How to Get Super Bowl Tickets

A fan holds up tickets outside the stadium prior to Super Bowl XLIII between the Arizona Cardinals and the Pittsburgh Steelers on Feb. 1, 2009 in Tampa, Florida. Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Super Bowl tickets aren't like concert tickets, where you can camp out the night before and be first in line when they go on sale. And there's no ticket website that you can refresh a thousand times per minute hoping to get lucky. The system for distributing 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 to cough up a lot of money.

The Super Bowl is the most-watched sports event in the United States and the annual spectacle has expanded to include days of pregame concerts and special events in the host city. And ticket prices have expanded right along with it.

Tickets to the very first Super Bowl in 1967 cost an average of $10 (about $75 in 2018 money). Even by the year 2000, Super Bowl ticket were still averaging less than $500 when adjusted for inflation. But in the last decade, face-value ticket prices have risen astronomically -- to a high of $1,872 in 2016 -- and double or triple those prices on the secondary market [source: DePietro].

Before the 2017-2018 NFL season, regular football fans could enter a lottery to buy Super Bowl tickets at face value. But that lottery is gone now, except for fans with disabilities [source: NFL]. Now only a lucky few season ticket holders will get a chance to buy Super Bowl tickets directly at face value, with most seats being sold at steep markups via ticket brokers. In fact, there are even fewer seats available for resale in 2018, which will likely drive prices to record levels [source: Meyersohn].

Next we'll look at how the NFL divvies up Super Bowl tickets and who has the best chance of scoring a (relatively) cheap seat to the big game.

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