A couple years ago, my coworker and I were discussing our bucket lists, you know, the list of things you want to accomplish or see before you die. He mentioned his dad’s biggest wish was to go to the Super Bowl, and we got on the topic of buying Super Bowl tickets. All we knew about buying Super Bowl tickets was that it is very expensive, and it helps to know someone. So we looked it up for fun. We learned that it is surprisingly easy to buy Super Bowl tickets – if you have the money to buy them on the second hand market! Otherwise, you need to know someone, or have the luck of the Irish!
How to Buy Super Bowl Tickets
The first thing you need to know is how the NFL distributes Super Bowl tickets. The distribution of Super Bowl tickets goes to a mixture of players, coaches and NFL personnel, season ticket holders, corporate sponsors, and the general public. Here is the Super bowl ticket distribution from Super Bowl XLII:
- AFC Champion — 17.5 percent
- NFC Champion — 17.5 percent
- Host Team — 5.0 percent
- Other 29 Teams — 34.8 percent
- NFL — 25.2 percent
75% of all tickets go to the NFL teams, with each team in the game receiving a total of 35%, the host team receiving 5%, and the rest of the teams receiving just over 1% each. The tickets allotted to the NFL are used for corporate sponsors, the broadcast network, affiliated companies, charities, fans, and more.
NFL Random Drawing for Super Bowl Tickets
The only method the NFL has to distribute tickets to the public is through a random drawing; there is no other way for the general public to purchase tickets from the NFL. The NFL also does not sell tickets to travel or ticket agents. The lottery system is free to enter and those selected have the opportunity to purchase up to two tickets at face value. Unfortunately, there is a very limited number of available tickets, some sources stating only 500 tickets are sold to the general public in any given year.
Entries for the random drawing are accepted between Feb. 1 and June 1 of the year preceding the game and winners are notified by mail in October or November. All ticket requests must be sent via certified or registered mail.
To enter into the random Super Bowl Ticket drawing, send a letter to:
Super Bowl Random Drawing
P.O. Box 49140
Strongsville, OH 44149-0140
Please note that only one request per address is accepted and duplicate requests will be disregarded.
Buying Super Bowl Tickets from players and season ticket holders
Most teams give a set number of Super Bowl tickets to their players and personnel, then hold a random drawing for their season ticket holders to distribute the remaining tickets. This can create a secondary market for the tickets. Many of the tickets that end up in the hands of ticket agencies (see below) were purchased from season ticket holders and team personnel. Players and coaches are not permitted to resell their tickets for more than face value, but it happens under the table.
Super Bowl Ticket Trivia: The NFL’s anti-scalping policy was brought to the nation’s attention in 2005 when Vikings head coach Mike Tice was caught scalping his Super Bowl tickets. He was fined $100,000 by the NFL and let go by the Vikings the following season.
Buy from a ticket agency
Every major ticket agency will have Super Bowl tickets. Check out RazorGator, TickCo, StubHub, Ticketmaster. These are reputable companies and offer a guarantee, which is something you won’t get if you are buying them over Ebay, Craigslist, or from a ticket scalper. If you are going purchase Super Bowl tickets online, get them from a reputable agency.
How much do Super Bowl Tickets cost? The rate varies depending on several factors, including seat location, hype for the game, who is playing, venue, etc.
Buy from a Scalper
Caution, caution, caution! Before going this route, be sure you know the laws of the land. Scalping is not legal in every state, so you want to ensure you remain on the right side of the law. Additionally, there may be specific laws against scalping within certain cities or even on the premises of the sporting event itself. Next, recognize that you are dealing with people you don’t know and a lot of cash (try finding a scalper who will accept anything other than cash).
Do your research to find out as much as you can about the current street price of the tickets, and be wary of any seats being sold below the current rate. In short, be prepared to shell out some serious cash. You also want to do as much research as you can regarding the actual tickets. Find out what some of the security features are. Ask the scalper to see the tickets. If they don’t have them available at the moment then ask when you can meet up to see the tickets. (This is common because scalpers often work in teams and don’t want to have thousands of dollars worth of tickets on them all the time). You may wish to see several sets of tickets before you are comfortable you are receiving a legitimate ticket. I’ve heard that some venues and teams offer broker zones, so look into this.
Above all, be cautious. Be careful carrying large sums of cash (arrange to meet the ticket scalper at a predetermined time and place if necessary), and remember that with scalpers, all sales are final.
Photo credit: JohnSeb