Prices for NFL tickets are topping pre-Covid levels, secondary market vendor says

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Tom Brady (12) of the Buccaneers shakes hands with Patrick Mahomes (15) of the Chiefs after the regular season game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on November 29, 2020 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.

Cliff Welch | Icon Sportswire | Getty Images

Tickets for the upcoming NFL season are selling at a lower average price on secondary market platform SeatGeek out of the gate than they were a year ago, the company said, but they’re still higher than pre-pandemic levels.

Ticket prices averaged $307 immediately following the release of the NFL’s schedule Thursday. Fans were particularly interested in marquee matchups, such as star quarterback Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs taking on NFL legend Tom Brady of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

That price is down from an average of $411 out the gate last year, but it’s higher than the average of $305 in 2020, when games were restricted due to Covid. The average in 2019 was $258. Ticket prices usually fluctuate throughout the NFL season as demand changes.

The high ticket prices are an indication that people are still spending big on live entertainment and sports despite inflation being at a 40-year high. “I think people want high-end experiences, want to get out, and they’ve been pent-up for several years now,” Endeavor CEO Ari Emanuel said Friday on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” He added, “People want to get out; they want to have experiences. They want to live life a little bit.”

SeatGeek CEO Jack Groetzinger, in an interview with CNBC on Thursday, predicted the “next few years for live entertainment will be gangbuster years.” 

SeatGeek said the Chiefs versus Bucs in Week 4 — featuring Mahomes and Brady — is the top-selling game so far. It is a rematch of Super Bowl LV in 2021, when the Buccaneers beat the Chiefs, 31-9. The most expensive seat for the Oct. 2 game surpassed $3,000 entering Friday. 

The legendary NFL quarterback appeared to retire this offseason before announcing in April that he planned to return, after all. When he finally decides to step away, Brady will transition to TV after he agreed to a deal with Fox Sports for more than $300 million.

Tickets to see the Dallas Cowboys, Bills, Rams, and Cincinnati Bengals round out SeatGeek’s top five selling teams entering the weekend.

Rival ticket company Vivid Seats said tickets for Russell Wilson’s return to Seattle on Sept. 12 saw some of the quickest demand out of the gate. Prices for this game averaged $451 per ticket. The Seahawks traded their longtime quarterback to the Broncos in March. And Wilson’s return could be the most in-demand Seahawks ticket since 2019, Vivid Seats projected.

The NFL kicks off its 18-week schedule with the Buffalo Bills visiting the Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams on Sept. 8 at SoFi Stadium. The game will air on the NBC network, whose parent company, NBCUniversal, also owns CNBC.

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