How to Buy Super Bowl Tickets

There are two paths to buying tickets for Super Bowl 50. Credit: Jeff Haynes / Getty

The Super Bowl is the most anticipated event of the year — effectively an American holiday — but there are only 68,500 seats available in Levi's Stadium. While that number may seem large, tickets are sopped up within a day of the release. In fact, the NFL breaks up ticket distribution, with 35 percent apiece going to each competing team, 6.2 percent going to the host city, 33.6 percent divided amongst the other teams, and the last 25 percent being held by the league itself. But there are a couple ways for the average guy to get a slice of the pie. Here's how to land yourself seats at Super Bowl 50.

Get a cut of the original distribution
"It's virtually impossible for a normal consumer to get a primary ticket," says Cameron Papp, a spokesperson from resale market StubHub. Teams divide up their tickets via a lottery for season ticket holders. The chosen few get to buy the tickets at face value: $1,500 a pop. 

If you're not a season ticket holder, hopefully you've got a friend who happens to be playing in the game. Panthers players were reportedly given a day to each come up with a list of 15 people they'd like to bring to the game. But they too have to pay the full ticket price.

Taking your skills to the open market
The resale market is not only your best bet, but it's one of the finest examples of free-market capitalism you'll find. Of the tickets being allocated out to lottery winners, friends of the NFL, and elsewhere, there will be quite a few lucky folks who'd rather watch the game on a big screen and pocket your cash. So far, there's already 2,000 of those types hocking their tickets on StubHub. But don't buy anything just yet.

"When the tickets first release, the prices are pretty high," Papp says. At the time of our interview, the cheapest ticket was sitting at around $3,500, more than twice the face value. "The prices are high because not as many people are selling yet, so there's a lot of demand, but not a lot of supply." Simple economics.

The resale expert advised to sit back and watch the prices fluctuate. In the past, prices drop as the game approaches. More tickets should be put up for purchase, and sellers will get more lenient with prices. Generally StubHub sees up to 4,000 tickets pass through its platform. Last year the cheapest ticket was $856. 

This year will be different though. "This market is a bit of a novelty," Papp says. "In New Orleans, Miami, and Glendale you might have a Super Bowl every four or five years," says Papp. "This is the first Super Bowl in Santa Clara in 30 years." Couple that with the deep pockets of Bay Area residents and the 50th anniversary of the event itself, and tickets might be harder to come by.