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As the $1,200 price on tickets for Super Bowl XLVI showed, it won't be cheap to attend the big game.

Tim Donnelly, Associated Press

Rand: Super Bowl tickets will be super expensive

  • Article by: Michael Rand
  • Star Tribune
  • May 22, 2014 - 6:29 AM

Getting the Super Bowl in Minnesota is exciting to a lot of us because it means we’re big-time, and it’s nice to be picked instead of passed over.

Beyond the euphoria of getting the 2018 game in Minnesota, though, what does it mean for the average fan? Can you expect to get a ticket if you really want one, and how much will it cost? Let’s delve into some of those questions.

• Before the Super Bowl was the big deal that it is now, getting a ticket was a much different experience. Super Bowl I in 1967 wasn’t even a sellout despite the fact that the cheapest seat went for $6 (about $42 in today’s value adjusted for inflation, but still a relative bargain).

• According to research from the Dallas Morning News, the base ticket price for a Super Bowl ticket was $20 or less until 1977, and it didn’t crack $100 until 1988. The base price for the only other Super Bowl in Minnesota, in 1992 between Buffalo and Washington, was $150. In recent years, the base price typically has been somewhere between $500 and $600 — outpacing inflation more than tenfold if we go back to that original Super Bowl.

• So with more than three years to plan, just save about a thousand dollars and you can get a pair of tickets, right? Sorry, but it doesn’t work that way. the New York Times reported in January that about 75 percent of the tickets are divided between the 32 teams, with 17.5 percent each going to the two participants and 6 percent to the host team (the Vikings in the case of 2018). Almost all the rest of the tickets are kept by the league to dole out to the media and corporate bigwigs.

Only 1 percent are available to the general public, according to the Times, and the only way they can get the tickets is by entering a lottery that ends in June — roughly eight months before the Super Bowl and three months before the season even starts. Fans can also get lucky through lotteries held by individual teams, but the bottom line is it’s very hard to get a face-value ticket.

• But if you are willing to pay a premium, Super Bowl tickets can be yours. Fans for the most recent Super Bowl, in New York, paid $2,000 and up on secondary markets.

Ticket prices in Indianapolis (2012) and New Orleans (2013), which could be better comparables to Minnesota, fell as low as $1,200 for the worst seats, but even those prices are generally inflated much higher than their face value.

Long story short: for most fans, the Super Bowl here will either be very expensive or familiar: watching the game on TV just like everyone else.

© 2014 Star Tribune