Super Bowl ticket brokers cheering for Chiefs, Saints this weekend

Charles RobinsonNFL columnist

If the majority of the country isn’t rooting against the New England Patriots and Tom Brady this weekend, a solid part of the ticket brokering community appears to be. That was the consensus from a cross-section of ticket brokers who spoke to Yahoo Sports this week, many of whom are pulling in a very clear direction in the conference title games. Specifically, in favor of a Kansas City ChiefsNew Orleans Saints Super Bowl that may drive ticket prices higher than a tilt between the Patriots and Los Angeles Rams.

As it stands, the Super Bowl’s cheapest “get-in” price on StubHub is hovering around $3,900. Where it goes from there will depend largely on the fan bases involved. And in this case, the bigger media market isn’t necessarily the better ticket market. Especially if it involves another championship appearance by Brady, whose clockwork postseason dominance threatens the profit margins of Super Bowl ticket brokers.

“It’s probably totally opposite to what the NFL wants on TV, but that’s how it goes sometimes when you’re selling [tickets] on the street,” one mid-level ticket broker said. “If this was the NBA, we could count on the Boston versus Los Angeles craziness, but it’s not something you really get with the Patriots and Rams. I wish it was like the Celtics and Lakers but it’s not even close. … For [ticket brokering], it’s kind of bizarro world, where you’re just trying to get fans who travel. I don’t think Rams-Patriots is that kind of game. It’s a great game for TV and probably corporate suites, but it wouldn’t be good for the average tickets.”

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Patriots fans know how to work the Super Bowl ticket market, which bodes well for them if New England wins the AFC and punches their ticket to Atlanta. (AP)
Patriots fans know how to work the Super Bowl ticket market, which bodes well for them if New England wins the AFC and punches their ticket to Atlanta. (AP)

That’s an odd reality when you consider the Rams are coming from the NFL’s second-biggest television market and the Patriots have the most iconic coach-quarterback combination in the history of the NFL between Brady and Bill Belichick. But the devil is in the details, and the details say that repetitive success in Super Bowl quests ends up sapping the motivation of a fan base. The Patriots have lived in the Super Bowl for much of the past two decades, leading to a large portion of the base having already spent money on tickets and travel in previous years.

When it comes to the Patriots, brokers can’t count on repeated splurging from the same fan base for travel, hotels and then tickets. One other detail: Brady and Belichick (and the Patriots in general) typically score low in polling when it comes to the popularity of fans outside of the New England area. That doesn’t bode well for “at-large” buyers flocking to see them on a whim. And even if the Patriots fans show up, they’re apparently a tougher, more experienced fan base to haggle with.

“I was telling another [broker] the other day, Patriots fans probably know the Super Bowl ticket business better than you do,” one low-level broker said. “They know everything there is to know about it. They know when to buy them, how to buy them, the prices – everything.”

At least they aren’t Rams fans, who are seen as unreliable when it comes to football tickets.

Would a ninth Tom Brady Super Bowl be too much for Patriots fans to spend big on? (Getty Images)
Would a ninth Tom Brady Super Bowl be too much for Patriots fans to spend big on? (Getty Images)

“You can’t count on them showing up in L.A., so why would you expect them to show up in Atlanta?” another mid-level broker quipped. “Half of their home crowd was Dallas [Cowboys] fans last week. If Rams fans aren’t even locking down their own home playoff game, they aren’t showing up in Atlanta to pay Super Bowl [premiums].”

Conversely, that’s precisely what sellers believe Saints and Chiefs fans are willing to do.

“Saints fans will invade Atlanta,” the low-level broker said. “They travel well and Atlanta is same-day driving distance.”

As for the Chiefs fans, well, they’ve basically gone bonkers for Patrick Mahomes and the rest of the franchise this season, and haven’t been to a Super Bowl since 1970.

“It’s a once-in-a-generation opportunity,” said a Kansas City broker who compared Mahomes’ impact to what Steph Curry’s arrival did for the Golden State Warriors. “You can actually draw some correlation to the [2015] World Series and going 29 years without a championship. Except that the Chiefs parade would be even bigger. It’s that big of a deal to the fan base.”

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