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On February 5, 2012 the champions of the NFC and the AFC will square off for the 46th annual Super Bowl in Indianapolis, Indiana. Buying tickets to this championship event can be a bit of a sport in its own right, but if you act timely you just might be a winner.
The NFL is the primary source for Superbowl tickets. If you are fortunate enough to acquire your tickets from the NFL, you will only pay face value. Considering the fact that these highly coveted tickets often garner 10 times their face value through the secondary market, buying at face value can save you a fortune.
There are three ways to obtain Superbowl tickets from the primary source (NFL). As a season ticket holder you can buy them through your home team ticket office, provided you enter and win the right to purchase a ticket through your team’s annual drawing. You can enter and win a chance to purchase your tickets through the NFL’s annual random drawing, or you can be fortunate enough to be connected with one of the corporate sponsors for the Super Bowl and receive tickets through that connection.
The distribution of tickets is as follows:
AFC CHAMPION TEAM 17.5%
NFC CHAMPION TEAM 17.5%
HOST TEAM 5%
REMAINING 29 TEAMS 1.2% EACH
NFL RESERVE 25% (1,000 Tickets sold through random drawing, the rest provided to corporate sponsors).
SEASON TICKET HOLDERS:
If you are a season ticket holder, your team will invite you to enter a drawing for the right to purchase Super Bowl tickets. Based on the distribution posted above, it is obvious that more tickets will be made available to the season ticket holders of teams actually competing in the Super Bowl. The season ticket holders of the host team, may also have a slight advantage.
RANDOM ANNUAL DRAWING:
Each year the NFL invites fans to enter a drawing for the right to purchase Superbowl Tickets at face value. The tickets are sold in pairs and only 500 winners will be chosen. Fans may enter the drawing by submitting their entry between February 1st and June 1st of the year immediately prior to the Superbowl. The winners are announced sometime in October. Only one entry per household will be accepted. If more than one entry for a particular household is received, it will be discarded. Entries should be submitted by registered or certified mail on a 3x5 card containing NAME, ADDRESS, PHONE NUMBER AND E-MAIL (if you have one). All entrants will receive a notice telling them whether they won or not. There are approximately 50,000 entries each year making the chances of winning something like one out of a 100. Entries should be addressed as follows:
Superbowl Tickets Random Drawing
P.O. Box 49140
Strongsville, OH 44149-0140
NOTE: A similar but separate drawing is held each year for fans who need special accommodations for a disability. The deadline for that drawing is September 1st. Entries should be addressed as follows:
Superbowl Tickets ADA Random Drawing
National Football League
280 Park Ave.
New York, NY 10017
If you happen to work for one of the corporate sponsors who obtain Superbowl tickets as part of their sponsorship package, and you are at the top of your company food chain, or you are a valued client, then you won’t need to know anything more about buying Superbowl tickets, so you can stop reading now and go have a dry martini.
THE SECONDARY MARKET:
For the vast majority of fans wishing to acquire Superbowl tickets, the secondary market is the best and maybe the only viable option. Fans who acquire tickets through the NFL, as described above, often decide to sell their tickets. Typically those fans sell their tickets to ticket brokers, or list them for sale on internet websites. The advantage of the secondary market is that you can eliminate luck from the equation by avoiding the “lottery” and you will likely have more control over choosing your seats. However, you will pay more than face value for your tickets and you have a somewhat elevated risk of falling prey to a scam artist. If you intend to buy through the secondary market, please be sure to read the section below on HOW TO AVOID SCAMS.
Ticket brokers account for a large portion of the secondary market. Most are reputable merchants who work hard to provide reliable service in order to earn your repeat business. The ticket broker industry has even evolved to the point that they have their own trade association called the Nation Association of Ticket Brokers (http://www.natb.org/find/index.cfm). The association sets standards of practice and ethical guidelines for its members in order to promote consumer protection. If you plan to purchase Superbowltickets through a broker, you may want to see whether they are a member of the NATB before you lay your money down.
ONLINE TICKET MARKETS:
There are a number of online ticket markets. E-Bay, Craig’s List, and TicketNetwork are among the biggest. These sources differ from the Ticket Brokers, in that they offer a market place for ticket holders to sell directly to ticket buyers. This system is generally referred to as Fan to Fan ticket sales.
Craig’s List is another source for fans to find Superbowl tickets, but with few consumer safeguards, buyers should employ great caution before entering into a transaction with a seller on Craig’s List. (See our HOW TO AVOID SCAMS below).
E-Bay, is another popular source for Superbowl tickets. If you use E-Bay as a source, you may end up dealing directly with a fan or a ticket broker. E-Bay does not offer any money back guarantee, but it does have some safeguards in place, which are designed to limit consumer’s risk of ticket fraud.
HOW TO AVOID SCAMS: Reportedly, nearly 1000 people showed up in Miami for Superbowl 44 with counterfeit tickets they paid hard earned money for. Even more fans paid Money online for tickets they never received. Follow these rules to guard against the risk of fraud.
· DON’T PAY CASH: Fans who pay cash for their tickets have no way of tracking where their money goes. If they pay cash for tickets that later turn out to be counterfeit or stolen, there will be no way to track down the scam artist.
· VERIFY TICKETS WHEN POSSIBLE: Super Bowl tickets contain anti-counterfeit features, including a hologram and thermographic ink which causes certain areas of the ticket to disappear in response to body heat created by human touch. Look for those features, if you happen to be looking at the Superbowl tickets at point of purchase.
· For E-Bay purchases, look for the Seller’s rating below the seller’s name. Reliable and honest sellers typically have very high ratings at or above 98%.
· Verify your ticket broker is licensed by the state where they operate from and that they are members of the National Association of Ticket Brokers.
· Look for guarantees from a company that is big enough to back it. A 100% money back guarantee from a guy named Vinney selling tickets on the corner is worth nothing.
· Use a major credit card to make your purchase. If you do get scammed, your credit card company will typically delete the charge associated with your ticket purchase provided you cooperate and provide them with information they can later use to prosecute the scam artist.
· If you buy from a street scalper, pay only with a check. Insist on taking the sellers name and driver’s license. If they don’t have a driver’s license or refuse to give you that information, then walk away.
· If the price for Superbowl tickets is too good to be true, then it probably is. Two tickets in the secondary market generally start around $1600.00.