At These Prices, Not Everyone Wants Super Bowl Tickets

Tim Ryan
January 20, 2020 - 11:58 am
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo

(Photo credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA Today)

It was a big 49ers win that kick-started Stuart Kesselman’s San Francisco-based secondhand ticket business in 1985.

Kesselman, who’s also known as Mr. Ticket, got his start buying and re-selling NFL game tickets at Superbowl 19, when the Niners beat the Miami Dolphins at Stanford University.

“[Those tickets] were $75 a piece face-value and if I got $350 [for them], I was doing cartwheels. I couldn’t believe that people paid that much money for a ticket,” said Kesselman.

Those days are long gone.

Tickets for Superbowl 54, where the 49ers will face off against the AFC Champion Kansas City Chiefs in Miami, Florida, in just two weeks, are starting around a $5,000 each.

“It costs at least $5,000 just to get in the stadium right now,” said Kesselman. “The face value on just the lower levels are, like, $2,900 apiece and up.”

The lofty price for the February 2 game has a lot of Kesselman’s would-be customers hanging up on him.

“With all the hype when a team wins, everybody gets into a frenzy and they say they’re going to go [to the Superbowl], but half the people drop out by the next day; 75 percent of the people drop out two days later, then 90 percent of the people drop out four days later, when they hear the price [of the tickets],” said Kesselman.

Getting to Miami got easier, with American Airlines adding flights out of San Jose and San Francisco, but those flights are running between $750 to more than $1,000.

Kesselman said attending championship match-ups has become a rich man’s game.

“The [Superbowl tickets this year] costs $5,000; multiply that by three or four, that’s $20,000 there. The airfare is probably at least $1,000 — and the hotels could go for anywhere from $300 to…one guy tried to sell me a hotel for $2,000 a night,” said Kesselman. “It all depends on how you want to hang.”