The Indianapolis Colts vs. Denver Broncos game at Lucas Oil Stadium is still three months away, but local ticket brokers are already salivating over the potential profit the game could bring.
A study released this week shows there’s good reason for the Pavlovian response.
Chicago-based secondary ticket broker Vivid Seats this week released its league-wide analysis of NFL ticket prices, finding that the Colts-Broncos game Oct. 20 is the Colts’ highest-priced home game on the secondary market. On average, ticket prices for that game are selling for $400.
That’s more than double the next-highest-priced game, according to Vivid Seats. Tickets for the Colts home game against Houston on Dec. 15 are selling for an average of $171.
“This game stands alone on the Colts schedule in terms of interest,” said Mike Peduto, co-owner of locally based Circle City Tickets. “It’s a big enough game that it’s bringing in some national interest in terms of ticket sales.”
Ticket brokers say they haven’t seen a game creating this kind of demand for tickets here since the undefeated Colts squared off against the undefeated New England Patriots on Nov. 4, 2007. That year, the Colts were coming off their Super Bowl championship and the Patriots were on their way to a 16-0 season.
This year, the major story line is Peyton Manning’s returning to Indianapolis for a game for the first time since he left the Colts to join the Broncos following the 2011-12 season. Manning hasn’t played a game at Lucas Oil Stadium since the 2010 season.
A check of several of the biggest secondary ticket brokers found that tickets for the Colts-Broncos game are selling as high as $1,990 per seat. And there’s an oddity about the highest priced tickets.
“Usually, people pay more to sit behind the bench of the home team,” Peduto said. “For this game, people are paying more to sit behind the Broncos bench because they want to be as close as possible to Peyton Manning.”
Peduto and other ticket brokers said tickets behind the visiting Broncos bench are selling for about 20 percent higher than those behind the home team.
Peduto doesn’t think fans will be able to get in the door for less than $200, about quadruple the price of the lowest-priced seat on the secondary market for the Colts’ other home games.
“A lot of people just want to be there to be able to say, ‘I was there when Peyton came back,’” Peduto explained. “I think you’ll find this crowd to be very pro Peyton. You’re not going to hear many boos.”
Despite the big boost from the Broncos game, the Colts aren’t exactly stampeding over other NFL teams in ticket demand on the secondary market. According to Vivid Seats, the Colts are 18th out of 32 NFL teams, with an average sale price of $177.
And as big a game as the Colts-Broncos game is, it doesn’t crack the top 15 in terms of greatest secondary demand, according to Vivid Seats.
The biggest factors in determining those prices, ticket brokers said, is market size and fan avidity within those markets. The league-wide analysis shows fans in New England and Chicago drive a lot of demand. Peyton Manning also is a major driver in Denver and when he plays on the road.
See below for some interest statistics on ticket demand (via Vivid Tickets) for the upcoming season.
Average price of tickets to Colts home game
Denver Broncos, Oct. 20, $400
Houston Texans, Dec. 15, $171
Seattle Seahawks, Oct. 6, $159
Oakland Raiders, Sept. 8, $149
Miami Dolphins, Sept. 15, $140
Tennessee Titans, Dec. 1, $140
St. Louis Rams, Nov. 10, $138
Jacksonville Jaguars, Dec. 29, $138
Overall average secondary market ticket price by team (per home game)
1. New England Patriots $431
2. Chicago Bears $416
3. Denver Broncos $317
4. New York Giants $317
5. New Orleans Saints $273
6. Green Bay Packers $269
7. Baltimore Ravens $268
8. Pittsburgh Steelers $255
9. Dallas Cowboys $254
10. Seattle Seahawks $250
11. New York Jets $222
12. Houston Texans $220
13. San Francisco 49ers $216
14. Philadelphia Eagles $199
15. Washington Redskins $196
16. Tampa Bay Buccaneers $184
17. San Diego Chargers $180
18. Indianapolis Colts $177
19. Miami Dolphins $164
20. Carolina Panthers $161
21. Atlanta Falcons $157
22. Detroit Lions $140
23. Minnesota Vikings $137
24. St. Louis Rams $137
25. Jacksonville Jaguars $136
26. Cincinnati Bengals $134
27. Arizona Cardinals $126
28. Kansas City Chiefs $124
29. Buffalo Bills $122
30. Oakland Raiders $120
31. Tennessee Titans $112
32. Cleveland Browns $106
Top 15 NFL match-ups (in terms of secondary ticket market demand)
1. Denver Broncos at New England Patriots, Nov. 24, $575
2. Pittsburgh Steelers at New England Patriots, Nov. 3, $534
3. Baltimore Ravens at Denver Broncos, Sept. 5, $470
4. New Orleans Saints at New England Patriots, Sept. 12, $461
5. Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears, Dec. 29, $458
6. Dallas Cowboys at Chicago Bears, Dec. 9, $458
7. Denver Broncos at New York Giants, Sept. 15, $458
8. Dallas Cowboys at New Orleans Saints, Nov. 10, $455
9. New York Jets at New England Patriots, Sept. 12, $441
10. Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots, Oct. 27, $425
11. San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks, Sept. 15, $418
12. Cincinnati Bengals at Chicago Bears, Sept. 8, $417
13. New York Giants at Chicago Bears, Oct. 10, $417
14. Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears, Sept. 15, $411
15. Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New England, Sept. 22, $411