within 200 miles of MetLife Stadium (compared with 6 million in New Orleans) NFL officials argue that many people won't mind paying more, since they're likely to save money on flights and hotels. If money is no object, you're in luck: indoor suites, which come with 30 tickets each, are already selling for $500,000 and up depending on the location.

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