The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

When is the best time to buy Super Bowl tickets?

No, we won’t make a joke about the Patriots and deflation, but Super Bowl ticket prices could continue to drop over the next couple days. (AP Photo/Rick Osentoski)
Placeholder while article actions load

On Sunday, when the Minnesota Vikings still had a shot at becoming the first NFL team to advance to a Super Bowl played in its home stadium, ticket prices for the Feb. 4 game shot up to around $8,000 on average, according to secondary retailer TickPick, with the cheapest seat increasing to $5,700 after the Vikings went up 7-0 on the Philadelphia Eagles. The price was driven up by Minnesota’s long-suffering fans, who would not have to spend anything on Super Bowl travel and lodging and thus could spend a little extra on tickets themselves.

At least that was the idea. The Eagles proceeded to score the final 38 points of the game to advance to the Super Bowl while despondent Minnesotans could instead budget their money toward something else, like intensive grief counseling. Super Bowl ticket prices sank accordingly, as shown here in this graphic provided by TickPick:

According to a Super Bowl ticket-price tracker operated by SeatGeek, the average price of a seat stood at $5,828 on Wednesday afternoon, and prices for the cheapest tickets also reflected a drop. A TickPick search on Wednesday afternoon showed a get-in price of $3,680, down more than $2,000 from the cheapest ticket offered on early Sunday evening. StubHub was offering a single ticket in an upper-deck corner at U.S. Bank Stadium for $3,395. SeatGeek was selling two tickets in Section 302, three rows from the top of the stadium, for $3,228 each.

Supply, demand and the Super Bowl create the perfect storm for Minneapolis hotels

But as you can also see from the TickPick graphic, Super Bowl prices almost always drop after the matchup is set. The outlier was 2015’s Super Bowl XLIX between the Patriots and Seahawks in Arizona, when the combination of a warm-weather locale, an ardently followed West Coast team in Seattle and a chance to witness New England’s first Super Bowl victory in 10 years combined to depress ticket inventory and send prices skyrocketing. Had the Vikings beaten the Eagles to advance to the Super Bowl, TickPick co-CEO Brett Goldberg predicted in a telephone interview that we would have seen a similarly ascendant ticket-price trajectory this year.

So what is the best day to buy tickets over the two-week break between the conference championship games and the Super Bowl itself? If you look at the dotted red line in TickPick’s graphic, representing the average daily ticket prices from 2011 through 2017, it would seem to be on the Tuesday before the game. But according to SeatGeek’s Chris Leyden, figuring out the exact day to buy the cheapest Super Bowl ticket is something of an inexact science, kind of like figuring out the best time to buy airline tickets before the holiday season.

“Prices move around a fair amount,” Leyden told The Post in an email. “Using last year as an example, five days out the average resale price of a ticket was $3,159, then it climbed up to $3,955 two days out, but then dropped to $3,262 the next day. Two years ago the average price seven days out was just $22 more than the average price one day out (the low point), but between those two at three days out it was $700 more per ticket on average.”

Here are the days when Super Bowl ticket prices hit rock bottom — such as it is for tickets that cost thousands of dollars — over the past six years, according to SeatGeek:

Super Bowl LI: 5 days out
Super Bowl 50: 1 day out
Super Bowl XLIX: 14 days out
Super Bowl XLVIII: 3 days out
Super Bowl XLVII: 0 days out
Super Bowl XLVI: 0 days out

Goldberg agreed that pinning down the exact day is something of a crapshoot but said that the Monday through the Wednesday before the game was “kind of the sweet spot” based on the historical ticket data available to him. The factors that change from year to year — namely the participating teams, the location and the other costs associated with attending the game — make an exact forecast difficult.

Leyden suggests waiting until the week of the game to find the cheapest ticket, but pinpointing an exact day is “impossible to figure out.”

“I think the best advice to fans would be to keep an eye on the market, and when prices hit the point they are comfortable with to pull the trigger,” he said.

Read more from The Post:

Neil Greenberg’s Super Bowl pick: Pats will win, but by how much?

An Eagles upset over the Patriots in Super Bowl LII starts here

Nick Foles should scare the Patriots, and the Eagles, in the Super Bowl

The Eagles are not afraid of “Pretty Boy Tom Brady” and the Patriots

Things got a little weird in Philly with bloody fans and greased light poles

Super Bowl trip drives Eagles’ Zach Ertz and his soccer-star wife Julie Ertz to tears