Anyone who's spent time in the Bay Area will tell you that the success of Silicon Valley has driven the price of goods and services, not to mention homes, through the roof for locals. It turns out this rule applies to Super Bowl tickets, too.
The average resale price of a ticket to Super Bowl 50, which is being played this year in Bay Area-adjacent Santa Clara, Calif., is well over $5,200, thousands of dollars more than the average in recent years, according to Seatgeek. And unlike past years, where the matchup can sometimes play a role in ticket price, the likely biggest culprit this year is location.
“I think right now the reason for the high demand and prices is more because of where the game is than who is playing,” said Chris Leyden, an analyst at SeatGeek.
The Bay Area, which is home to tech behemoths like Facebook, Google and Twitter, has the second-highest median income in the country among metropolitan areas, far ahead of New York and Los Angeles but behind Washington, D.C., according to Census estimates. In San Francisco, the median household income is over $77,000 a year. In Santa Clara County, where Levi’s Stadium is, it’s more than $93,000.
That abundance of disposable income, combined with the fact that the area hasn’t hosted a Super Bowl in more than three decades, led to a lot of local interest in tickets. Dating back to early December, when SeatGeek first began gathering data on Super Bowl purchases, the Bay Area has been one of the top five metro areas in terms of ticket purchases, with nearly 9 percent of all Super Bowl tickets that were resold going to buyers there. That's more than the 8 percent sold to fans in Greensboro, North Carolina, the metropolitan area that best represents the Carolina Panthers, and just behind Denver buyers, who have snapped up just shy of 12 percent of the tickets.
To date, the only other metropolitan area that's purchased near that percentage of tickets is Boston (9.4 percent), where hopeful Patriots fans probably assumed their team would make short work of the Broncos last week to clinch the berth.
While $5,000 is well outside the reach of the average fan, it would also fall below the all-time record, set last year, when tickets were selling for upwards of $9,000 days before the game. That year, prices soared because a handful of ticket brokers got caught in a short squeeze, a situation created when they listed tickets for one price, assuming they'd be able to get them at a price far lower than what wound up being available in the marketplace.
In a normal year, the overall resale price of a Super Bowl ticket tends to decline as the big game nears. But with so much money sloshing around in Silicon Alley, Leyden isn't ruling anything out. "The overall average resale price of all tickets could end up still finishing higher," he said.