Super Bowl: How and why ticket prices have changed?

January 26, 2015

With Super Bowl XLIX just around the corner, we decided to analyze how ticket prices have been varying as the big game approaches. We have complied sales data from last year’s Super Bowl and this year’s Super Bowl to compare and contrast trends in prices and consumer behavior.


Trends for Ticket Prices:

The first blaring fact is that on average, ticket prices were higher last year as compared to this year. Last year, the average ticket price two weeks before the Super Bowl was $6200. This year the average ticket price two weeks before the game is around $4400. One possible reason is that last year’s Super Bowl was held in New York and a lot of analysts automatically assumed it would be the most expensive Super Bowl in history.

Super Bowl XLIX Prices omparison

Last year ticket prices decreased as the Super Bowl came closer, with average prices falling to a minimum of $3100. However interestingly, this year the average prices seem to be increasing as the Super Bowl draws near. As of January 22nd, the average ticket price has risen to $6350. These opposing trends can be explained by the fact that last year people bought their tickets early to safeguard against any potential price hike. As a consequence sellers were forced to lower prices to ensure they sold the maximum number of tickets prior to the game. This can be reaffirmed by the fact that maximum tickets were sold during Super Bowl week when the average price was at a minimum of $3110. This brings us to the trends in ticket selling.


Trends in Ticket Selling

As the Super Bowl approaches, demand for tickets generally increases. Depending on how many tickets are available in market, prices either increase or decrease. In 2014, the number of tickets available prior to the Super Bowl was much higher as compared to this year. As a result, the price of tickets gradually went down when the Super Bowl approached. The fact that the Seahawks had made it to their first Super Bowl since 2005 also contributed to the rapid tickets sales. Fans rushed to get tickets as prices fell and this explains the sudden rise in the blue line on the graph.

Super Bowl XLIX Tickets Prices

This year, people have been buying Super Bowl tickets evenly throughout the season. As a consequence, with the Super bowl approaching, the number of available tickets has fallen while the demand for tickets has increased. Taking into account the basic laws of supply and demand, ticket prices have increased considerably, reaching a peak of $6350 as of 22nd January.


The Effect of Conference Championship Games on Prices:

Our data shows that as soon as the AFC and NFC championship games concluded the ticket prices suddenly fell. A number of theories were put forward as to why that happened; analysts cited the fact that maybe Seahawk fans didn’t want to attend another Super Bowl after attending last year’s game. Some concluded that the dip in prices resulted because the Patriots’ fans might have decided that attending the sixth Super Bowl in fourteen years would be very expensive. Another reason put forth was that the massive distance between Boston and Glendale would deter casual fans from buying tickets. However, this drop in prices lasted only 24 hours and prices shot back up the next day. As it turned out, this was only an anomaly and these theories were unfounded.

It looks highly unlikely that ticket prices will fall again this year, with some people predicting that this year’s Super Bowl will be the most expensive in terms of average ticket prices in the last five years or so. However it remains to be seen if this actually transpires. One thing this data does show us is that ticket prices and selling patterns are somewhat bucking the trend close to the Super Bowl this year.


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