Why Are Super Bowl LIII Ticket Prices Dropping? Matchup, Government Shutdown, Cost of Trip All Factors for Decline

Tickets for Super Bowl LIII between the New England Patriots and the Los Angeles Rams have dropped 17 percent since the matchup was set last Sunday. The game is scheduled for Feb. 3 in Atlanta's Mercedes-Benz Stadium, home of the Falcons.

The Super Bowl is the most-watched sporting event in the United States every year, and the game usually ranks among the Top 5 TV shows watched during any calendar year.

With the game still more than a week away, the hottest ticket in town is becoming a little bit cheaper. But before logging on to grab one, keep in mind that a cheap seat is still $2,795 for the big game.

TicketIQ, a blog that aggregates ticket prices, has tracked the last 10 Super Bowls. According to the site, this year's starting prices ($8,000) for resale are $1,000 down from last year's game, which also saw a sharp decline. The site claims the average price of a ticket on the secondary market is $7,448. But why are they dropping? Several factors are responsible.

The matchup

The decline in resale tickets began Sunday night after the Super Bowl LIII matchup was set. The Patriots and Rams, both No. 2 seeds in their conference championship games, each won an overtime road game against the top-seeded Kansas City Chiefs and New Orleans Saints, respectively.

The Rams-Saints game in the NFC Championship has been highly scrutinized by the media, and Saints fans alike, after a no-call on apparent pass interference by the Rams late in the game. In theory, the Saints could have run out the clock and kicked a late field goal for a win. However, the Rams got the ball back, tied the game and then won it in overtime.

A Saints-Patriots matchup would have pitted two of the top quarterbacks — and likely two future Hall of Fame selections in Tom Brady and Drew Brees — against each other. This report in the Baton Rouge Advocate states a New Orleans appearance in the Super Bowl would have drawn a larger crowd from the Saints' fan base, which is largely in Louisiana and along the Gulf Coast. Instead, the game will rely on fans from Los Angeles and New England or the casual football fan wanting to see a Super Bowl.

Patriots in their 11th Super Bowl, 9th with Brady-Belichick

There was a time when America heartily rooted for New England. The most notorious was Super Bowl XXXVI, when the fresh-faced Brady and the Patriots faced the vaunted St. Louis Rams. It was the first Super Bowl after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, and American patriotism was at fever pitch. The Patriots upset the Rams, who were called "The Greatest Show on Turf."

But now, this is the ninth Super Bowl appearance together for Brady and New England coach Bill Belichick, and 11th overall for the Patriots since their first appearance against the Chicago Bears in 1986. WBUR in Boston says Patriots fans have developed "fatigue" with nine Super Bowl trips in 18 years.

The government shutdown affects travel to Atlanta and security around the game

Speaking of fatigue, there are the workers at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, the busiest airport in the country. Despite the United States government's ongoing partial shutdown over the funding of President Donald Trump's proposed barrier along the U.S.-Mexico border, the unpaid workers and security at Hartsfield-Jackson say they will work through the shutdown, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The shutdown has affected TSA and air traffic controllers, causing backed up security lines and weary traffic controllers. Though United Airlines said it will increase flights to accommodate extra passengers and flights from Houston, Boston and Los Angeles to Atlanta, according to the Houston Business Journal.


With the government shutdown comes those who are more willing to sock away money than spend it on more frivolous things, like Super Bowl trips. Travel to Atlanta varies by city, as well. According to Priceline.com, the cheapest nonstop round-trip ticket from Los Angeles to Atlanta is $551.62 on carrier Spirit Airways, which has only one flight option at that price. Then there are hotels, cabs and other transportation. Most hotels in the inner city have been booked for months, and even hotels located within an hour of Atlanta have high rental rates the week of the Super Bowl.

Declines aren't new

Super Bowl LII last year between the Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles saw a sharp decline in the few days following the championship games, according to TicketIQ. It could have been partly that the Minnesota Vikings fans, who'd just seen their team lose to the Eagles, couldn't see their home team play the Super Bowl in their hometown. Those second-hand ticket prices dropped from $9,000 on championship Sunday to $4,081 by the Super Bowl — a 55 percent drop.

The biggest gainer from championship Sunday to the Super Bowl over the last 10 years was 2015, when the average second-hand price for a ticket went from $3,832 to $9,723 — a 253 percent increase.