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Super Bowl 54 ticket prices at record highs six days before game, bucking past trends

Daniel Roberts
Editor-at-Large

Six days before Super Bowl 54, the average ticket prices on resale sites are around $8,000. That’s the most expensive tickets have ever been at this point before the game.

Even before the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers were locked in as the two Super Bowl teams, “get-in prices” (meaning the cheapest tickets) were at record highs, according to Brett Goldberg, CEO of ticket resale site TickPick. “Typically what we see is once the teams get announced, a lot of sales happen, and then the prices start to decrease,” Goldberg says. “This time we have not seen any decrease yet, it’s historic highs.”

Goldberg says part of the reason prices are so high is that NFL On Location Experiences controls a growing portion of the tickets each year, which gives the league scarcity and pricing control; resellers then have to pass on those high prices to buyers.

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It’s also likely helping prices that this year’s game has two historic NFL franchises with devoted fan bases that have not won a Super Bowl in a very long time. The Niners were last in the Super Bowl in 2013 and lost, and last won a title in 1994. The Chiefs have not played in a Super Bowl since winning it in 1970, exactly 50 years ago.

Kansas City Chiefs' Patrick Mahomes, right, chats with San Francisco 49ers' Jimmy Garoppolo during Opening Night for the NFL Super Bowl 54 football game Monday, Jan. 27, 2020, at Marlins Park in Miami. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Take a look at the below chart from TickPick of average ticket prices in the days leading up to the Super Bowl.

In almost all other years in the past decade, prices begin to decline nine days out. This year, they’re holding steady at record levels, and even rose a little on Monday.

chart via TickPick on Jan. 28, 2020

2018 and 2015 were anomalies. In 2018, prices popped four days before the game, then plummeted as they almost always do. 2015 was an infamous disaster year for sellers in which there was record demand for the game (Seattle Seahawks vs. New England Patriots) and the host stadium was in Glendale, Az., an easy trip for Seattle Seahawks fans. Prices kept on rising in the final days before the game and never got much cheaper, causing major problems for resellers, many of whom reneged on orders. The Seattle Times called that year a “perfect storm.”

As of Tuesday morning, TickPick’s average sale price for this game was $6,924 per ticket and its cheapest get-in price was $4,750 per ticket. (The last time Miami hosted the Super Bowl, in 2010, the average ticket price was $2,679.) The cheapest overall ticket TickPick has sold for this year so far was $3,560 per ticket (still much higher than past get-in prices) and the most expensive ticket it has sold so far was $17,400.

It isn’t just TickPick: other resale sites like SeatGeek are seeing the same record prices, and TicketIQ is seeing the highest ever get-in prices one week before the game.

chart from TicketIQ on Jan. 27, 2020

As for the two days right before the game, Goldberg says, “There used to be a very clear trend that... day-of-game would be the best. Last year, because the Pats fan base knows this trend, everyone started buying Saturday, and Sunday morning prices popped and increased. So the trend is kind of broken now. Last year, 25% of our sales happened day-of.”

Despite what happened last year, Goldberg thinks ticket prices for this year will drop in the next few days, and that Sunday, the day of the game, will again be cheapest.

But waiting until the day of the game to buy tickets is a risky proposition. “I would not wait until the last day,” he says. “I believe a lot of inventory will come on the market in the next four days... Wednesday, Thursday will be that sweet spot to buy.”

Daniel Roberts is an editor-at-large at Yahoo Finance and closely covers sports business. Follow him on Twitter at @readDanwrite.

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