So you’re trying to get your hands on a Super Bowl ticket, eh? Well it might be harder than you think, unless you’re willing to shell out the big bucks.
The Super Bowl has been described as feeling overwhelmingly corporate, and that is because the NFL reserves 25.2 percent of tickets for distribution to its corporate sponsors. Most of these people who attend the game probably do not have any rooting interest in either team playing. This year, a substantial portion of tickets are going to On Location Experience, a business partner of the NFL that is reselling tickets in packages. The most expensive package? Only $12,749!
So where do the rest of Super Bowl tickets end up? According to the NFL, the Houston Texans receive five percent of tickets as host of Super Bowl LI. The Falcons and Patriots each receive 17.5 percent of tickets. The other 34.8 percent of tickets are split between the other 29 NFL clubs. That comes out to about 1.2 percent per club.
Most NFL clubs distribute their NFL tickets via a lottery that begins before the matchup is even set. Prior to the AFC Championship, Pittsburgh season ticket holders were submitted to the lottery for tickets selling at face value, which this year was a whopping $2,200. Most clubs award preference to season ticket holders who have had their season tickets the longest. In Pittsburgh especially, that can mean a really, really long time.
What happens if you’re a Steelers fan who wins a ticket but decides not to go since, you know, the Steelers lost to New England? Well, this is how most tickets end up on the secondary markets at huuuuge jacked up rates. The NFL is trying to combat the sale of tickets on secondhand markets by changing ticket policies to make sure the people who win the tickets are actually the ones attending.
Many have hypothesized that since tickets are so hard to come by, “real fans” rarely make it to the game. If you take into account the expenses of traveling to a neutral location, finding a hotel, and food, deciding to attend the Super Bowl seems like a serious commitment. If you’re as afraid of commitment as I am, settling to watch the game at home with some friends and cheap-ass beer might be the better option.