As weather forecasts for the weekend continue to improve, it appears Mother Nature won’t have as much of an impact on Super Bowl XLVIII as football fans may have feared.
But the weather is continuing to have an effect on the price of secondary–market tickets for Sunday’s game.
The better forecasts have coincided with increased demand for game tickets, calming initial fears that interest in attending the first cold-weather Super Bowl had plummeted.
In the 10 days between the AFC and NFC conference championship games and Wednesday, the average ticket on the secondary sales market sold for $2,595, according to the ticket resale search engine SeatGeek. That is up from $2,388 during the same span leading up to last year’s Super Bowl, which was played in the covered Superdome in New Orleans.
Meanwhile, the website estimated there were about 11,250 unique tickets listed on the secondary market Thursday, down from 16,500 on Wednesday and 19,000 on Monday–a sign that action has increased in recent days.
This uptick has kept pace with an anticipated dramatic rise in temperatures: As of Thursday, the National Weather Service was calling for a high of 51 degrees in East Rutherford, N.J., on Sunday, with a slight chance of rain. Though the overnight low may dip below freezing, the conditions shouldn’t be a significant factor in determining the outcome of the game.
It remains to be seen whether prices for this year’s Super Bowl will stay ahead of last season’s pace. But no matter what happens from this point forward, the unusual trajectory of how tickets have sold this year has made one thing clear: Not even the Super Bowl is immune to the whims of Mother Nature.
Traditionally, demand for Super Bowl tickets surges immediately following the conference championship round, as fans of the teams involved rush to make their arrangements. That trend held true this year, with ticket prices hitting their highest point in the days directly after the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks won the right to play in the game.
What happened next has little historical precedent. Usually, ticket prices drift downward from that point, because fans of the participating teams quickly decide whether they will go, thereby lowering demand on the secondary market with each passing day.
This year, however, there has been an unexpected surge in prices during the week of the game. On Tuesday, for instance, the average ticket sold for $2,376, up from $2,177 last Friday. Last year, the average ticket on the Tuesday before the game sold for $2,318, compared with $2,924 on the previous Friday.
In fact, this is the first time in three years that the price for tickets five days before the game was higher than the price for tickets nine days before the game.
The data suggest that the prospect of merely going to the Super Bowl wasn’t enough for many fans to spend thousands of dollars and risk the possibility of sitting outside in a blizzard. Instead, “it seems clear that ticket buyers were waiting on the sidelines until a reliable weather forecast was released for Super Bowl Sunday,” SeatGeek spokesman Will Flaherty said.
The ticket patterns for the New York/New Jersey Super Bowl highlight growing questions about how the public consumes NFL games. Increasingly, fans have indicated that they prefer watching football on TV to the in-stadium experience–even for the biggest games.
The average price of Super Bowl tickets on the secondary market has fallen each of the past three years: $3,654 for Super Bowl XLV in Arlington, Texas, $2,953 for Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis and $2,388 for Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans. Before the wild-card round of this season’s playoffs, the NFL had to grant ticket-sale deadline extensions to multiple teams to avoid a TV blackout. (All games were eventually sellouts.)
The Super Bowl is also a sellout. And given the current forecast, the seats at MetLife Stadium will likely be filled.
But would they be if snow were falling at kickoff? For its part, the NFL isn’t worried.
“We don’t get into the secondary market, which sometimes isn’t an indication of demand,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said. “Secondary prices, they ebb and flow.”