For most people Super Bowl Sunday is a chance to have a couple beers, one too many plates of food, and huddle around a big screen TV with family and friends to see the culmination of the NFL season. Super Bowl Sunday to most has become a quasi-American holiday, the biggest game of the year.
To the ticketing industry it’s anything but a game. The Super Bowl is a marquee event that generates considerable revenue and this year’s Super Bowl was a major touchdown shattering records for average ticket price. And not just Super Bowl records. Ticketmaster reported that Super Bowl LIV broke their record for the most expensive live event EVER with the average ticket going for $8,507.
While most years Super Bowl prices taper off as game day approaches that wasn’t the case this year. “Typically what we see is once the teams get announced, a lot of sales happen, and then the prices start to decrease…this time we have not seen any decrease yet, it’s historic highs” Brett Goldberg, TickPick’s CEO told Yahoo Sports.
While breaking records is always exciting the data poses a couple questions. Why were ticket prices so high this year and what does this mean for future Super Bowl prices? Fluctuating ticket prices are a result of supply and demand and Super Bowl LIV is the perfect example.
Supply was low for a couple reasons. To start NFL On Location Experiences now controls a growing percentage of Super Bowl tickets every year leading to scarcity and allowing the league to better control pricing. In addition, Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Florida is quite small by NFL standards with a capacity of only 65,326 which is the second lowest attendance in Super Bowl history per Ticketing Business News.
Meanwhile the game itself played a large role in boosting demand. The Kansas City Chiefs last appeared in the Super Bowl 50 years ago when they won in 1970. Though the San Francisco 49ers last made the Super Bowl in 2013 they haven’t won since 1994. Combine the Chiefs long drought and the San Francisco market being one of the most financially prosperous in the country many fans were willing and able to travel and pay top dollar for a potentially once in a lifetime event.
Even the half time show played a role with Latin superstars Shakira and Jennifer Lopez appealing to a large Latino demographic living in South Florida. Controlled and limited supply combined with strong fan interest is a powder keg for exploding prices.
The second question to address is will the trend of record-breaking Super Bowl prices continue? The data suggests yes. Per USA Today the most expensive Super Bowls ever have been 2017, 2015, 2018, 2016, 2014 and now 2019. That means that the six most expensive Super Bowls have all taken place in the last six years.
Super Bowl week is becoming bigger and bigger every year with more concerts, more parties, and more activities to keep people engaged. The Super Bowl continues to be in high demand, a destination once in a lifetime event. With the NFL maintaining their hammer lock on the American public and the game slowly gaining interest internationally the high price tag for Super Bowl tickets isn’t going anywhere.