Super Bowl ticket demand down because 'teams are not sexy'

Super Bowl ticket demand down because 'teams are not sexy'

Credit: Getty Images

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - JANUARY 27: Super Bowl signs are seen at MetLife Stadium as the venue is prepared to host Super Bowl XLVIII between the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks January 27, 2014 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

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by GARY MIHOCES

USA TODAY Sports

Posted on January 28, 2014 at 12:10 PM

NEW YORK — At this time a year ago, there was speculation the Super Bowl in New York could be the priciest ticket ever. But brokers said Monday the market for the Seattle Seahawks-Denver Broncos matchup is soft, and tickets are available for much closer to face value than anticipated.

And don't blame it solely on the cold weather anticipated for the outdoor game.

Lance Patania, president/CEO of Prominent Tickets, a ticket brokerage in Glen Rock, N.J., said his firm was offering $800 face value tickets for $1,200. In other years, he's seen markets this early in the week in the $2,300-$2,500 range.

Patania said that, in relation to face value, he's never seen it "this cheap this early" in his 25 years in the business.

"A lot of our clients are simply saying they don't want to go. They don't want to sit upstairs for $1,200, even if they were given to them at face value, they don't want to pay $800," said Patania.

"That just sends shivers up my spine. That just shows there's not a lot of local people looking to go. ... Everybody said it's Wall Street, it's New York City, it's North Jersey, a lot of people, a lot of money, they're going to drive the market. It's been doing anything but that."

Patania said it goes beyond the cold.

"The issue with the weather is one thing, but the teams are not drawing," said Patania.

"If this game was in San Diego or Miami, it would still not be a good ticket because the teams are not sexy. ... You don't have these huge fan bases that you would have if Washington or Dallas or New York or someone else was in it."

Not that the NFL is concerned about the resale market.

It set prices for this game at $800, $1,000, $1,200 and $2,500 (club seats with indoor amenities). Another 1,000 tickets were available for $500 each through a lottery. That's down from $650 in the same lottery last year in New Orleans, and the number of lottery tickets was doubled from 500.

The NFL said MetLife Stadium, with a Super Bowl capacity of about 79,000, is sold out.

"We sell the tickets at face value and demand from fans and sponsors has been unprecedented," Brian McCarthy, NFL vice president of corporate communications, told USA TODAY Sports in an email.

"No, we are not concerned with secondary (resale) markets which will ebb and flow but will perhaps enable fans to buy tickets at even more reasonable prices. The concerns about the weather continue to dissipate and we've seen an influx of demand today."

In the parlance of the brokerage business, there are "dead-end prices," the lowest-priced tickets out there.

Tony Knopp, CEO and co-founder of Spotlight Ticket Management, a California-based online firm which helps corporations and smaller companies manage purchases of entertainment and sport tickets from brokers, said Monday he had been informed of Super Bowl tickets available for $1,050.

"There were years in the mid 2000s where the get-in price vacillated between $2,800 and $4,000 right around this time," said Knopp.

Knopp said resale prices also dipped before this month's BCS national championship in Los Angeles.

"Let's juxtapose ... beautiful Los Angeles for a national championship game versus 32 degrees, wintry mix in New York," said Knopp.

"I think there are a lot of people (in the brokerage business) really afraid that we might see another BCS championship style market fall out."

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