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Super Bowl 2016: Tickets, Date, Location For Next Year's NFL Championship Game
Levi's Stadium will host its first ever Super Bowl in 2016. Photo: Reuters
The 2015 Super Bowl didn’t have a tough act to follow, considering the previous NFL title game was one of the biggest blowouts in Super Bowl history. It will be very difficult for the 2016 Super Bowl to measure up to the New England Patriots’ win over the Seattle Seahawks, which proved to be one of the most exciting and controversial Super Bowls of all-time.
Next year’s game, though, will be historic, no matter how it ends. The 2016 Su per Bowl, also known as Super Bowl 50, is set to take place on Feb. 7, 2016 at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California. The NFL won’t refer to the game as “Super Bowl L,” dropping the Roman numerals, which have been used to describe the previous 49 Super Bowls.
It will be the first Super Bowl ever played at Levi's Stadium, which opened in 2014, as the home of the San Francisco 49ers. The last time California hosted the Super Bowl was in 2003, when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat the Oakland Raiders in San Diego. No team has ever played the Super Bowl in their home stadium, and the 49ers have been given 25-1 odds of winning the title.
The first 35 Super Bowls were played in January, and every Super Bowl since 2004 has been held in February. The 2016 Super Bowl will join 2010 as the latest the game has ever been played in the year. The New Orleans Saints beat the Indianapolis Colts to win their first ever championship on Feb. 7, 2010.
Super Bowl tickets can always be purchased on the secondary market in the two weeks leading up to the game, but doing so will cost fans thousands of dollars. It’s possible to get tickets to the 2016 Super Bowl for face value, though it isn’t likely. Each year, the NFL holds a lottery, giving 500 fans a chance to buy two tickets to the game. Instructions on how to enter the drawing can be found at nfl.com.
Most tickets to the 2016 Super Bowl will be purchased in other ways. The two teams in the big game each get 17.5 percent of the tickets, and the team that hosts the game gets 5 percent of the tickets. The rest of the league’s teams get 1.2 percent of the seats, and the organizations hold lotteries of their own amongst season-ticket holders. The NFL league office has the final 25.2 percent of the tickets.
How much does it cost to go to the Super Bowl?
Published: Feb 3, 2016 9:11 a.m. ET
Average ticket price for Super Bowl 50 tops $5,000
After Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos celebrated an upset over Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, and the Carolina Panthers clinched their spot in the league championship for the first time in 11 years, spirits may have deflated after fans found out just how much it would cost to see the matchup live.
For Super Bowl fans looking to travel to the Bay Area from Denver or Charlotte, N.C. on Saturday, stay in an average Airbnb listing for two nights, attend the game and depart Monday, the cost would exceed $7,300.
The average ticket resale price for a single ticket to Super Bowl 50—hosted by the San Francisco 49ers’ Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., on Feb. 7—was $5,335 on Sunday night, according to ticket search engine SeatGeek. That price went down slightly on Monday to $5,178, but still topped last year’s average of $4,271 and is the highest average resale price recorded since the site began tracking data in 2011.
Most Super Bowl tickets are only available via resale. The NFL distributes a portion of the tickets to the host city and the two competing teams that are available to season ticket holders via lottery. Another portion of the tickets are given out to event sponsors, athletes and ticket brokers, with most ending up on the secondary market. “For the regular fan trying to get to the Super Bowl, getting a ticket at face value is almost impossible,” says StubHub spokesman Cameron Papp. The face value of a ticket to Super Bowl 49 was $2,500, according to the NFL.
Thus far, local demand and Silicon Valley money has been blamed for the record prices. “The San Francisco Bay Area is so incredibly wealthy now, a lot of people with money are interested in going,” says Chris Leyden, a content analyst at SeatGeek.
Nearly one-third of ticket demand came from California before the championship teams had been determined, according to StubHub. That portion could remain high over the next two weeks due to the number of regional transplants in the Bay Area, Papp says.
Despite a relatively smaller fan base compared with franchises like the Patriots or Seattle Seahawks, Leyden says the second highest demand has come from North Carolina since the Panthers beat the Arizona Cardinals in the NFC Championship Game Sunday night. The team has yet to win a Super Bowl and, Leyden says, its 15-1 record this season has fans thinking that “they’re not just buying a ticket for the Super Bowl, they’re buying a ticket to see the Panthers win the Super Bowl.”
Tickets aren’t the only expense on a Super Bowl price tag. For fans who are making the trip from Denver or Carolina, flight and hotel fares can be a considerable expense. As of Monday, the lowest nonstop round-trip fare for a flight from Denver to San Francisco arriving Saturday, Feb. 6 and departing Monday, Feb. 8 cost about $900, while the lowest flight from Charlotte, N.C., cost about $950. Airlines tend to hike up prices in between the host city and championship teams as soon they’re determined while most other fares that weekend remain the same, says George Hobica, founder of airfare deal website Airfarewatchdog.com.
Many hotels within a two-mile radius of the stadium don’t have booking availability during Super Bowl weekend, according to a search of HotelGuides, while last week, Airbnb reported a doubling in searches for accommodations in the area for that weekend. On Monday, the average Airbnb listing in Santa Clara for Feb. 6 to Feb. 8 was $612 a night, with some listings as high as $10,000 for the weekend.
Fans with a lower budget shouldn’t give up hope just yet, Papp says. Though it hasn’t always been the case, ticket prices have historically dropped as the date of the game nears and vendors need to unload tickets. Weather is also a major factor in pricing trends, especially with potential El Niño weather patterns in the region. There is currently a 60% chance of rain forecast for Feb. 7, according to The Weather Channel, which could dampen demand over the next two weeks. “If they’re willing to sit in the rain, some fans could save a lot of money,” SeatGeek’s Leyden says.
Super Bowl commercials: How much does a spot cost in 2017?
The Super Bowl’s commercials have become nearly as big a draw as the game itself. According to Prosper Insights and Analytics, 17.7% of adults say that advertisements are the most important part of the event. The TV broadcast presents a golden opportunity for marketers to reach more than a hundred million Americans (114 million tuned in last year), and such an opportunity does not come cheap.
According to Variety, Fox is charging marketers anywhere between $5 million and $5.5 million for a 30-second ad this year. This cost does not depend on the two teams that actually take the field on Feb. 5 at NRG Stadium in Houston—Fox sold 90% of its commercial slots by December, before the Patriots or Falcons had reached the Super Bowl.
For comparison, the average price of a 30-second ad during Game 7 of this year’s historic World Series was just over $500,000. The price for a similar spot during the 2016 Oscars cost about $2 million.
During last year’s matchup between the Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers, which was broadcast on CBS, a 30-second spot went for up to $5 million, while NBC received an average of $4.5 million for a 30-second commercial in 2015. For the 2007 Super Bowl, the cost was $2.6 million, meaning commercial prices have essentially doubled over the last decade. A 30-second commercial for the first Super Bowl, played in 1967, cost a mere $42,000.
Last year, excluding "free" ads run by CBS and the NFL, 62 total advertisements ran during the telecast. Forty-five of those were 30-second spots and 17 ran for a full minute. If there’s a similar number of 30-seconders this year, Fox could bring in up to $247.5 million just from 30-second ads. Not a bad day at the office.
Super Bowl ticket prices: Average cost for each year's game
The only thing harder than playing your way into the Super Bowl might be buying a ticket.
America's most watched sporting event isn't just a television ratings explosion; it's also an extremely expensive ticket. Face-value tickets to Super Bowl XLIX range from $500 to $1,000, according to internal sales data from Stubhub reported by ESPN. But on the resale market, where all tickets exist at this point, the average price for a ticket if you bought it on Jan. 25 was $5,326.
The resale value jumps not only because of demand, but also because of the intricate workings of ticket brokers and resale websites, as ESPN's Darren Rovell explained. As of Thursday morning, the cheapest ticket just to get in was $8,070.
Of course, these insanely high prices aren't too surprising. It's just part of the trend in exponentially increasing ticket prices for the Super Bowl. In theory, the prices will drop once demand does, but as the country's most popular sport attracts even more eyeballs, one can imagine ticket prices will only go higher.
For perspective, check out the data visualization below. It shows the inflation-adjusted average ticket price for each year's Super Bowl.