NFL’s restricted sales behind pricey Super Bowl

INGLEWOOD, Calif., Feb. 9 (UPI) — The NFL’s control over ticket purchase opportunities is a major factor driving high prices for Sunday’s Super Bowl LVI in Inglewood, Calif., several secondary market companies said.

The admission price for this year’s game has hovered between $4,500 and $6,000 since early last week. And those prices are expected to rise as the ticket availability decreases.

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For the big-spenders, the most expensive suite, which seats 24 people, is available for nearly $800,000. That’s 33,333 a person for about four hours of entertainment.

“The Super Bowl is really not an open market like it used to be,” TicketIQ founder Jesse Lawrence told UPI. “Pre-2016 it was truly a market run by thousands of sellers pursuing their own interest and profits.

“The NFL controls the inventory, they set the pricing. There are fluctuations in a range, but this is kind of what they think the 2022 Super Bowl is worth.”

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Lawrence said that if ticket prices drop, he only expects a maximum 10% decline. TicketIQ says that the average ticket price of $8,652 for Super Bowl LVI is the second-highest since 2010. Tickets for the game in 2015 sold for an average of more than $9,700.

Previous reports for past Super Bowls cited that the league gives each Super Bowl team 17.5% of the tickets available for purchase. That allotment, which includes opportunities for players, front office members, coaches, season ticket holders and others, adds up to 35% of the total tickets available.

The league’s other 30 teams also get a percentage of the ticket allotment. The host team typically gets about 5%, while the other 29 teams each get 1.2% of tickets.

That leaves about 25% of tickets for league on-location experiences, secondary markets and other platforms. Secondary market experts estimate they receive about 10% of the tickets available to sell to NFL fans.

That would be about 7,000 tickets for this year’s game at SoFi Stadium, which seats 70,000 fans.

The NFL did not respond to a request for comment when asked about the ticket allotment for the game.

Matt Rados, the senior operations manager at the ticket marketplace Gametime, thinks the 10% of tickets available for the average fan on the resale market is on the high side.

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“The fact is the average fan does not have the ability to buy Super Bowl tickets at face value, so they have to turn to the secondary market if they want to go to the game,” Rados said. “Big corporations are also driving up prices as they are getting seats for their clients and employees.

“On top of all that, with the game being played in Los Angeles you have agencies buying tickets for celebrities and thus driving up the price even more.”

The secondary market experts said that Los Angeles’ placement as the country’s second-biggest sports market, the Bengals’ rare appearance in the game and the fact that the Rams will play in their new home stadium are among the other key factors for high ticket prices.

Rados said the secondary markets would need to receive “tens of thousands” of additional tickets to sell for the prices to decrease significantly.

“At the end of the day, the price point for tickets on the secondary market isn’t really the NFL’s problem, and these sky-high prices actually generate even more publicity for them,” Rados said.

Chris Leyden, the director of consumer strategy at the ticket platform SeatGeek, said that 30% of ticket buyers from that site were from the Los Angeles area, while 8% were from Cincinnati. Fans New York, Dallas and Chicago also ranked inside the Top 5 among buyers.

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“Super Bowl tickets are often one of the most in-demand live event tickets of the year,” Leyden said. “It is still the biggest sporting event in the country, and there are only so many seats in the stadium. This imbalance of supply and demand is what causes prices to be where they are.”

Super Bowl LVI will kick off at 6:30 p.m. EST Sunday in Inglewood, Calif. The game airs on NBC.

Visitors immerse themselves in the history of the NFL at an interactive exhibition at the Los Angeles Convention Center last weekend. The Los Angeles Rams and the Cincinnati Bengals will meet in Super Bowl 56 at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif., on Sunday. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

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