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Chicago Daily Herald

Super Bowl ticket demand is at a record high as denizens of Wall Street seek seats for the game in nearby New Jersey.

Even though the National Football League didn't begin distributing tickets to its Feb. 2 championship at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, until January, there has been a robust market for weeks as New York businesses try to satisfy their own customers' requests, say ticket resellers.

"A lot of clients are calling us saying, 'We don't have them, but we're expected to have them and I can't tell my client I don't have them,' especially on Wall Street," said Jason Berger, chief executive officer of New York-based broker All Shows LLC and president of the National Association of Ticket Brokers.

Year-over-year Super Bowl revenue is up about 31 percent for PrimeSport, an Atlanta-based ticket and travel company that is the fan travel partner for 16 NFL teams, according to Sam Soni, its president. Super Bowl prices on its website range from $2,252.50 for end zone seats in the highest tier to $10,625 for the club level.

"The bottom to the high end of the range is 15 to 20 percent higher than other Super Bowls," Soni said. "That reflects the demand and also the acquisition costs from the NFL. They've gone up as well."

Brokers' sources for tickets include sponsors, who have Super Bowl tickets written into their contracts, season-ticket holders and player allotments, ensuring that the resellers have access to tickets before they even go on sale.

With a regular-season capacity of 82,500 at MetLife Stadium, there will be several thousand fewer seats available to make room for media, cameras and security. The face value of tickets will range from $500 to $2,600. The equivalent premium seats for the previous title game, in New Orleans, went for $1,250.

Cheapest seat

Ticket reseller StubHub listed the cheapest in the upper end zone in a "to be determined" row, for $3,183.60. offers tickets ranging from $2,241 to $12,351.

It's part of trading that will go on right up until the 6:20 p.m. kickoff, with the price to see the most popular U.S. sports league determine its champion changing based on who is playing. This year, weather will be a factor because it is the first Super Bowl at an outdoor stadium in a cold-weather city.

"It's very volatile, where people are short-selling and running spec at the beginning, and then once inventory hits the market, prices are moving all different ways," said Chris Matcovich, the vice president of data and communication for New York-based TiqIQ, which aggregates other secondary-market sellers. "The Super Bowl, by far, tends to look the most like the stock market."

Speculative selling

Some ticket resellers without agreements that guarantee them tickets will sell them now on speculation that they will be able to buy them cheaper when they go on sale. That causes difficulties, Soni said.

"It's a risky business," Soni said in a telephone interview. "There's been some volatile situations over the years on some of the more global exchanges, where they let guys list inventory when they don't really have access to the inventory and are just waiting to see if the market meets what their perception is.", based in Marina del Rey, California, monitors brokers' activity throughout the year to ensure their reliability, according to its chief executive officer, Nima Moayedi.

"At the end of the day, we're on the hook because we guarantee the order once it's confirmed," Moayedi said in a telephone interview. "As long as we feel confident about the brokers who are listing tickets on our site, than it's really not an issue."

Ticket distribution

The two Super Bowl teams each will be given 17.5 percent of the tickets to distribute; the NFL will keep 25.2 percent; the Giants and Jets, co-tenants at the stadium and event hosts, get a total of 6.2 percent, and the remaining 28 teams split 33.6 percent, or 1.2 percent per club.

People buying tickets on the secondary market now most likely aren't getting a good deal because brokers probably can get them for less as the game draws closer, Matcovich said.

"This isn't just a shot in the dark," he said.

"If two big-named teams were to be in the Super Bowl, say Dallas and New England or Denver, you are going to have fan bases that will pay tremendous amounts of money. That's where brokers will start taking a bath. Most likely you're not going to get one of these tremendous Super Bowls."

Average price

The average list price on TiqIQ last season for the Baltimore Ravens' 34-31 win against the San Francisco 49ers in New Orleans was $2,199.

Two years earlier, when the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers, two of the NFL's most iconic clubs, played in Dallas, the average list price was 66 percent higher at $3,650.

With two games left in the regular season, the Broncos are the favorite from the American Football Conference at 1-2 odds at the Las Vegas Hotel Superbook. The Seattle Seahawks, with a smaller fan base, are favored to win the National Football Conference at 5-8.

Most price movement occurs as soon as the participants are decided, Matcovich said. They typically decline slightly the following week, then a bit more the week of the game, he said.

"Depending on the matchup and weather, you'll probably see tickets around the $2,000-$2,500 range at some point," Matcovich said.

Ice storms affected two Super Bowls in the past 14 years, at retractable-roof Cowboys Stadium in Dallas in 2011 and Atlanta's Georgia Dome in 2000, Berger said.

"Prices came down dramatically," Berger said.

Regardless of which teams wind up playing, the demand from the New York market will "definitely" make average prices wind up at an all-time high, Soni said.


January 2, 2014
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