NFL Attendance And Ticket Prices Continue to Trend Upward


As the interminable political season gears up and the economy remains a hot-button issue, the NFL is one organization that continues to have little worries about how it’s affected by the nation’s volatile market.


In fact, with record profits and popularity at an all-time high, the league is apparently indestructible, regardless of what its commissioner may say or do.

Perhaps nowhere is this more apparent than with game attendance, which has reached the point where a typical middle-income family now needs to budget months in advance to afford.

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But even with the significant spike in ticket prices, a struggling economy and countless outlets to gain access to viewing games, fans continue to pour into the stadium, with all but four teams reaching at least 90 percent capacity so far this season. Why?

“It is a fact that there are more options to watch games on TV, streaming services, et cetera,” said Eric Kissel, CEO and founder of A Place For Tickets, and online ticket broker. “However, there is no substitute for the live, in-game experience. Many fans that attend NFL games are eager to be a part of the crowd. This includes everything from tailgating to the NFL experience that most teams provide pre-game.”

Through six weeks, the average price for an NFL regular season ticket is once again trending higher than the previous year, when it was $84.83, which itself was a 4.4 percent increase from the season prior, according to Howard Bloom at Sporting News. Just nine years ago, the average ticket cost was $62.38, and prices have increased on average by more than 30 percent since.

Statistics gathered by Team Marketing Report for the New York Daily News showed that the defending champion New England Patriots enjoyed the highest average ticket price in the NFL at $122 per ticket, while the Cleveland Browns had the lowest with an average cost of $54.20.

With record-high prices, the league is also seeing record-high resale value. According to TiqIQ, a secondary ticket market search engine, NFL tickets on the resell market increased by 26 percent in 2014.

However, those are just the face-value tickets. Go online and the average $88 that the St. Louis Rams tickets are fetching on the secondary market are the only seats close to that face-value price, and are still above the team’s $74 face-value average.

The Most In-Demand NFL Tickets for 2015 Season (*Source =

Ticket Price
Chicago Bears at Green Bay PackersLambeau FieldNovember 26$499
Green Bay Packers at Denver BroncosSports Authority Field At Mile HighNovember 1$494
New England Patriots at Denver BroncosSports Authority Field At Mile HighNovember 29$440
Pittsburgh Steelers at New England PatriotsGillette StadiumSeptember 10$436
Philadelphia Eagles at Washington RedskinsFedex FieldOctober 4$394
Pittsburgh Steelers at Seattle SeahawksCenturyLink FieldNovember 29$391
Seattle Seahawks at Green Bay PackersLambeau FieldSeptember 20$390
Chicago Bears at Seattle SeahawksCenturyLink FieldSeptember 27$352
San Francisco 49ers at Seattle SeahawksCenturyLink FieldNovember 22$337
New England Patriots vs. Philadelphia EaglesGillette StadiumDecember 6$321

With the emergence of technology, there are now many online ticket resellers. StubHub, Ticketmaster, Fanxchange and many more offer the opportunity to buy tickets conveniently online. Tickets are then mailed to the purchaser or available immediately for downloading and printing.

In 2011, Ticketmaster estimated 20 percent of tickets they sell are resold. In its 2013 annual report, ticket seller LiveNation estimated reselling to be a $9 billion market. And yet one of the ironies of ticket reselling is the NFL and other professional sports provide services for their ticket holders to resell their tickets.

Worse, many fans who purchased tickets from brokers or resellers weeks or months before the game did not get them. Darren Rovell at ESPN reported that some brokers and resellers didn’t ever have the tickets they sold. This is because they engage in short selling. They sell tickets for a certain amount then buy them for less as the event nears. They then deliver to the buyer once they receive the tickets.

This ensures profits for the resellers. But this year, many couldn’t get tickets for the price they promised their buyers. So the buyers are out of luck.

November 20, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders fans celebrate during the second quarter against the Kansas City Chiefs at Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

This is why sports marketing companies such as Hardwired Marketing Group do their due diligence when selecting the proper conduit for their own clients. Its president, Peter Kahn, claims  these unsavory practices have forced them to become more selective about their brokers.

“When it comes to high-end events, it’s absolutely critical that we follow through for our clients,” Kahn said. “We have been working with A Place For Tickets for over a decade to secure the entire Super Bowl experience for our clients. This includes everything from hotel, tickets, access to NFL sponsored events as well as non-sponsored events hosted by current and former NFL stars.”

He added that Hardwired Marketing Group is already fielding requests from its clients for Super Bowl 50 in Santa Clara.

“For some reason, Super Bowl 50 is already garnering a lot of interest from our corporate clients,” noting that the lure of both a new stadium and the fact that it’s the 50th Super Bowl are likely contributors. “There’s a vibe about this year even though we’re four months away. A Place For Tickets has such a strong network, that it allows us to utilize them as a one stop shop for Super Bowl week.”

The law differs from state to state, but with the advent of online ticket resellers, the practice as well as profits will only continue to grow.

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