Maybe it’s the size of the stadium or the teams playing. Maybe it’s the host city. Who knows?
For whatever reason, asking prices for tickets on the secondary market for Sunday’s Super Bowl in New Orleans are dramatically lower than they were last year when the game was in Indianapolis.
“One factor is that last year was Indianapolis' first Super Bowl, so local demand was pretty high,” said Chris Mactovich, director of data for New York-based TiqIQ, a leading source of data for the event ticket market. “This is New Orleans’ 10th Super Bowl. The locals there aren’t likely to push demand as much.”
As of Thursday night, tickets to this year’s game on average were 33 percent cheaper than they were a year ago, according to TiqIQ.com. Last year at this time, the average ticket on the secondary market was selling for $3,860.48; this year they’re selling for $2,595.86.
The cheapest ticket was $1,289 and lower bowl seats can be found for $1,704, according to TiqIQ.
Mercedes-Benz Superdome, the site of this year’s Super Bowl, is expected to hold more than 75,000 on Sunday, about 7,000 more than in Lucas Oil Stadium for last year’s game. Some ticket brokers think the larger number of tickets available this year can be credited—in part—for depressing secondary ticket prices.
But tickets prices weren’t depressed in 2011 when Green Bay and Pittsburgh met in Texas Stadium, which was set up to hold 100,000.
The opponents likely have something to do with demand, too, as does New Orleans' more distant location. Last year's opponents, the New England Patriots and the New York Giants, both come from big markets, have good fan bases and are within a relatively short distance from centrally located Indianapolis.
The traveling fan bases for the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers in this year's game haven’t been quite as strong, ticket brokers said. The Ravens have never been known to have a strong traveling fan base, said one merchandiser who asked not to be named. And while San Francisco has an affluent, avid fan base, the expense of traveling to New Orleans might have proved too steep.
Ticket brokers are bracing for a down year.
“This year’s market is quickly declining and may soon free-fall into an abyss of no return,” said Darren Heitner, a partner at Wolfe Law Miami in Florida and an adjunct professor of sport agency management at Indiana University.
Face values for Super Bowl tickets range between $850 and $1,250, and some ticket brokers actually fear they might have to take a loss on some tickets this year.
At every point during the two-week run-up to the Super Bowl, the demand for tickets has lagged last year's pace, and Heitner thinks it has fallen to a level where it will be impossible to catch up to last year.
On game day, the average ticket price on the secondary market for last year’s Super Bowl at Lucas Oil Stadium was $2,955.56, with the cheapest ticket going for $1,354, according to TiqIQ.
Data from SeatGeek, another ticketing data firm, are similar to TiqIQ's numbers.
“It has also been more difficult to move suites this year than last year, with prices falling fast,” Heitner said. “Ticket brokers on the ground in New Orleans are lamenting how difficult it was to move suites they still had on hand.”
Currently, suites at Mercedes-Benz Superdome are available on the secondary market from $83,000 to $137,000. On Jan. 24, Super Bowl suites on the secondary market were listed from $265,000 to $323,000.