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How does an actual fan get Super Bowl tickets?

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It’s really difficult. But being a season ticket holder can help.

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NFL: Super Bowl LII-Philadelphia Eagles vs New England Patriots Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta has a capacity of 71,000, and yet less than 5,000 tickets were ever available to the general public for Super Bowl LIII if they didn’t already own season tickets.

NFL rules and partnerships claim the vast majority of tickets before they ever have hopes of going on sale, so if you’re a fan hoping to score a ticket it can be a near-impossible task. How do you, as an ordinary Joe get a Super Bowl ticket?

Where do all the tickets go?

The public are the very bottom of the pecking order when it comes to Super Bowl ticket availability, according to a blog from ticketing site TickPick. The two teams going get the first allotment, which is 17.5 percent of tickets each. These tickets are made available to players to give to their family and friends, with season ticket holders getting opportunities to go to the game — either through a gift from the team, or individual sale.

The host team (in this case the Falcons) get the next 6.2 percent of tickets. Similar to the participating teams, these are typically distributed to season ticket holders. From there every other team in the NFL gets a piece — 1.2 percent each, or 33.6 percent total. These are given to players, media members and season ticket holders as well.

This leaves the last rung, 25.2 percent of seats which are retained by the NFL. No, these aren’t made available to the public. Instead the majority have already been accounted for, sold or allotted years in advance to partners and sponsors. These are organizations running travel packages, selling “fan experiences,” as well as major league sponsors to distribute between their employees.

So how can I get a ticket?

There is an NFL-run lottery to give away tickets, but your time for that is long past. Five hundred tickets are given away each year to fans who send actual, paper mail to an NFL address in New York City. This runs from February 1st until June 1st each year, meaning the 500 tickets have been accounted for a long time ago.

At this point your best bet is to get those tickets the NFL have sold to corporate partners. Sites like StubHub, PrimeSport, Vivid Seats and TickPick will have tickets available — providing you’re willing to pay for them.

There’s also an on-site NFL seller located at Mercedes Benz Stadium, however these are known to be drastically higher than the secondary market.

How much are tickets right now?

The cheapest tickets available right now are $2,519, located in the corner nosebleeds. If you want to sit lower level, well, get ready because the cheapest lower level seats are selling for $4,130 in the end zone.

Remember, if a deal seems too good to be true, it is.

Every year stories emerge of fans being duped with fake Super Bowl tickets. In 2018 a smattering of fans paid up to $2,800 in Minneapolis on Craigslist for tickets, assuming they were getting the real thing — only to find out they’d been tricked.

Ticket brokers noted that the fraudulent tickets for Super Bowl LII were the best they’d ever seen, so be careful out there.