This Sunday, the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks will match off in Super Bowl XLIX at 6:30 pm. Two weeks ago, ticket prices were set noticeably low, and speculators predicted an even more dramatic drop as the day got closer, as sellers scramble to get rid of their tickets at negotiable prices. Soon after the NFC and AFC games ended, the average ticket price was set at $2,900, while the lowest was going for $1,900. This will be the Patriots’ sixth Super Bowl in the past fourteen years. While this information certainly excites those diehard New England fans, it makes for a less astonishing occasion, resulting in these diminishing returns. Reflecting on this year’s cheaper tickets, it has come to light that Pats fans may have become more accustomed to the comfort of their own homes due to the fact that their team’s Super Bowl appearance is no rarity, as the term “Super Bowl Fatigue” is being used in the media. These were the predictions for this year’s Super Bowl as of two weeks ago. However, now that Super Bowl Sunday is actually upon us, prices have unexpectedly soared to astonishing numbers and the fluctuation has people questioning whether or not market manipulation and collusion amongst suppliers is taking place.
At the beginning of this week, the average prices were set at $6,500 and the “cheap” tickets were being sold for $4,200. By Thursday, buyers couldn’t get tickets for less than $7,100 on popular secondary market websites such as TiqIQ. StubHub, another standard secondary ticket site, notified the media that this year’s average ticket price is $9,484.37. Last year’s average list price at this time was $2,480.06, making this year’s a 282.43% increase. Several other secondary market sites have noted that they are no longer selling tickets for the event. The face value for Super Bowl tickets typically ranges between $800 and $1,900. The nearly $10,000 being demanded for tickets is particularly noteworthy because of the initial prediction of a decline in prices, in keeping with the idea of “Super Bowl Fatigue.” The dramatic fluctuation in prices is too great not to be suspicious. People want to know why ticket supply is shrinking as prices go out of control.
When prices escalated on Thursday, StubHub pointed fingers at the ticket sellers in charge of Super Bowl ticket inventory, accusing them of colluding with one another and manipulating the market. The brokers are the ones taking the biggest hit in all of this. Their plan to “short-sell” tickets meant they listed tickets in a general section of the stadium without specifically stating where the seats would be until the Wednesday before the game. They planned to sell the tickets at a higher price (directly after conference title games when they are in the highest demand), but then actually purchase them later on as prices went down according to predictions. Once-hopeful fans and brokers are outraged by the alleged incident. At this point, it is nearly impossible and certainly unrealistic for most loyal fans to make it to the game.