The Super Bowl is undoubtedly the biggest sporting event in America, and the ticket market churns away until the very last minute. For fans, attending the game is a once in a lifetime experience and a ticket is worth any price.
This year's match-up between the New England Patriots and New York Giants is already a gold mine for the NFL and for the individuals who sell tickets online, with prices peaking at $15,000 for a single ticket.
Prices for the Super Bowl are exorbitantly expensive this year because you have the perfect storm of big markets and strong, dedicated fan bases, a StubHub seller who asked to remain anonymous said.
Official tickets sell out fast. Season ticket holders of the competing teams each get rights to 17.5 percent of the Super Bowl tickets, season ticket holders of the host team -- in this case the Indianapolis Colts -- claim another 5 percent and season ticket holders from the remaining 29 teams in the NFL split another 45 percent of the tickets. That leaves 25 percent of tickets to sell to the public, and much of that exchange is done through online marketplaces like eBay, Craigslist and StubHub.
Going through the StubHub marketplace with the seller, the IBTimes learned that the average ticket price for a sold ticket is $3,450, which is about triple the face value of $800 -- $1,200 per ticket. The current average for an unsold ticket is close to $5,000.
The only drawback is the cold weather in Indianapolis. If only the game was in Miami or New Orleans, who knows how much tickets would go for, the seller added.
The most coveted and most expensive seats are unsurprisingly in sections 140 and 113, the forward most seats on the 50 yard line. Ten people bought tickets in 140 for $13,530, four bought seats for $13,335 and two lucky people paid only $9,550 for seats 12 rows behind the others sold in the section. Notably, all of the tickets were purchased on either the Monday or Tuesday after the NFC and AFC championship games.
I think that there are a lot of people who just wanted the best seats and did not care about price, the seller said. Those people snapped up the tickets as soon as they became available.
While the steep price may dissuade some, any would-be buyers should act fast because there are only six seats left in the section on StubHub and 10 on eBay. (eBay also has tickets in the neighboring section 141-- four tickets for $45,900.)
Directly across the field in section 113, the average ticket price was $1,000 lower but the highest single ticket sold was more expensive at $14,118. That ticket was bought on Thursday.
Other seats in on field sections are ranging from about $3,700 in the corner of the stadium to $11,000 near the 45 yard line. There isn't much change one level behind that, and tickets in the 200 level sections are selling for $3,500 in the corner to $10,000 mid-field.
Supply and Demand
As the game approaches, that price will likely go down instead of up, with sellers trying to maximize their profits while still assuring a sale. Hundreds, if not thousands, of fans are waiting for this to happen and have set Buyer Alerts to inform them when any ticket falls to $1,000 or under.
This trend is evidenced even in the glorious section 140. Where almost all the tickets sold in the section before Thursday went for over $13,000, the average price per seat being offered is now about $10,618. Only one seat in the section previously went for below that amount. However, the average quality of the seat -- judged by the row number -- has also gone down.
The current low price for any one ticket is $2,119 in terrace end section 628, which is all the way at the top of Lucas Oil Stadium, behind the end zone. Tickets in that section have already sold for as much as $2,900. In nearby section 629, home to probably the worst seats in the house, they've gone for between $2,000 and $2,685.
Tickets in the upper decks tended to sell later than for the seats closer to the field, but bucking the pricing trend seen with the best seats, unsold tickets in the back sections are approaching $4,000 on eBay.
The people who don't care about price have already bought, the seller said.
The people that are price sensitive are waiting until the last minute to try to get the best deal, and so they are all buying now, driving demand and the price up.
The market has lessened as it becomes more realistic fans looking at tickets, said StubHub spokesperson Joellen Ferrer. It's similar to what we saw last year with quite bit of movement in the days leading into the Super Bowl.
Once a buyer had his or her ticket, a flight to Indianapolis on Sunday will only cost an additional $350 (from New York), a meager sum by comparison.
Other Super Bowl related items currently being sold on eBay:
Parking passes - $100 to $1,000
Plastic Super Bowl XLVI ticket holder: $12, which is the same price that a ticket to Super Bowl I in 1967 cost. The game, between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Green Bay Packers, did not sell out.
Super Bowl 2012 novelty tickets: $9.95
Ticket frame: $45.96
Reservations at Oceanaire Seafood in Indianapolis at 11 p.m. on Sunday: $13
Hotel room at Embassy Suites: $657 per night
Pepsi Super Bowl Fan Jam Tickets: Average $30
This Super Bowl poster by Charles Fazzino that doesn't mention either the Giants or Patriots: Latest bid $22.50!