It is no secret that attending Super Bowl Sunday in person is WAY expensive, and can cost you $20,000 to enjoy the game in style.
Attending the biggest game of the NFL season was not always this expensive though.
You might be as surprised as I was when I took a closer look at ticket costs.
Ticket prices for Super Bowl I
The very first Super Bowl was held in Los Angeles, California in 1967. The Green Bay Packers overpowered the Kansas City Chiefs in this historic game and won 35-10. Kansas City scored all their points in the second quarter!
It was a blowout….
But for the fans who had purchased tickets to the game inside the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, they were able to attend the game for less than twenty bucks. In fact, the average ticket price for the inaugural Super Bowl game was $12.
That’s right! You could go to the Super Bowl for less for $12.
And in 1967, 61,946 people did just that.
Ticket prices over 50 years later – Super Bowl LIV
In this Sunday’s big game, the Kansas City Chiefs will face off against the San Fransisco 49ers.
If you had planned to be one of the fans sitting in the stadium, you needed to be prepared to shell out a significant amount of cash. The face value of Super Bowl LIV tickets started this year at $1,295. However, that is just for the ‘cheap seats.’ If you had wanted to experience the game from the lower decks or with the comforts of a box office, then the price is significantly more. The highest face value ticket is $5,000 for a seat in the Delta Sky360 Club.
Unfortunately, every year it’s next to impossible to find tickets at face value. The only people eligible for face-value tickets are season ticket holders of the teams on the field. Even season ticket holders are placed into a lotto to win one of the 65,326 seats with no guarantee that they will have the opportunity to buy tickets at face value. With that, most tickets are no longer available at face value.
Scrounging the secondary market for a deal is not always easy; secondary market prices climbed well past the $5,000 mark. In fact, the tickets were selling for an average of $9,000 on the Wednesday before the game. The most expensive ticket available for Super Bowl LIV on SeatGeek was $39,165. At those prices, you could find yourself deciding to attend Super Bowl LIV or make a solid down payment on your first home!
Historically, ticket prices have dropped in the days before the game. However, this year the ticket prices have seemed climb in the days before kickoff.
Ticket prices through the years
Let’s take a closer look at the most affordable face value of Super Bowl ticket prices through the years.
|Super Bowl Year||Average Ticket Prices|
Now, let’s sink our teeth into the inflation factor.
Although rising popularity for the league plays a role in the rising costs, it is not the only culprit. Inflation is also contributing to the rising costs of attending a Super Bowl game.
Take a closer look at the ticket price for the first Super Bowl in 1967. If you adjust the original ticket price of $12 for inflation, it would cost $93.19 in today’s dollars. $93 is a sharp drop from today’s base ticket prices of over $1,000. With that, inflation cannot be entirely blamed for higher ticket prices. Instead, a dedicated fan base and an overall rise in league popularity are considered to be a big factor for the higher prices.
Why have ticket prices dramatically increased over time?
It is clear that the ticketing landscape for the Super Bowl has dramatically since 1967. Some ticket prices soaring far beyond what some people can afford to pay for a new car. It can be truly astounding to realize that some people are able and willing to pay these kinds of prices to attend a once-in-a-lifetime event.
Let’s take a closer look at the reasons behind skyrocketing ticket prices.
The National Football League has risen in popularity over the years. Although many people liked football in the 1960s, today there is a die-hard fan base supporting their favorite NFL team. Not only is it more popular to support your team, but it can be a fun social event that becomes a part of your life. People tie themselves to a team and feel obligated to support the players all the way to the Super Bowl.
For Super Bowl LIV, part of the demand is likely due to the Kansas City Chief fans. They haven’t seen their team play in a Super Bowl game since 1970. So no surprise that after a decades-long dry spell, these fans are ready to attend the game at any cost.
Of course, the viewers in the stands are not the only fans watching the game. In fact, last year almost 98 million people watched the game from home.
Halftime show cost
In the early years of the super bowl, the halftime show was marching bands but halftime has only been on the up since then. No surprise here – the complexity of halftime has lead to more expensive entertainment for Super Bowl viewers.
Although the performers are not paid for the halftime show, and the show is only 12 to 15 minutes long most year, total costs can easily exceed $10 million dollars. So this easily is a factor in having driven up ticket prices.
Ad time – 1967 vs. 2020
In case you were as curious I was – how much has a commercial spot changed over the year?
This year, advertisers will pay $5.6 million for 30-second spots during the Super Bowl. Millions of dollars is a big jump from the commercial costs for the first Super Bowl.
Of course, the cost of ad time increased slowly over time. The 1995 Super Bowl marked the first time that advertisers had to pay an average of $1.15 million for a 30 second commercial.
There ain’t no other way to spin it: the Super Bowl is a crazy expensive (okay, a small fortune!) football game and most Millennials like myself have decided to watch the game from home.
It’s only if your team is in the Super Bowl that you might feel so inclined to try to get to the game.
But if spending thousands of dollars on a game ticket is not in your cards, then you are SO not alone. You can still enjoy the game from the comfort of your own home without destroying your short or long-term savings goals.