Could This Be the Most Expensive Super Bowl Ever?

Could This Be the Most Expensive Super Bowl Ever?

So you want to go to the Super Bowl this weekend. Even for non-football fans, this year’s spectacle of professional sports and over-the-top entertainment — in Las Vegas, no less — could be hard to resist.

Some of the best players of their generation, like Nick Bosa, Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce, will take the field when the San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs meet on Sunday. Off the field, the city will be packed with celebrities, including Usher (the halftime headliner), Luke Combs, Adele and Wu-Tang Clan — and those are just the weekend’s scheduled performers. So many people are expected this weekend, confirmed Monika Bertaki, the chief marketing officer at Harry Reid International Airport, that no airplane parking spots are available at Harry Reid, North Las Vegas or Henderson Executive Airports. It’s going to be a party.

If you can afford to go, that is. Considering the cost of flights, lodging, assorted travel expenses and entry into Allegiant Stadium, Super Bowl LVIII may be the most expensive to attend.

As of Tuesday, people were paying a median of $8,776 per ticket, according to data from the ticket marketplace Vivid Seats, thousands of dollars more than most recent Super Bowl matchups. Driving the demand are a number of factors, including the possibility of Taylor Swift attending, the stadium being one of the National Football League’s smallest in terms of capacity and Las Vegas hosting its first Super Bowl.

“Prices go up and down for Super Bowls, but they are going to be historically high for this one,” said Malcolm Robinson, owner of Houston Ticket Brokers, where tickets are going for more than $8,000.

For this year’s event, he said, “billionaires are going to have trouble parking their planes.”

Say you live in Houston and want to arrive in Vegas on Saturday, Feb. 10, the day before the big game, and leave on Monday, Feb. 12, the next day. You’re not alone; carriers like American Airlines, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines have added domestic flights to meet demand. That hasn’t helped the cost: Airfare is still significantly costlier than a normal weekend to Las Vegas — about 112 percent higher compared with the same weekend last year, according to data from Priceline, an online travel agency.

On Tuesday, an online search showed that one of the cheapest flights available from Houston was a nondirect, round-trip ticket from George Bush Intercontinental Airport on Spirit Airlines to Harry Reid Airport, for $563 (including taxes, but without luggage).

Though Las Vegas does not lack hotel rooms — it has some 151,000, according to the city’s Convention and Visitors Authority — bookings and prices have also surged. The booking website Trivago reports a 140 percent increase in Vegas hotel prices for February, compared with the same month last year, and Priceline estimates the average cost of one night in a Vegas hotel room is $376 — which would come out to $752.

However, a booking found on Tuesday for two nights in an Extended Stay America hotel room, nearly two and half miles from the Las Vegas Strip, started at $498.

Using a ride-hailing app to get to and from the airports in Houston and Las Vegas could cost about $40 each way, according to the Uber estimator tool. Realistically, those prices will be surging in Las Vegas, so round up to $200 (if you’re lucky). And you’ll need to get from your Extended Stay room to the stadium and back, during peak surge — that could bring all ground transportation costs to a minimum of around $300.

You have to eat, and some local websites estimate — based on a visitor-profile report compiled in 2021 for the Convention and Visitors Authority — that tourists pay about $125 per day to eat at midrange restaurants, so tack on an additional $250.

Add it up, and your game day weekend is clocking in at $1,611 for one of the cheapest travel itineraries possible. And this excludes alcohol, gambling and the actual game ticket.

Mr. Robinson, of Houston Ticket Brokers, said that part of the reason for the high ticket prices is how the stadium’s seating is organized. “Allegiant Stadium has a lot of V.I.P. areas — tables on the field, suites, club areas — so they all fetch a premium, and that makes it a little different from other Super Bowls. Cheap seats just weren’t created in that stadium.”

And the appeal of the host city itself may also factor in the surging ticket costs.

“People often travel to Vegas for the Super Bowl — even when the Super Bowl isn’t in Vegas — just to gamble and watch the game,” he said. “Las Vegas is a destination for the Super Bowl every year.”

Other ticket sellers are seeing a similar jump. A Tuesday search on Ticketmaster for the cheapest single ticket turned up a $6,800 seat. Don’t forget the fees — after a humble $3 processing fee and an extraordinary $1,445 service fee, the total price is $8,248.

On TickPick, an online ticket marketplace, the average purchase price of Super Bowl tickets listed is $9,835 after fees, 70 percent more expensive than last year’s average price of $5,795. The largest purchase thus far on TickPick was for six tickets (in Section 336) for $14,810 each, or $88,860 total, according to the company.

“We expect transaction activity to increase further as the week progresses,” said Brett Goldberg, co-chief executive at TickPick. “When you bring one of the biggest sporting events in the U.S. to one of its most iconic cities, it’s ultimately going to have an impact on ticket prices regardless of who is playing.”

Add it up, and regardless of how much money a traveler saves staying off the Strip, a two-night trip to Super Bowl LVIII could cost a minimum of about $9,859 for one person. Something to chew on as you microwave that popcorn and sit back on your couch to watch the big game — from home.

Follow New York Times Travel on Instagram and sign up for our weekly Travel Dispatch newsletter to get expert tips on traveling smarter and inspiration for your next vacation. Dreaming up a future getaway or just armchair traveling? Check out our 52 Places to Go in 2024.


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Kyle C. Garrison

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