By Doug Koztoski
And to think the first game was not near a sellout and for decades a packed stadium has been the norm for Super Bowls. Today, tickets from those early title games, in particular, are among the most desirable sports collectibles.
“How cool is it to own something that was actually in the stadium during the time of the event, like a used ticket stub?” said Chris Nerat, consignment director of Heritage Auction Galleries and longtime collector of Super Bowl tickets.
For many years Nerat and other collectors have seen surviving samples of the stadium passes climb in value.
Nerat said a “full” Super Bowl II ticket is by far the most difficult to obtain. “Super Bowl III is also very tough, and very significant, as it was from Namath’s ‘guarantee’ game,” he noted.
“Super Bowl I fulls are much easier to obtain. There were thousands of ‘no-shows’ at Super Bowl I, but very few at Super Bowl II,” he said. “You have to remember that the Super Bowl was a brand-new idea in 1967, and it took a while for the idea of this event to gain the hype that it eventually commanded.”
Nerat said that a few years ago he sold a Super Bowl I ticket for about “$10,000 and that I have seen Super Bowl II “fulls” sell for upwards of $20,000 each, depending on condition.” Sports Market Report (SMR) lists a complete SB III ticket in PSA 6, its highest grade, with only five at that level, for $25,000.
If fact, Al Glaser, who owns both GradedTickets.com and SuperBowlTicketCollector.com, said, “PSA 6 is the best grade seen in many cases” with the oldest tickets and stubs in this genre.
“Finding stubs in real nice condition can be even harder since stubs get dinged up much more (on average) than the fulls,” said Glaser.
Along with the first three Super Bowls, Nerat and Glaser said the tickets that routinely generate the most interest and are hardest to find are from games V and XII, with both topping out in their highest grades PSA 6 ($25,000) and PSA 8 ($10,000), respectively in SMR.
“The Super Bowl XII full tickets have gone for crazy money,” said Nerat. “I am not sure of the exact reason, but one would have to think that they must just be very rare and the game must have had nearly no no-shows.”
According to PSA President Joe Orlando, a few key reasons have led to widespread Super Bowl ticket success. “First, I think collectors appreciate the simplicity of the set. If you are collecting the basic run of Super Bowl tickets it only requires one ticket per year since there is only one Super Bowl game each year,” said Orlando.
“In addition, the set is actually feasible to complete. While certain Super Bowl tickets are scarce, they can be obtained for a price. Finally, many of the tickets have extremely strong eye-appeal and that is always a plus when it comes to any collectible,” he said.
Dennis Jose of ChicagoTIX.com said there is another strong element to the Super Bowl ticket equation. “They are hard to find relative to many other collectibles,” he noted.
“Ten years ago about 10 percent of our ticket sales were from past Super Bowls and the lion’s share were baseball-related,” said Jose. ‘Today, at least 50 percent of our ticket sales are from Super Bowls and that’s year-round.”
Jose added that assembling team sets is one of the fastest growing areas of these white-hot tickets.
On the Horizon
Nerat said the coming years for Super Bowl tickets looks about as good as a team with a first and 10 on an opponent’s one-yard line.
“The Super Bowl is the most hyped and largest event in sports. Even if you’re not a football fan, or even a sports fan for that matter, you are still going to watch the game and probably go to a Super Bowl party. That hype and interest will forever support Super Bowl tickets as some of the most collectible memorabilia in the hobby, bar none,” he said.
Jose also sees a bright future for title game tickets.
“When the game hits the 50-year milestone (in 2016), and everybody’s talking about it, that will kick up the interest for the tickets in the hobby several notches – it will go through the moon.” SCM