Football Image Gallery
Football Image Gallery

Tickets for Super Bowl XLIV between the Indianapolis Colts and the New Orleans Saints. See more football pictures.

Michael Heiman/Getty Images

Super Bowl tickets are notoriously difficult to get, even for people who have plenty of expendable income. The big game is one of the most-watched events on television each year, but that piece of paper that says you have access to actually see the championship in person is what football fans really want -- a fact that drives up demand and competition.

If you're looking to get into the Super Bowl, you have to plan ahead and be prepared to drop some serious cash. Face value for tickets varies by year, but there's an unmistakable upward trend in cost since the event was created.

If you wanted to get into the very first Super Bowl in 1967, which pitted the Kansas City Chiefs against the Green Bay Packers, you would have paid $6 to $12 for a ticket. By Super Bowl XV, the average ticket price had risen to $40. Fifteen years later at Super Bowl XXX, the average price to get in the gates was $300. By the time the New Orleans Saints lined up against the Indianapolis Colts in 2009, the face value for tickets had reached $500 for the "cheap seats" and $1,000 for a prime spot [source: Passy].

Face-value tickets are not easy to come by, though. There is no direct way for the public to purchase tickets for the Super Bowl. Instead, people have to enter their name in a lottery for a chance to win the opportunity to purchase tickets from the NFL.

There is one way you might get into the Super Bowl without taking out a loan or cashing in your 401k: a sweepstakes. Each year, a few major contests are organized to give away tickets to the big game. Pepsi, the United Way, Snickers, GMC and the NFL itself hold such sweepstakes. Of course, there's no guarantee you'll be the lucky winner. In fact, your odds are quite small.

If you've decided you'd like to try your hand at getting tickets, you'll need to know when and where they become available. Go long and we'll pass you the information on the next page.