LAS VEGAS– Super Bowl ticket prices remain out of reach for many fans who booked a trip months ago to come to Las Vegas this week. So they will probably watch on television like millions of others.
This is very good for many of them. They find other ways to have fun.
The NFL experience felt like a fan convention with crowds of ticketless people sporting the jerseys of the Packers, Bengals, Steelers, Eagles and more.
They generally had the same story. Their team seemed to have a title shot, so they booked a trip to the Super Bowl in Las Vegas. Their team didn’t make it, but they came anyway. Buying tickets a few days before the match can be expensive. This year, they’ll cost about $7,700, although that’s about $2,000 less than two weeks ago.
Carl Bray, a Cincinnati fan, booked his trip to the Super Bowl two months ago as his Bengals made a small run despite a wrist injury to quarterback Joe Burrow.
“I don’t have any tickets yet, but I got on the flight from the hotel and I was like, ‘Hey, if I commit to something, I’m going to do it,’” Bray said. “Otherwise I’ll just go to MGM or wherever and watch it.”
On Saturday, Bray still couldn’t find a ticket to steal, so he was going to watch the game at a Super Bowl party at the M Resort Spa Casino in nearby Henderson.
Historically, Super Bowl ticket prices have increased slowly but sharply, from $12 for a seat at the Los Angeles Coliseum in 1967 ($108 today) to more than $1,000 for the 2009 Steelers game. and the Cardinals in Tampa.
This week, the average purchase price on Tick Pick reached $9,815 before returning to $7,684 on Saturday morning.
That’s still too steep for Chiefs fan Rick Goff.
He and his young son Zach came to the desert from Kansas City and received Chiefs gear at the NFL Experience, but they won’t be watching their favorite team in person.
“We’re people who can’t afford it,” Rick said.
That doesn’t mean he’s complaining.
The Goffs decided to come to Vegas right after the Chiefs beat the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Championship, making the trip to be surrounded by other Kansas City fans during the week with no real expectation of going to the match.
Eric and Stephanie Hubbard are only a three-hour drive from their home in Southern California and booked their trip after both teams were named. Eric is a 49ers fan and Stephanie is a Chiefs fan, sparking what’s described as a “civil war” for the couple – but the perfect Super Bowl matchup to see in person.
To achieve this, they say they will need a good day at one of the casinos.
“Unless we win $6,000 gambling tonight,” that won’t happen, Eric said Wednesday.
“No, no, no,” Stephanie interjected, “we need $17,000 to buy tickets to the game.”
The couple didn’t hit the jackpot and left on Friday to watch the match at home on the sofa.
Traveling long distances just to watch the big game at one of the casinos is nothing new. Las Vegas has welcomed about 300,000 visitors during recent Super Bowls, according to the Las Vegas Convention Visitors Authority Research Center.
This weekend, Las Vegas is expected to welcome 330,000 visitors for the Super Bowl, about five times the capacity of Allegiant Stadium, generating $600 million in economic activity in Southern Nevada.
Delmas Crum, like many, planned the trip before knowing who would be in the Super Bowl. He is a New York Jets fan and booked his trip ahead of Week 1 and Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ Achilles injury.
Crum came with his father, Troy, who is an Indianapolis Colts fan. They’re not going to pay the price to attend the Super Bowl in person, but they came anyway because of the lure of Las Vegas and sports betting.
“At least it’s a Vegas vacation,” Delmas said. “A trip to Vegas and also a Super Bowl happening here, so we can bet on it and watch it and have a good time enjoying the atmosphere.”
Spencer Ripchik is a student at the John Curley Center for Sports Journalism at Penn State.
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