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Volume 20 No. 42
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Secondary ticket prices, sales tracking up

Secondary-market tickets for Super Bowl XLVIII are tracking as the most expensive in event history, but much like the weather for the outdoor game, the market forecast for the next three weeks remains subject to significant change.

Ticket metasearch outfit SeatGeek said the average resale listing price for Super Bowl XLVIII is $3,990, representing the most expensive event the company has tracked in its five-year history. Similarly, StubHub said the median price for actual sales thus far for the game is $3,415 — 57 percent higher than a comparable point before last year’s game. And sales volume on the site is up 40 percent from a year ago.

Several factors are driving the numbers. In addition to this being the first cold-weather outdoor Super Bowl and its staging in the high-cost New York market, the NFL upped the face value of top-tier Super Bowl tickets this year to $2,600, more than twice the premium face-value cost for last year’s game in New Orleans. The move is an attempt to close the gap between face value and resale prices, which typically exceed $2,000 regardless of the matchup or venue.

Beneath those robust numbers, however, several other market factors are at play. Super Bowl resale values often fall sharply in the last seven to 10 days before the game, once the matchup is determined. The weather forecast, if it turns dire for Feb. 2, could further depress the market.

Also, the actual out-of-pocket expense for Super Bowl buyers on the secondary ticket market is likely to be less this year thanks to the availability of hotel rooms and flights.

“This is not at all the norm. Usually, you’re paying heavy premiums for motel rooms far from the Super Bowl stadiums, and flights are really tough to get,” said Jim Holzman, president and chief executive of Boston-based Ace Ticket, a prominent broker. “But in New York, there are lots of options still available for lodging and transportation, and that leaves people with more money to spend on tickets.”

The uncertain weather forecast is also driving a higher level of precision in choosing seats. In many years, Super Bowl ticket prices did not necessarily vary greatly between sections. This year, tickets with indoor access are carrying far higher costs. Many club seats at MetLife Stadium, for example, show listing prices of more than $6,000 each.

“This year more than ever for the Super Bowl, it’s definitely about location and access,” said Robert Tuchman, president of Goviva, a New York-based event travel company. “There’s a bit of a mixed appetite among the corporate community for outside seats, but anything that has indoor access, there’s definitely a premium attached.”