On the first Sunday of February, much of the entire world stops and watches the greatest cultural event on the annual calendar: the Super Bowl. However, even though more than 110 million viewers are expected to tune in to CBS's broadcast of the big game, the true Super Bowl experience happens within whichever lucky stadium hosts the storied championship game each year. If you find yourself among those trying to get their hands on the highly demanded tickets for the upcoming February 3rd game -- good luck! Even though the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans can seat a maximum of 76,468 people for an American football game, Super Bowl tickets are very hard to come by.
To truly understand the rarity that is receiving Super Bowl tickets, take a quick gander at this breakdown of tickets that are available in the primary market. When the Super Bowl match up is released, the immediate distribution of tickets works in percentages. First, 17.5 percent of the tickets are allocated to the AFC Champion team and another 17.5 percent to NFC Champion team. With that chunk of the total tickets, the championship teams, the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers, for example, will divide the tickets amongst organization personnel and then the families of players and coaches. The remaining portion of the teams' tickets following that initial distribution goes into a lottery for the teams' season ticket holders to win. Next, 5 percent of the tickets go to the Super Bowl host team. The Saints, for example, will also distribute their tickets in the same fashion that the championship teams this year.
After that, 34.8 percent of the tickets are allocated to every other team in the NFL. Essentially, each NFL organization not playing in or hosting the Super Bowl receives 1.2 percent of the total Super Bowl tickets to divide in whichever way. Some teams will give a small portion to their season ticket holders as well, however the heavy majority of those tickets are given to organization personnel.
The final 25.2 percent of the game's tickets go to the NFL itself. The league of course gives tickets to personnel and funnels tickets to certain media outlets. Interestingly, some of the league's percentage of tickets is also given to some celebrities, sponsors and football icons as well.
So, for the average fan, unless you're an extremely lucky season-ticket holder of a conference champion or host team, there aren't too many other ways to access tickets. But some people who are fortunate enough to win the lottery look to cash in on the opportunity instead of enjoying the experience. When a fan wants to make a little extra off his good luck, he turns to the secondary ticket market and sells his seats to sites like StubHub, Ticketmaster and SeatCrunch.
These tickets are easier to obtain for fans, however they grow much more expensive. According to SeatCrunch, the site initially received 2,092 tickets to sell for an average cost of $3,647 per ticket. That average does not include luxury suites, however, which began selling on SeatCrunch at $420,000 for a 32-person suite. The site also says that tickets can change before the game, and usually fluctuate around 10 percent in the two weeks leading up to Super Bowl Sunday. But, if you want to just simply purchase a ticket for one, you can by a ticket for just over $2,000 on the SeatCrunch -- just prepare for a nosebleed.
If you take a visit to SeatCrunch's Super Bowl page, you can purchase tickets for multiple happenings during the weekend. The page's ticket options vary from the game itself, to Media Day, to even the Maxim Super Bowl party the night before the game. If you're really just craving a taste of that sweet Super Bowl nectar, the sky might be the limit on what you'll do to take in that entire experience.
In retrospect, if you want to get tickets to see the big game up "close" and personal, you need a little bit of luck and a whole lot of patience. But hey, the Harbaugh brothers did the same thing, and look where they'll be on Super Bowl Sunday.