Don't get scammed on Super Bowl tickets
Cheap seats clock in at $1,500. Read these tips before you buy.
When does a $1,500 ticket qualify as a bargain?
When it gets you a seat -- any seat -- at Sunday’s New Orleans Saints vs. Indianapolis Colts Super Bowl game in Miami.
There is good and bad news here. On the downside, the average seat is going for $2,500. However, experts who track ticket trends say availability is broader and prices are lower compared with previous years. “There’s a tremendous amount of activity going on,” says Mike Janes, the chief executive of ticket search engine FanSnap.com. “Because of all the potential sellers, there are still about 7,000 tickets available.”
For the best selection, buy before Friday, says Sam Soni, the vice president of procurement for ticket reseller RazorGator.com. Last-minute ticket demand is typically high. “New Orleans being in the game for the first time and (the fan base) being so close to Miami has been a catalyst,” he says. Saints fans have been out-searching Colts fans three-to-one for tickets, and the ability to drive in may influence many to buy.
To get the most for your money, follow these four guidelines.
Scan all available seats. “Within any given section, you’ll see 20%, 30%, even 50% differences in price,” says Janes. On FanSnap.com, for example, there are tickets on the same row in In Lower End Zone 155 for $2,347 and $3,425. That's a difference of 31%. And unless you’re considering seats within a few rows of the field, a more expensive ticket in a particular section doesn’t mean a better view. Some fans set high tipping-point prices intending to use the tickets themselves unless someone makes an offer they can’t refuse.
Compare total costs. Handling fees and shipping can add substantially to the ticket price. Compare total cost when deciding which tickets to buy. “All of a sudden you’re paying 15%, 20% more,” says Robert Tuchman, the founder of sports marketing firm TSE Sports & Entertainment. For example, GoldenTickets.com has two tickets in Row 26 of Upper Sideline 410 for $1,700 apiece. StubHub.com has two in the same row, same section for $1,725. But the seller of the StubHub tickets wants $172.50 in handling fees while GoldenTickets.com asks for none.
Use reputable sites. “Whenever there’s a football game in high demand, you’re going to find someone who tries to take advantage with counterfeits,” says Allison Southwick, a spokeswoman for the Better Business Bureau. Fake tickets can be hard to spot, so buy only from reputable ticket sale sites like StubHub.com, RazorGator.com and the NFL’s own Ticket Exchange (powered by Ticketmaster).
Look for details about how the site confirms ticket validity and what kind of guarantee they offer if the tickets turn out to be fakes or in any way other than described, say seating in a different section, Southwick says. In most cases, sites will try to find you other tickets, but that may not be possible for the Super Bowl, she says.
Pay with credit. “Always use your credit card,” Janes says. That way, you have some recourse to get a refund after ticket problems even if the reseller’s site guarantee fails. Whatever you do, don’t pay by wire transfer, which is as untraceable (and as unprotected) as paying with cash. Southwick says many scammers pose as ticketholders who are on vacation abroad requesting payment via wire transfer.
Related reading at SmartMoney:
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