How Much Do Super Bowl Tickets Cost in 2020?

January 24, 2020
How Much Do Super Bowl Tickets Cost in 2020?

Updated: February 20, 2024

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Professional football fans in 1967 had the opportunity to see what would become known eventually as the Super Bowl. The NFL’s Green Bay Packers, under the legendary head coach Vince Lombardi, would face the AFL’s Kansas City Chiefs in what was billed as the “First World Championship Game.”

The game was played at the Los Angeles Coliseum in California and fans could witness the spectacle live for a mere $12 dollars. For comparison sake, the $12 spent in 1967 would be the equivalent of $90 today. To this day, Super Bowl I is the only one of 53 Super Bowls that was not a sellout.

Remarkably, Super Bowl ticket prices have risen dramatically and the games continue to sell out. From an average of $12 in 1967 to a “cheap” ticket of $3,500 for Super Bowl LIII last year, Super Bowl ticket prices seem to be outrageous. How in the world can a ticket to a football  game – albeit the ultimate one – cost more than a mortgage payment?

How Much Do Super Bowl Tickets Cost a History of Prices

As stated, the average price of a ticket to the first Super Bowl in 1967 was $12. The average price did not rise until Super Bowl IV, which is significant since it was the first ticket to actually say the words “Super Bowl” on it. The first ticket price hike left the average face value of a Super Bowl ticket at $15.

For five seasons, Super Bowl tickets remained at an average face value of $15. That changed with Super Bowl IX. The Pittsburgh Steelers would beat the Minnesota Vikings to win the franchise’s first ever Lombardi Trophy. The 80,997 fans at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans would pay an average of $20 to watch the game.

Tickets would not stay at $20 for very long. When Super Bowl XII rolled around, Super Bowl ticket prices jumped to $30. The game was still, of course, a sellout and 76,400 fans watched Dallas beat Denver at the Louisiana Superdome. The national television audience continued to increase as well as 78.9 million viewers watched.

For the next decade, Super Bowl ticket prices would increase from $40 for Super Bowl XV to $60 for Super Bowl XVII. Just two years later, prices increased by $15 to $75 for Super Bowl XX and in another two years tickets for Super Bowl XXII were $100. It was the first time in history that prices reached the $100 mark. They would never be less than that again.

Fans at Super Bowl XXIV paid $125 for a ticket and a year later would pay $150. By Super Bowl XXIX, prices hit the $200 plateau and would continue to increase over the next several years until they hit $400 for Super Bowl XXXVI. Just two years later, fans were paying $500 for a Super Bowl XXXVIII ticket.

By Super Bowl XLVI, tickets reached an average price of $900. When Pittsburgh beat Arizona at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Bay in 2009, it marked the first time that average ticket prices for a Super Bowl surpassed $1,000.

Prices have continued to increase reaching an average of $2,000 at Super XLIX and almost hitting the $3,000 last year when the average price rose to $2,900. From a mere $12 in 1967 to upwards of $3,000 for this year’s Super Bowl, tickets continue to sell. Each year, the Super Bowl sells out. How is that possible?

The Economics of Super Bowl Tickets

In order to understand why the average ticket for this year’s Super Bowl will likely be around $3,000, it helps to understand how prices are established. The NFL commissioner’s office and a group of team owners set all Super Bowl ticket prices.

The NFL keeps 25 percent of the tickets and distributes them to members of the media, advertisers, and others. The remaining 75 percent of the tickets are divided up among the teams involved. Teams usually hold a lottery to sell the tickets allowing season-ticket holders first preference.

Realizing that the number of tickets is fixed is also helpful. There is a limited supply of Super Bowl tickets each year because there are only so many seats in the stadium. This year’s venue, Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida, holds 64,767 (though 80,120 attended the 2013 BCS national championship game).

What really drives up the price of Super Bowl tickets is the demand for them. As ridiculous as this may sound, when the price of any item is set artificially low there will be excess demand. This is the case – and has always been the case – with Super Bowl tickets. The NFL sets a price that is simply too low. While we may not believe it to be true, there are more people wanting to purchase Super Bowl tickets than there are tickets available. When the NFL held a lottery for 500 pairs of tickets in 2001, it received 36,000 applicants. One has better odds of getting into an Ivy League school that winning the chance to buy Super Bowl tickets.

In simple economic terms, this excess demand drives up the price of tickets. That excess demand also creates what is known as a secondary market. For the average person, the secondary market is made up of resellers of tickets – scalpers, licensed ticket brokers, and online auctions. This is an area where one can find even more eye-opening ticket prices.

It would not be surprising to find a Super Bowl ticket purchased in the secondary market for more than $4,000 or $5,000. What may surprise some is that there are tickets in the secondary market that may sell for $500. Think about it. All the people who wanted to make sure they got a ticket paid a nice premium early in order to secure a ticket that might not be available later. As game day approaches, there may be tickets available on the secondary market and sellers are more likely to take a lower price to get rid of the ticket.

With all of the excess demand for tickets, it a wonder why the NFL does not simply raise ticket prices even more. It’s hard to imagine, but it could happen. Super Bowl ticket prices have increased dramatically through the years and continue to go up. For how long is anyone’s guess.

Author Andy

Hi I'm Andy and as a regular bettor on sports I know where to spot a good sportsbook sign up deal. With over 25 years of placing wagers on horse racing and football I can lend my expertise to writing and advising you on everything sports and NFL betting. To your success.

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