How to Get Super Bowl Tickets

By: Thorin Klosowski & John Donovan  | 
Super Bowl tickets
Face value for Super Bowl LIV tickets between the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Feb. 2, 2020, was $950. But fans paid between $4,220 and $60,000 to actually see the game in person. Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Super Bowl tickets aren't like concert tickets. You can't camp out the night before or constantly refresh your computer screen waiting for them to go on sale. The system for distributing and selling Super Bowl tickets is closely controlled by the NFL, and the best way to get a ticket is either to be related to Tom Brady or cough up a lot of money. Or both.

In 2022, even that might not be enough.

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The Super Bowl is maybe the hottest ticket in entertainment. It's consistently the most-watched sporting event on television in the United States. The Super Bowl has become, for a long time now, a national spectacle, expanding to include days of special events in the host city. Ticket prices have expanded right along with it.

Tickets to the very first Super Bowl in 1967 cost an average of $10 (more than $83 in 2022 money). In the year 2000, Super Bowl tickets still averaged less than $500 when adjusted for inflation. But in the last two decades, ticket prices have risen astronomically, and fans often pay double or triple face value — sometimes even more — on the secondary market [source: DePietro].

Until recently, regular football fans could enter a lottery to buy Super Bowl tickets at face value. But that lottery is mostly gone now, except for fans with disabilities [source: NFL]. Now, whatever seats the NFL makes available are sold at a hefty face value through its teams, the league's official marketing partner or at a steep markup via ticket brokers on the secondary market.

The first problem, though, is finding a ticket. How does the NFL divvy up Super Bowl tickets, and who has the best chance of scoring a seat to the big game?

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How Does the NFL Distribute Super Bowl Tickets?

SoFi Stadium
Super Bowl LVI 2022 will be played at the newly built SoFi Stadium in the Los Angeles suburb of Inglewood. Tickets will be hard to get for the average fan. Wikimedia/(CC BY-SA 4.0)

In a normal year, the NFL distributes a certain number of Super Bowl tickets to each of the 32 NFL teams. Historically, the two teams playing in the Super Bowl split 35 percent of the tickets. Another big chunk goes to the host team; in 2022, that's the Rams of Los Angeles, who welcome players and fans for the game Feb. 13, 2022. Each of the other teams in the league receives a smaller share of the total ticket allotment. Every team figures out how to split up its tickets among coaches and players, other team personnel, team season-ticket holders and various other team loyalists.

Historically, about 25 percent of the tickets are held back for the league, which it distributes to its rich and powerful friends, leaving a very limited amount to sell to the general public through the NFL's On Location Experiences [source: Breech].

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That has changed some lately. After a 2020 season played amid the coronavirus pandemic, the 2021 Super Bowl — officially, it was Super Bowl LV — was held at Tampa's Raymond James Stadium, where the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat the Kansas City Chiefs, 31-9. The NFL provided 7,500 free tickets to vaccinated health care workers for that game and freed up an additional 14,500 tickets for others. The decision came after discussions with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Florida Department of Health, and area hospitals and health care systems.

For 2022, tickets might not be as easy to come by at newly built SoFi Stadium in the Los Angeles suburb of Inglewood. And that's despite a seating capacity that might be pushed to 100,000 fans.

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Buying Super Bowl Tickets on the Secondary Market

Super Bowl tickets
Buying Super Bowl tickets from a scalper on the street might not be the best idea. They could be counterfeit. EVA MARIE UZCATEGUI/AFP via Getty Images

It should be clear at this point that getting Super Bowl tickets is incredibly difficult and prohibitively expensive. The only real options this year, and in most years, are to buy them online through the NFL or on the secondary or resale market.

Resellers like StubHub and SeatGeek work by connecting buyers with people who already have Super Bowl tickets. Most often the sellers are team season-ticket holders who won a chance to buy the tickets, at somewhere around face value, through a team lottery. They then turn around and put those tickets up for sale through StubHub or SeatGeek or others. (The sites take a cut of the sales price and sometimes charge fees.)

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Pricing for those tickets is pure supply and demand. Ticket prices go up or down based on the number of tickets available and how many people want to buy them. For example, in 2018 when it looked like the Minnesota Vikings might play in the Super Bowl — becoming the first team ever to play in the big game on its home field — eager Vikings' fans caused ticket prices on the secondary market to spike. When the Vikings lost in the conference championship, though, ticket prices fell precipitously [source: Roberts].

Before the NFL's conference championship games in January 2022 — the winners of the two conference title games advance to the Super Bowl — the cheapest price for a single ticket for Super Bowl LVI on SeatGeek was $5,999. And you had to buy two of them. And pay almost $2,000 in fees on top of that. (You could get a single ticket at that time on SeatGeek, but you would have had to pay more than $6,000 for it. Not including fees.)

The On Location Experiences official ticket packages sold through the NFL — the packages include a ticket along with celebrity-studded events, exclusive entertainment from big-name performers, and the chance to mingle with former athletes — start at $5,822.50 apiece in 2022. The exclusive Club 67 package, which gets you a host of add-ons including catering by Wolfgang Puck, starts at $11,475 per ticket [source: On Location].

Ticket prices on the secondary, re-selling market do fluctuate. They tend to spike right after the conference championships and fall as Super Bowl game day approaches two weeks later. So, if you happen to live in or near the city where one of the conference title games is played, it might be smart to wait until the very end to snag a ticket [source: Goldberg]. You just might score a relative "bargain."

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Originally Published: Oct 13, 2010

Super Bowl Tickets FAQ

Why are Super Bowl tickets so expensive?
The Super Bowl is the most-watched sports event in the United States. Pricing on the secondary market is pure supply and demand. Ticket prices go up or down based on the number of tickets available and how many people want to buy them.
How much is a Super Bowl ticket?
The average Super Bowl ticket costs between $4,000 and $6,000, but that price varies depending on the teams playing and when tickets are purchased.
Do Super Bowl tickets get cheaper closer to the game?
Super Bowl ticket prices on the secondary market historically get lower as game day approaches.

Lots More Information

Related Articles

  • DiPietro, Andrew. "It Only Cost $10 to Attend the First Super Bowl -- Now It's a Fortune." GoBankingRates. Jan. 18, 2018 (Jan. 23, 2018) https://www.gobankingrates.com/saving-money/average-cost-super-bowl-tickets-1967-through-today/
  • Goldberg, Bret. "How to Buy the Cheapest Super Bowl 52 Tickets - a 2018 Guide." TickPick. Jan. 23, 2018 https://blog.tickpick.com/how-to-buy-super-bowl-tickets/
  • Meyersohn, Nathaniel. "Super Bowl LII tickets set to be the costliest ever." CNN Money. Jan. 23, 2018 http://money.cnn.com/2018/01/22/news/super-bowl-ticket-prices/index.html
  • NFL. "Super Bowl Ticket Lottery Updated." Oct. 19, 2017 (Jan. 23, 2018) https://digitalcare.nfl.com/hc/en-us/articles/215348977-Super-Bowl-Ticket-Lottery-UPDATED-10-19-17
  • Roberts, Daniel. "Super Bowl ticket prices are plummeting since Vikings loss." Yahoo! Finance. Jan. 23, 2018 https://finance.yahoo.com/news/super-bowl-ticket-prices-plummeting-since-vikings-loss-eagles-112930425.html
  • Rovell, Darren. "Owners OK On Location Experiences to sell Super Bowl packages." ESPN. May 24, 2016 (Jan. 23, 2018) http://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/15700554/nfl-owners-ok-location-experiences-sell-super-bowl-tickets
  • Tornoe, Rob. "Super Bowl tickets: How Eagles and Patriots fans can buy them." The Philadelphia Inquirer. Jan. 21, 2018 (Jan. 23, 2018) http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/eagles/super-bowl-tickets-eagles-patriots-minnesota-20180121
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