Super Bowl tickets available on secondary market at 'NY inflation prices'

Crew members cover the field with tarp at Crew members cover the field with tarp at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. in preparation for Super Bowl XLVIII. (Jan. 15, 2014) Photo Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams, Jr.

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Who gets first dibs at Super Bowl tickets?

It's a question that the NFL has long wrestled with, especially as it has seen its biggest game evolve into a must-see, pop-culture phenomenon.

The league says it will disperse some 80,000 Super Bowl tickets this way:

The two participating teams -- the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks -- get 17.5 percent each.

The Jets and Giants, as host teams, get 3.1 percent each.

The remaining 28 NFL teams get 1.2 percent each.

The league keeps 25.2 percent of tickets.

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So what about the average football fan?

Of the league's allotment, the NFL says it made 1,000 tickets available to fans via a random lottery. That's double the number the league offered via its lottery for last year's game, a spokesman said.

About 30,000 entries were submitted by mail between Feb. 1 and June 1 and the league said the winners were notified in November. Those fans won the right to two $500 tickets, which is the cheapest ticket available.

But this year, there's a catch. The league says fans who won the right to buy those tickets must use them themselves rather than make a profit by selling to a ticket broker or online. The policy is designed to ensure that true football fans get to experience the Super Bowl.

"We were finding that these winners were quickly putting their tickets online and selling them for three to four times face [value],'' NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said.

This year, McCarthy says lottery-winning fans must pick up their tickets on game day and must walk immediately through stadium turnstiles.

Giants and Jets season-ticket holders also had a chance to buy tickets through their teams, which made some available through a lottery.

Both teams also said they made Super Bowl tickets available to their players, staff, sponsors and business partners.

So just how expensive are tickets to the first Super Bowl to be played outdoors in a cold-weather site?

The NFL says 40 percent of tickets are priced under $1,000. The rest are priced at either $1,200 or $1,500 -- and club seats (read: indoors! heated!) are $2,500, which is twice as much as suites at last year's game in New Orleans.

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Otherwise, if you are still looking for tickets, you're headed to the secondary market. On websites such as eBay, StubHub or aggregator search engines such as TiqIq, tickets are available at significantly inflated prices.

StubHub spokesman Glenn Lehrman said ticket prices there were trending about 20 percent higher than recent Super Bowls during the weeks leading up to the game, which he attributes to -- what else -- the hype surrounding the game being played here.

"I'd call this the New York inflation prices,'' he said.

So it's understandable why fans who won a ticket lottery might have been tempted to sell their tickets to make a fast profit in past years. The going rate this year for those $500 face-value upper-deck tickets on those websites is between $2,000 and $3,000.

The league also runs its own secondary resale market, the NFL Ticket Exchange, but don't expect any discounts there. The cheapest ticket prices have been at least $2,500.

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But if you're going to go the secondary-market route, the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs says to proceed with caution.

"With every Super Bowl, unfortunately you end up hearing stories, sometimes before or sometimes after, of people who purchased counterfeit tickets or fell victims to solicitations to purchase tickets that ultimately were scams,'' consumer affairs director Eric T. Kanefsky said.

Kanefsky said fans seeking Super Bowl tickets from the secondary market should favor either websites that use a ticket-verification software system or brokers who are members of the National Association of Ticket Brokers.

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