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Demand driving up Packer-Bear tickets

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Don Walker
January 19, 2011
— The classic economic forces of supply and demand are at play for tickets to Sunday’s Chicago Bears-Green Bay Packers game at Soldier Field in Chicago.

There is supply—thousands of tickets are available—and there is demand. And when demand exceeds supply, the price tends to rise.


While ticket prices are notoriously volatile, and the price for seats could drop by the weekend, it is clear that big money is changing hands right now.


A check of ticker resellers and brokers, both locally and nationally, indicate that you will have to part with $500 just to get a seat in the upper reaches of Soldier Field. And if you want a seat close to the action, prices are well beyond $1,000.


StubHub!, one of the major ticket resellers on the Internet, said Tuesday that the game is the top-selling NFL conference championship game in company history.


StubHub! has been in business 11 years.


StubHub! reports that over the last 24 hours fans have been paying an average price of $823 per ticket. On Monday, just a day after the Bears defeated the Seattle Seahawks to set up the historic matchup with the Packers, the average was $766.


StubHub! did not say exactly how many tickets were sold, but said it was in the thousands. The most expensive ticket purchased on StubHub! was sold for $4,100.


By comparison, when the Packers met the New York Giants for the 2007 NFC championship at Lambeau Field, fans paid an average price of $710.


The selling prices also are in the neighborhood of what buyers paid for other major sporting events in the past year, according to FanSnap.com, a ticket search engine for fans.


Some examples:


Olympic gold medal hockey game between the U.S. and Canada: $3,600 to $4,300


Super Bowl tickets: $2,200 to $3,200


Masters badges: $1,143


World Series game tickets: $910 to $1,100


BCS Championship Game tickets: $865 to $1,000


NBA Finals tickets (2010): $853


Mike Goldberger of Connections Ticket Service said there were a good number of tickets available for the game.


“In reality you can buy a ticket for $500,” he said. “People scraping to afford any ticket aren’t going to be picky where they sit. But some seats can get very expenses, $1,500 apiece for the lower level.”


Ticket prices, he said, could go up another $100 or $200.


Fred Benz of Ticket King said it is hard to predict where prices will go in the days ahead. “Up until this point, it’s been pretty strong,” Benz said.


Most of the tickets being resold belong to longtime Bears season-ticket holders who might be reasoning that it’s time to cash in and watch the game at home. Brokers also say that high-quality, high-definition TVs often convince ticket holders to sell their tickets and stay home.


“The high end is always difficult when you deal with a Chicago game,” Benz said. “Seems like there are more big-money seats now.”


At the NFL Ticket Exchange, the official resale marketplace of the NFL, ticket prices range from $450 to $7,500, depending on the seat location. The average ticket price was $864.


Benz said there is some potential for late deals to emerge for football-hungry fans.


“It’s like buying Halloween candy the day before Halloween,” Benz said. “There will be stuff around at the end of the week, but it’s impossible to predict the price.”


Joellen Ferrer, a StubHub! spokeswoman, said the company now expects the Bears-Packers game to be the fourth-best selling NFL game in its history. Three Super Bowls sold more tickets.


StubHub says most buyers live in Illinois, with Wisconsin buyers second. Illinois buyers outnumber Wisconsin buyers by three to one.



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