by Mike Hayes - 01/27/2006
Finding a ticket to the Super Bowl isn't a problem. Paying for it though, is a different story.
Seating capacity at Ford Field in Detroit is 65,000 and by the looks of it a healthy percentage of those tickets can be had from brokers and scalpers - perhaps even an NFL head coach - if you are willing to pay the price.
But just how much are Super Bowl tickets? Face value of Super Bowl tickets are between $600 and $700 apiece but tickets are selling for a minimum of four to 10 times more than that.
25% up to $1,000
A look at just a few tickets brokers online shows they have plenty of inventory, with the low-end asking price ranging from about $2,200 apiece for upper level end zone seats to as much as $10,000 a seat for a choice lower level location near mid-field.
Want to bring your friends? You're in luck. One online ticket broker is offering a 42-person luxury suit at the 10-yard line for less that a quarter mill at $240,000.
Stubhub.com offered some of the better prices, with single ticket prices ranging from $2,260 to about $7,500.
There are plenty of tickets available on eBay as well with several hundred auctions in the works at any given moment.
eBayer Conciergehawk of Englishtown New Jersey started bidding at $1 for a pair of lower-level seats in Section 124. By the time bidding concluded on the 24-hour auction more than 5,000 people had visited the auction and 53 placed bids with a final sale price of $6,800.
So with only 65,000 seats available for the biggest sporting event of the year, how come so many tickets can be had? The answer seems clear. Economics. For those lucky enough to snare a pair of tickets at face value the temptation of an exorbitant profit usually outweighs the desire to attend, especially when you consider travel issues and whether your favorite team is in the game.
There actually are a few ways to get Super Bowl tickets at face value. Each year the NFL holds a public lottery at which about 1 percent of all available seats are distributed. To participate in the annual drawing submit an index card with your name and address and send it in an envelope to Super Bowl Random Drawing, P.O. Box 49140, Strongsville, OH 44149-0140. Send it between Feb 1 and June 1 of the year preceding the game via certified or registered mail. Only one request per address is accepted.
Season ticket holders of participating teams are usually given an opportunity to participate in a lottery as well one that gives them a considerably better chance of attending that the NFL drawing.
The NFL distributes Super Bowl tickets in early January using a formula that usually goes something like this: The League keeps 25 percent of the tickets -- a little more than 16,000 for this year's game. The remaining 75 percent are split up among the 32 teams, with each participant receiving 17.5 percent, about 11,000 tickets each for the Steelers and Seahwaks, 5 percent, about 3,200 tickets, to the host Lions and the remaining 35 percent split among the remaining 29 teams with each receiving about 1.2 percent or 760 tickets per team.
Teams generally offer them to sponsors and employees and this is where the whole thing gets a little murky. Even though the NFL has a very strict prohibition against the tickets being resold by employees, players and coaches have reportedly been among the brokers best source for tickets.
This long held secret became public when former Vikings coach Mike Tice was fined by the league after admitting he sold part of his allotment of Super Bowl ducats last year.
So you really want to go to the game. Your beloved (fill in the blank) finally made the big game and you just have to go. You don't know Tice and you are not one of the lucky few to obtain tickets at face value. What should you do?
Brokers can be a very reliable and legit source for tickets, as can eBay, as long as you do a little homework.
If you decide to go the broker route choose a member of the National Association of Ticket Brokers (natb.org). NATB has provided some regulation for the industry by establishing guidelines for members to follow. According to the website they require all members to back Super Bowl tickets deals with a 200 percent guarantee meaning they have to deliver the tickets or refund 200 percent of the price. Some brokers only offer 100 percent, which means if the market price turns out to be higher than your purchase price the broker can fail to deliver your tickets and still make money on the deal.
If eBay is your preference make sure you check a seller's feedback to be sure they are reputable. A lot of sales with few if any negative feedback is essential, especially in a transaction of this magnitude.
Also, when dealing with a broker insist on using a credit card so there is a record of your purchase. Do the same when purchasing tickets on eBay and even better use PayPal, which offers buyers up to $1,000 of free protection on a transaction.
Send questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org