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Super Bowl ticket prices surge for battle in Florida

Miami will host the Super Bowl for a record 11th time when the San Francisco 49ers meet the Kansas City Chiefs on Feb. 2 at Hard Rock Stadium. Photo by Alex Butler/UPI
Miami will host the Super Bowl for a record 11th time when the San Francisco 49ers meet the Kansas City Chiefs on Feb. 2 at Hard Rock Stadium. Photo by Alex Butler/UPI

MIAMI, Jan. 24 (UPI) -- Fans who plan to attend Super Bowl LIV between the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers in Florida on Feb. 2 will pay much more than in previous years as ticket prices surge to unprecedented levels.

The average price on the resale market for Super Bowl LIV is 32 percent more than last year, according to the NFL's official ticketing partner, Ticketmaster.

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Super Bowl LIII tickets in 2019 cost an average of $6,740, but that has jumped to $8,904 this year. That's also an enormous amount more compared to what fans spent when the Chiefs played in 1970's Super Bowl IV -- their most recent appearance.

Tom Henschel, 77, paid $15 for his ticket to that game, in which the Chiefs beat the Minnesota Vikings at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans. He plans to be in Miami to continue his streak.

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"The first three Super Bowl tickets were $12 each," said Henschel, who has attended every championship game. "They went to $15 for five years. Then they went to $20, $30, $40 and more."

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Henschel lives in the Tampa, Fla., area, and is one of three living members of the Never Miss A Super Bowl Club. He owns every program and ticket from his 53 Super Bowls. "If I ever lost them, it would be like losing my arms," Henschel said.

Rising prices

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Super Bowl ticket prices have continued to rise, reaching an average face-value price of $1,000 in 2008, with the secondary market cost significantly higher.

The last time the 49ers played in the Super Bowl, in 2013, average ticket prices reached $3,673 on the secondary market after the NFC Championship. And that was cheap by today's standards.

"The Super Bowl is getting to the point where it's not for the average, die-hard fan," said Henschel, who has a deal with the NFL to pay face value for his tickets. "It's for the rich and famous." Face value usually means $1,000 to $2,000 per ticket.

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The 49ers and Chiefs will arrive in Florida on Sunday to prepare for the game at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens. A spokesperson for the Miami International Airport said an additional 30,000 to 40,000 passengers are expected to fly in and out of the city daily in the days surrounding the game. That includes fans, VIPs, league officials and media from around the world.

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"I would say within 15 minutes of the teams being chosen, people were on the internet and booking their plane seats," said Sylvia Berman from Post Haste Travel agency in Hollywood, Fla. "The airplane seats probably went within a half hour."

Getting a ticket sometimes means having to buy a package deal from agencies that have purchased blocks of tickets. On Point Events, for example, offers packages that range from $5,000 for one person to more than $100,000 for two people. The base package includes hotel, airport transfer, transportation to the game, a tailgate with food and drinks and an upper-level ticket.

"You get a lot more value by getting a package," On Point Events owner Philippe Tanguy said. "Can you go and put it together yourself? It's possible. But if you are looking for the best experience and best value, the package deal is the way to go."

Posh packages include the best seats in the stadium, a suite in one of Miami's best hotels, private transportation, access to celebrity parties, table service and more.

Taguy estimates 20 percent to 30 percent of the total tickets in the stadium are bought and resold by agencies. He said most of his sales for this game came from Chiefs fans.

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NFL packages

The NFL offers fans ticket packages from about $4,000 to $30,000 with its On Location Experience. Included are pregame parties with "NFL legends." Several hundred tickets still are available.

Chiefs fans most likely will outnumber 49ers fans because it's only about 1,460 miles from Kansas City, Mo., to the Miami area, while San Francisco is some 3,100 miles away.

As with many major events, counterfeit tickets will frustrate and anger some people headed to the game. About 11 percent of buyers have unknowingly purchased fraudulent NFL tickets within the past five years, according to a Ticketmaster survey of 100 fans from each team.

That same survey also found that the Super Bowl is a super attraction for NFL fans. Some 35 percent would give up drinking alcohol for a year and 21 percent would give up their vacation days to watch their team play live in the big game.

The NFL has a long history of hosting in Miami -- 10 times previously -- and has a healthy budget when funding the annual event.

"Obviously it's a major investment to put on a Super Bowl, but it's the Super Bowl," said Eric Finkelstein, NFL senior director of event operations."

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The NFL will splurge to make the experience special for fans as the league celebrates its 100th anniversary. Finkelstein declined to reveal how much the league is spending, but did say the NFL makes an investment to make the game as big as possible.

"We are prepared to put on an amazing show and get everything ready with what should be an amazing matchup between two great teams," Finkelstein said. Halftime will feature Shakira and Jennifer Lopez, and Demi Lovato will sing the national anthem before the teams take the field.

Also, the NFL is planning more outside-the-game attractions than any other Super Bowl.

Parties galore

More than a dozen parties are planned starting Wednesday, and several feature big-name celebrities including Lizzo, DJ Khaled, Maroon 5, Snoop Dogg, Guns N' Roses, Harry Styles, Shaquille O'Neal, Pitbull, Lil Wayne, Black Eyed Peas and Lady Gaga.

The popularity of football has filled the NFL coffers, so spending lavishly for Super Bowl events doesn't make league executives blink twice.

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Bloomberg reported the league had $15 billion in revenue during the 2018-2019 season. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in 2010 the league was targeting $25 billion by 2027.

And Miami remains a popular venue in the league's eyes. Among the many reasons is the weather, with the temperature expected to be around 70 degrees at kickoff.

"There is a reason why we keep coming back," Finkelstein said. "It's a perfect setting for what will be a great matchup."

NFL season highlights

San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan raises the George Halas Trophy with broadcaster Terry Bradshaw after winning the NFC Championship at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., on January 19, 2020. The 49ers defeated the Green Bay Packers 37-20. Photo by Terry Schmitt/UPI | License Photo

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