, Salem, MA


January 29, 2012

Super prices for NFL's super event

INDIANAPOLIS — The price tag of a prime seat in Lucas Oil Stadium for Super Bowl XLVI is officially $1,000, but cash-rich fans will shell out multiples of that to see the NFL championship game.

Thanks to a thriving and perfectly legal resale market, premium ticket prices for the Feb. 5 event are climbing into the five figures.

While a seat in the stadium's nose-bleed section is going for four times or more its face value of $800, some of the best spots are being resold, online, for $20,000 a pop.

That's chump change for whomever decides to plunk down $1.1 million for the use of a luxury suite in the stadium, advertised on the popular ticket exchange site, Stub Hub, just two weeks before the game.

But it's a lot more money than fans paid to see the first Super Bowl in 1967. Tickets went for $12 for a great seat, and $6 in the cheap-seat sections. This year's halftime show features aging rock icon Madonna. Fans at Super Bowl I were entertained at halftime by a couple of marching bands.

Pro football may be a sport loved by the masses – the NFL sold 17 million tickets last year and it has its own official beer sponsor, Bud Light. But ticket-pricing experts say the Super Bowl has become an event for people on a champagne budget who can afford its super-sized ticket prices.

"It's a different animal, like no other event in sports," said Joris Drayer, a Temple University assistant professor of sports management who studies sports ticket prices. "When I do my research on this topic, I have to exclude the Super Bowl because it's just so different. It's a spectacle more than a game."

The spectacle of it is beefed up by pricey parties – $1,000 will get you into the "Leather and Laces" soiree hosted by Playboy magazine – and pumped up prices for hotel rooms, parking spots and bar cover charges.

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