Super Bowl ticket prices are steep, but dropping

StubHub says big game sales have been sluggish, which means fans planning to go might want to see if prices come down later in the week.

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Hey, diehard Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots fans, have you snapped up your tickets to Super Bowl 2017 yet? Here's a tip: You may want to wait a bit -- it will likely turn into more of a buyer's market later in the week.

Online reseller StubHub said ticket sales have been a bit sluggish for football's biggest game next Sunday at Houston's NRG Stadium, The cheapest ticket price on its site on Saturday was $2,500 for a seat in the upper level. The most expensive was $15,432 for a seat right on the 50-yard line. One buyer from Georgia bought two of those expensive seats last week, StubHub said.

Meanwhile, the average ticket price for Super Bowl 51 on StubHub is just under $5,000, currently a 9 percent drop from when Super Bowl 2016 was played at Levi's Stadium in the heart of Silicon Valley a year ago. Online ticket rivals TicketCity, SeatGeek and Vivid Seats are also currently showing similar prices. Last year's prices to attend Super Bowl 50 ranged between $1,222 to $27,983.

The NFL doesn't disclose how many Super Bowl tickets are made available to fans and season-ticket holders for both teams. For fans interested in going to the big game, this means the secondary markets become the primary option.

The slow ticket sales come as the Falcons, with star quarterback and likely NFL MVP Matt Ryan, are soaring to their first Super Bowl appearance in nearly two decades. Meanwhile, the four-time Super Bowl champion Patriots, led by its star QB, three-time Super Bowl MVP and two-time NFL MVP Tom Brady, are making their eighth appearance since 2001. The Pats' near two-decades of dominance might be leaving its fanbase thinking "ho-hum, another Super Bowl."

So far, the eBay-owned StubHub said fans from Texas have bought about 20 percent of its tickets, anticipating that the Dallas Cowboys would make it to big game. But Dallas lost to the Green Bay Packers -- leading to a dip in projected ticket sales. Fans from Georgia (Falcons fans) and Massachusetts (Patriots fans), however, are at about 14 percent each. For Patriots fans, the total is a respectable uptick from just 3 percent last Monday.

"We expected sales to be sort of flat," said Cameron Papp, a StubHub spokesman. "There's certainly some interest in the Atlanta area as Patriots fans tend to be unique. While it's a diehard fanbase, because the team seemingly makes it to the Super Bowl every other year, it's sort of what we call 'playoff fatigue,' so they're not as excited -- yet."

There may be some truth to that among the Patriots faithful, said Ross Steinman, the psychology chair at Widener University in Pennsylvania who studies fan psychology.

"For some Patriots fans, they may have a 'been there, done that,' attitude, " he said. "Going to the Super Bowl could've been a 'bucket list' item, and if they've checked it off, they may not see a need to do it again."

While ticket prices could drop by as much as $500 or more, sales are likely to increase as more fans are making travel plans to Houston, Papp said. And, for the first time, fans can also see their soon-to-be-Super Bowl seats in virtual reality using StubHub's "Virtual View" feature through Cardboard devices on its app. (See the video at the end of this post.) Fans without a headset can also look at the seating in a 360-degree format on their screens.

Fans have purchased Super Bowl tickets on StubHub from 15 different countries outside the United States, Papp said. Fans from Mexico and Canada currently make up about 7 percent of the total ticket sales on StubHub.

"With the globalization of the NFL, there's not going to be a problem putting butts in seats," Papp said. "The Super Bowl is still the toughest ticket in all of sports to get. Good luck!"

Here's the average ticket price on StubHub for the past three Super Bowl games:

Super Bowl 2016, Carolina Panthers vs. Denver Broncos in Santa Clara, California: $4,512

Super Bowl 2015, New England Patriots vs. Seattle Seahawks in Glendale, Arizona: $4,222

Super Bowl 2014, Seattle Seahawks vs. Denver Broncos in East Rutherford, New Jersey: $2,516

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