Super Bowl Ticket Dreams

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Most football fans dream of attending the biggest game of all season Â? The Super Bowl. But without the favor of celebrity, wealth, or sheer luck, actually finding Super Bowl Tickets may seem like just that Â? a dream.

Most football fans dream of attending the biggest game of all season – The Super Bowl. But without the favor of celebrity, wealth, or sheer luck, actually finding Super Bowl Tickets may seem like just that – a dream.

Locating tickets has everything to do with the National Football League (NFL) and their perplexing allocation of tickets. Each year, the National Football League (NFL) conducts a Super Bowl ticket lottery. To participate, fill out an index card with a name, address, and phone number, and send it by certified mail to the NFL Super Bowl Ticket Lottery office. Five-hundred names are selected from the 50,000 entries. Winners do not receive actual Super Bowl tickets, but the option to purchase tickets – at face value (about $600). The winners are sent an invoice, after which they pay for the tickets via mail using a credit card. It sounds simple, but unfortunately, only 1% of the entire 70,000 Super Bowl Tickets are actually available through the lottery.

Without the ability to rustle up Super Bowl tickets from one of these sources directly, options for Super Bowl tickets are somewhat limited. Packages are usually available, including an overpriced hotel room from an NFL approved tour operator, or from any travel agent willing to put together and advertise packages. But the best option for the average football fan is to purchase tickets on the secondary market from a licensed ticket broker.

Ticket Brokers are likely the best source for Super Bowl Tickets. Allen Raines, President of National Ticket Broker, finds himself educating customers all year long about finding one of sports’ toughest tickets: "Once we explain the NFL lottery process and how the distribution of tickets work, most average fans see that their best bet for buying tickets is through a broker."

Before choosing a broker based on price however, examine credibility and reputation, such as time in the business, office location (do they operate with a cell phone only?), participation in organizations such as the NATB or BBB, eBay feedback, and referrals. Find out what guarantees are offered with the purchase. Does the broker have a professionally done web site that is current and updated? Is the broker licensed by their state and do they abide by any applicable state laws? Buy from a broker licensed by a state regulating secondary market ticket sales, such as Georgia or Illinois, where broker activities are monitored by the Secretary of State’s Office.

If buying directly from a ticket broker, choose a member of the National Association of Ticket Brokers ( The NATB is an organization that has implemented some regulation to the ticket brokerage industry by setting forth a code of standards and ethics for all members to follow. They require all of their members to support Super Bowl ticket orders with a 200% guarantee. That means if for some reason they fail to deliver the tickets, a refund equivalent to 200% of the purchase price is due.

Some brokers offer only a 100% guarantee, which means that if the market price is higher than your original purchase price, the broker may fail to deliver - so they won’t lose money on the deal. The customer will have to come out of pocket even more money at that moment to purchase a ticket. The NATB instituted a 200% guarantee to protect consumers from that very situation forcing the brokers to do the right thing and either take the loss and deliver tickets or take the loss by refunding 200%.

If a ticket "broker" insists on cash payment, buyer beware. Unethical brokers may have lost their charge card merchant privileges and operate on a cash basis, which gives the buyer no protection from a credit card company or recourse if there is a problem later.

Now that the NFL season is almost underway, prices for Super Bowl tickets will start their usual pattern of fluctuation. Changes will occur with consumers buying patterns, as well as the fame and fortune of each team. Expect to pay market value at time of purchase and be locked in at that price the day the transaction occurs.

Super Bowl tickets are almost always delivered in the host city, (tickets are sometimes not even released until a week before the game) and most brokers will not guarantee availability until the day of the game. Local and late pick up with photo ID is standard operating procedure.

Finally, Raines offers this advice: "Studying the Super Bowl Ticket market and talking to ticket brokers is the best way to make educated choices … Use this information to protect your investments, and make your Super Bowl dreams come true."


Sarah Pharr, Event Specialist


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Marnie Raines
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