Commentary

A Super Bowl Visit Means Super Bucks

Super Bowl XLIX taking place in Phoenix on Sunday is quickly approaching for the face-off between defending champions Seattle Seahawks and the New England Patriots. Ad budgets are exorbitant as always and it seems as though fans that are interested enough to make the trip to Phoenix must have exorbitant budgets as well, of disposable income that as.

This iconic event of American culture has turned into the biggest money-making sports event in the country. While there is nothing wrong with turning a profit, this game meant to bring the country together is turning into an event for those with the biggest bank accounts – America’s affluent. Just looking at this trend from the statistics of viewership, Nielsen reports that viewers with a household income of $100,000 or more made up 14% of the total viewers for the 2003 Super Bowl, whereas this demographic made up 26% of them last year, following a pattern of generally steady growth.  

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Tickets just to get in to the game, the cheapest kind being offered, are currently going for around $2,000 a piece while tickets on or around the 50-yard line are priced between $5,000 and $10,000.  Assuming that the typical attendee isn’t from the Phoenix area and/or has relatives that live in the area; most fans will be staying overnight at a nearby hotel. As if the tickets themselves weren’t expensive enough, the hotel rates in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area are three to four times the average price, with several stipulations attached. Many are requiring a three- to four-night minimum, and some are even requiring that guests spend at least $150-$200 on food per night, on their premises. Some “deals” are $5,000 for a three-night stay while others are upwards of $3,500 a night. The fact that The Waste Management Phoenix Open, a top PGA tour event is taking place at the TPC Scottsdale Golf Course the day before the Super Bowl probably isn’t helping the spike in prices either.  

All in all, a trip out there will absolutely cost a bundle. If you roughly estimate that roundtrip flights for yourself and a friend will cost around $900, hotel accommodations around $2,500 (if you’re a bargain hunter), game tickets at around $2,000 a piece (if you don’t mind sitting in the nose-bleed section), and a drink/food/souvenir allowance of around $500 (assuming you’re not going to open a tab at the biggest after-party in a fit of joy and rapture if your team wins), you can be looking at a total cost of around $8,000. To put that in perspective, you can spend two to three weeks in an oceanfront suite in Cabo San Lucas for about a same price.  

This is an expensive event attracting top CEOs and celebrities alike. Airports are prepared for a 54% jump in airplane landings, and expect a huge spike in private jet landings. Does price drive exclusivity? In this case, absolutely.

1 comment about "A Super Bowl Visit Means Super Bucks".
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  1. Ron Kurtz from American Affluence Research Center, January 27, 2015 at 12:15 p.m.

    Afraid Brittany did not research quite deep enough for this article. First, the Super Bowl has for several years been a corporate event where most people in the stadium do not pay for their tickets and probably have much of their travel related expenses paid for or reimbursed by a corporate sponsor. Second, it is not too surprising that 26% of the TV audience has an income of $100K+ as this level of income is earned by about 20% of all households. Still, she is correct that it is an event popular with the affluent.

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