Tickets are still available for this weekend's Super Bowl XLVI. You just won't be able to get them without paying a stiff premium over face value. Three days before the big game, a seat in the first row on the 40-yard line was going for $16,500 (U.S.) on StarOneTickets.com, one of Canada's largest ticket brokers.
A quick search on their site for game day tickets shows that you can also purchase the use of a private jet for as much as $72,000 with seats for 16. A 35-person field level suite will set you back $470,000. But in fairness, that includes catering.
If you have a lower price point in mind, the cheapest seats I could find were $2,340 in section 636, row 20. That is, if you want to watch the game in the stadium. You also have the ability to buy your way into the Playboy Party ($1,500) or the Maxim Tailgate Party ($1,020). As for parking, a valet lot six blocks from the stadium will set you back $360.
It's pretty amazing that anyone would pay $360 for valet parking and then walk six blocks to an event, but it might help explain why the boost to the local economy hosting the Super Bowl ranges from $150- to $250-million.
While the existence of ticket brokers and scalpers is the subject of many barstool economics debates, they aren't going away any time soon. In many cases, you're paying a premium in exchange for not getting in on the initial public offering of tickets for a hot event. But sometimes those IPOs don't work out, and in the secondary market the price can drop. Just like stock market IPOs.
For example, I've personally used a ticket broker a few times and if the weather is bad and a bad team is in town on a weekday, I've been able to get a ticket for almost 50 per cent off the face value if I'm available at the last minute. The demand for tickets may be very low for various reasons and if a season ticket holder contracts through a ticket broker to sell off any tickets for games they are not attending, they would be happy to get something instead of nothing.
Personally, I'll go to maybe one basketball game or hockey game per year as I'm not a super fan. There is something about seeing sports being played at the highest level in the flesh, but after food and parking it can be incredibly expensive. So I don't mind waiting for an opportunity to save big bucks.
Watching your home team play the league's worst team may not have the electricity of a battle between long-time, bitter rivals pursuing a playoff berth, but the bigger the draw, the bigger the premium.
Supply and demand: It gets ya every time.