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Super Bowl Becoming a Buyer's Market

Jason Notte
The breath of Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning exhales as he talks to the media after NFL football practice at the team's training facility in Englewood, Colo., on Thursday, Jan. 23, 2014. The Broncos are scheduled to play the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVIII on Feb. 2. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

PORTLAND, Ore. (TheStreet) -- As with any other commodity, tickets to Super Bowl XLVIII require a working knowledge of their market's supply, demand and timing.

"I know a guy" isn't going to do you a whole lot of good unless that guy you know happens to occupy a prime corner office.

As the rest of the country spent the days after the conference championships arguing the merits of Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman's postgame interview and the intentions of Denver Broncos receiver Wes Welker after his old coach accused him of purposely injuring a player, Super Bowl tickets have been making their way through the secondary market. The game is sold out, but Reuters spotted more than 12,000 tickets on resale sites such as eBay's Stubhub as of Sunday.

At the time, the average resale price of those tickets was $3,935, as reported by Forbes. It dropped to $3,721 by Monday and to $3,676 by Tuesday. That's still well above the face value of $500 to $2,600, and no ticket has sold for less than $2,000 yet. It would also be the highest average ticket price in Super Bowl history if it held. The current titleholder is the average $3,649 paid by fans who wanted to see the Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers square off in Super Bowl XLV.

That potential has a bunch of holders and brokers feeling lucky, with the average asking price quoted by TiqIQ -- which tracks various ticket resale sites -- increasing from $4,015 on Monday to $4,525 on Wednesday. Consensus is that they should sell while they can. A report from found that the number of tickets on the market increased by nearly 3,000 on Monday afternoon alone. Super Bowl host site MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., holds 82,000 fans, which gives the Seahawks and Broncos faithful a few thousand reasons to be patient.

Then there's the simple fact that it plays out this way every year. Last year, for example, fans from San Francisco and Baltimore bought tickets for an average of $3,445 immediately after the conference championship games, but saw the average price drop to $1,551 by game day. A spokesman from TiqIQ suggested earlier this week that a $1,500 price for upper-level seats by next week should be reasonable.

Besides, it's not as if many other options exist. At the margins, the NFL is keeping tight tabs on its low-end $500 tickets. Reselling those isn't really an option, as they're not available until the fan who buys them gets inside the stadium security perimeter. Even that guy you know in the corner office isn't getting a break, as companies and corporate clients are also dealing with a secondary market that's elevated the price of a luxury suite to more than $1 million.

So what should a fan do? The folks at ticket resale tracking site SeatGeek assured Seahawks fans reading the Seattle Business Journal that about about 2,000 to 3,000 more tickets tend to show up within the two weeks after the NFC championship, while prices drop off by 40% to 50% during that span. There's a lot to be said for the peace of mind that comes with having tickets in hand, but it pays to get even a slight discount to this big-ticket event.

As it stands, a Seahawks fan leaving Seattle for any New York airport is going to pay $460 at a minimum to do so, according to Forbes. That's for a Thursday arrival with connecting flights. Fly in on Friday non-stop and you're up to nearly $1,200. Denver's hub gets a nearly 88% discount over Seattle, but the cheap Thursday option still costs $250 one-way. Throw a hotel within five miles of the game into the mix and you're adding between $180 and $340 per night.

That's terrible news for buyers, but a great opportunity for folks on the supply side. As we've noted before, a huge vacation rental market has emerged in New York and North Jersey in the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl. Those rentals can save Super Bowl travelers cash in some cases, but can also bring in a tidy little income for homeowners confident in their home insurance and willing to clear out of the area before the mayhem begins.

There's still money to be made off the Super Bowl for those with tickets and places to stay, but the window for the biggest returns is closing. If frugal fans can hold out until after the Pro Bowl on Sunday, there's still a chance to minimize the Super Bowl damage.

-- Written by Jason Notte in Portland, Ore.

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