There was a time when you could buy a ticket to the Super Bowl - called the AFL-NFL World Championship Game back in the day - for as low as $6. That was Super Bowl I back in 1967, an event that did not even sell out. Maybe people did not want to see the Green Bay Packers, who Vegas odds heavily favoured, beat up the Kansas City Chiefs.
Fast forward to Super Bowl LIV between the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers, and the cheapest tickets listed started at $4250. The most expensive ticket listed for that game was two seats in 72 Club for $60,000. That package did include food, drink, access to the field postgame, and the chance to meet players and celebrities. Surprisingly, the $30,000 per ticket price tag at Super Bowl LIV is not even close to the record.
The sporting event with the record for the most expensive ticket ever is Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor. If you wanted to grab a ringside seat for the match, you needed to shell out up to $115,000. Game 7 of the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics could also make a case for the most expensive tickets ever. The most expensive tickets to that game cost roughly $81,000 per seat, and you had to buy two of them for about $162,000 plus a $15 processing fee.
Super Bowl LV tickets are not yet available. The event, held in Tampa Bay, is reported to have a limited capacity of 20,000 fans. The number of Super Bowl tickets available for purchase is also never known. The NFL distributes tickets to teams and sponsors, who then give them out to friends, family, employees, season ticket holders, contests - basically whoever they want to. The people who eventually get the tickets can either go to the game or sell them.
In 2015, the average number of tickets for sale between 19 and 9 days before the Super Bowl was about 3000 - with tickets sold and new tickets put up for sale in differing amounts every day. The venue for Super Bowl XLIX had a capacity of 70,288. That translates to about 4.3% of seats available, selling for an average price of $5000 over the ten days.
If only 20,000 seats are available - holding everything else constant - there will be a rolling average of 860 tickets for sale leading up to the Big Game. The lower quantity of tickets available will drive up the average price, but for the NFL to set records, they will need some help.
A perfect storm needs to occur for the Super Bowl to break the record for the most expensive tickets ever.
The teams that eventually make the Super Bowl will factor into the price. Some teams with the best Super Bowl odds, such as the Buffalo Bills, come from a smaller market with a regional fanbase. The money in Buffalo and its popularity do not come close to many other NFL markets, making secondary sellers lower their prices.
The Super Bowl needs a match with big market teams, teams with the widest-reaching fanbase, and the game's biggest stars. One matchup - which is funny considering an early point - that could spark plenty of excitement is a Green Bay Packers - Kansas City Chiefs Super Bowl. Neither market is big, but the Packers have legions of fans all over America, and the Chiefs have the biggest star in the game. Other teams - with realistic chances of making the Super Bowl - that could jack up ticket prices include the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Seattle Seahawks.
The NFL will also need the political climate calm and the pandemic not raging. These are two elements out of the NFL controls and difficult to predict after watching the last eight months.
The NFL is also going to need to keep the capacity for the event capped. The two most expensive events ever were held in arenas with capacities of less than 20000. If the capacity for the game increases - Raymond James Stadium at full holds 65,890 people - then there is no way anyone is spending $115,001 on a single ticket for the game.
It would take a lot for the game to set records. A socially distanced luxury box with Iberian ham and beluga caviar. A full-body suit to allow rare access to the field after the game. Who knows what, but it will take a lot to break the record for the most expensive ticket ever sold.