XL ticket prices fall to $2,500

Updated: February 5, 2006, 3:23 PM ET
By Darren Rovell | ESPN.com

DETROIT -- In 1933, Art Rooney paid $2,500 for the Pittsburgh Steelers, supposedly with earnings he had collected from a good day of gambling at the racetrack.

In 2006, $2,500 represents the lowest price fans can expect to find if they're trying to buy a last-minute ticket to watch the Steelers take on the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XL.

Even though that's almost $2,000 above face value, which is $600 to $700, some fans surely were relieved the price dropped from Friday, when the secondary marketplace had yielded prices in excess of $3,000.

"It's just the unpredictable forces of the marketplace," said Russell Lindmark, owner of Ticket Solutions. "If I could predict what factors moved prices, I'd be retired by now."

Tickets to the game in the Motor City weren't supposed to cost this much. But then the Steelers became just the second team in NFL to win three consecutive road games to play their way in.

"It was the closest Super Bowl venue to Pittsburgh," said Kenneth Dotson, chief marketing officer of TicketsNow.com, referring to the 285-mile drive to Detroit. "That drove prices up, with people from Pennsylvania buying 300 times more tickets from our Web site than people from Washington."

The Steelers' last Super Bowl appearance was in 1996 in Tempe, Ariz., and they haven't won a title since 1980. The Seahawks never have appeared in the big game in their 30-year history.

Dotson said more Steelers fans showed up in Detroit with tickets than expected. Plus, brokers say the reports of bad weather also might have contributed to the price decrease from $3,000 to $2,500.

Saturday, the National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning for Southeast Michigan, forescasting as much as 9 inches of snow across the region. While snow fell throughout the day and night, temperatures stayed relatively warm, and on Sunday morning, the advisory was canceled. Now, only a few flurries are expected.

"Talk of really bad weather could have discouraged people who were going to make the trip," Dotson said.

Lower prices also were expected because corporate America was said to be sitting this one out, even though the actual game is played in a dome. But Lindmark said the increase in real fans looking for tickets might have neutralized the corporate effect.

Even still, as of 12:18 p.m. ET, six hours before kickoff, there was still one luxury box available on TicketsNow.com for $62,000.

"To see that this close to the game is very rare," Dotson said.

Darren Rovell, who covers sports business for ESPN.com, can be reached at darren.rovell@espn3.com.

Darren Rovell | email

ESPN.com Sports Business reporter