Sunday’s Super Bowl could be the most expensive to attend in history, with a number of factors influencing the secondary market to the point that even the cheapest tickets were fetching more than $9,000. To help analyze the Super Bowl ticket and suite market, the Star Tribune’s Michael Rand chatted with Todd Lindenbaum, the CEO of SuiteHop — a website that deals in luxury suites.
Q How is the suite market, and ticket market in general, different at this year’s Super Bowl vs. some in the recent past?
A On the highest level, the Super Bowl market for tickets and suites, this has been the most unprecedented high-demand ticket ever for a Super Bowl. Normally, the prices decrease leading up to game time. That’s been the pattern for the last seven or eight years. But a bunch of ticket brokers were shorting the market, selling tickets assuming they would be able to buy them cheaper, and that didn’t happen. So now the prices are going way up. Suites are a little different. The NFL controls most of the suites. … There are only  suites at the University of Phoenix Stadium. The last suite I knew of that was available was last week, and it sold for $375,000 for 18 people. The market is extremely tight. Last year in New York there was three times the number of suites. The Friday before the game, they were selling for $200,000 and less.
Q What kind of fan is looking for a suite at the Super Bowl or another big-time event?
A It’s generally not a fan. It’s generally a corporation. It’s companies whose customers are worth millions or billions of dollars to them, so they can justify the expense of bringing them to the Super Bowl. We did sell, for the [College Football Playoff] championship game, a suite to a fan who was an Ohio State booster. They paid $85,000 for a 20-person suite.
Q You’re dealing with much higher-end inventory on a secondary market than, say, even buying nice seats in a regular section. Does that limit the number of events that create real interest in suites?
A For the super-high-demand events, it really has become the domain of corporate America. But suites for normal games actually are pretty affordable. If you’re talking about the Twins or Wild, you definitely get people hosting a birthday party or just regular fan experiences.
Q The new Vikings stadium is scheduled to host the Super Bowl in three years. It will have 131 suites, according to the Vikings website. What factors will influence the ticket and suite market here?
A It will be interesting. With New York being a cold-weather Super Bowl, they were predicting snow and it definitely impacted the market. People from Denver did not travel very well for the game, and I’ll bet they’re glad they didn’t. So the cold weather will be a factor with the suite market. And the pretty small inventory of suites compared to MetLife Stadium or [AT&T Stadium in Texas], it will be a very expensive ticket in Minnesota. Plus you have a big Fortune 500 base there, and those companies are going to want to be participating in their back yard.