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Eric Wilbur's Sports Blog

Looking For Super Bowl Tickets? Seattle Fans Have Helped Drive a Costly Market

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PHOENIX - If you’re headed here in time for Sunday without tickets, well, good luck.

As of Monday, the average price for a ticket to Sunday’s Super Bowl between the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks was running an average of $3,220 on ticket reseller Stubhub’s web site. On Wednesday, the cheapest ticket available on Stubhub was for around $4,000.

On Thursday, that price increased to $6,907.55 for seats in the lower corner of University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale.

In fact, according to data provided by Stubhub, ticket sales on the secondary market are up some 74 percent from last year’s Super Bowl in New Jersey. In 2014, tickets sold in the range of $800-$13,530. So far this year, tickets have gone for anywhere from $937 to $11,500 with three days remaining until kickoff.

According to Stubhub spokesperson Alison Salcedo an early-buying crowd has created a market in which there aren’t many tickets left.

“My advice to you would be to hone in on a couple seating locations that you're liking and watch the price potentially rise and fall and make the best decision that can based on what you’re seeing,” Salcedo said. “If you know where you want to be and you’re a die-hard Patriots fan, then you should probably buy sooner than later.”

It’s also a market that’s been driven primarily by Seattle fans. The streets of downtown Phoenix are bustling with the green and blue team colors of the Seahawks, whose fans outnumber Patriots fans by a significantly wide margin. Twenty percent of Stubhub’s total ticket sales have come from the Pacific Northwest compared to just seven percent from New England.

“They’ve got that 12th Man, that following,” Salcedo said. “It’s certainly an easier trip for them, and of course there’s the weather issue with your coast, so it’ll be interesting to see if and how that affects peoples’ decisions to make it out here or not.”

Of course, the cost of a ticket is the least of fans’ worries, with hundreds of counterfeits littering the market.

“Every year we see fans travel to the host city with the hope of watching their team compete in the Super Bowl only to be turned away at the gates when it turns out that they have bought counterfeit tickets,” Dolores DiBella, associate counsel for the NFL, said. “While the league incorporates security devices into every Super Bowl game ticket, the only way to ensure you are buying an authentic ticket is to buy from a reliable source like the NFL Ticket Exchange, the club, or the league sites.”

As of Thursday, there were only 37 tickets on the NFL Ticket Exchange web site, ranging from $8,500 to $21,304. Stubhub had 210 tickets available, each one going through multiple sets of eyes, according to Salcedo, to confirm its authenticity.

“The most important thing is you are buying a priceless experience and if you were to buy anything that was as expensive as a Super Bowl ticket, you would never just buy it from someone that you didn’t trust or you couldn’t get your money back from,” she said. “You always want to buy from a reputable website, you want to buy somewhere where you can buy credit card, never pay cash.”

The ticket itself features a number of security features aimed at thwarting copycats. The date on the front, bottom corner of the ticket is custom laser cut so it’s visible from the front to the back. There’s also a hand-applied hologram on the back of the ticket along with “two-channel, true-color artwork” including a landscape of the Arizona desert. Thermo-chromatic ink is incorporated into the The XLIX Roman Numerals on the bottom of the ticket back and will disappear from view when heat sources are applied.

“Please remember that the quality of counterfeit Super Bowl tickets can be quite sophisticated, but no matter how real a ticket looks, a counterfeit ticket will not get you into the game this Sunday,” DiBella said.

That’s added pressure on a fan base waiting to get the best deal they can afford. As the clock ticks down to kickoff, prices will generally drop, according to Salcedo, but suggests that late-buying crowds may be an anomaly this year, which was an early-buying crowd, leaving what’s turned out to be a very high demand.

"There’s always a good deal that’s out there,” she said. “If you can be patient and you’re savvy, you can find that good deal. “

“Good deal,” of course is in the eye of the beholder.

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