Super Bowl souvenirs, outrageous ticket prices, and the odds that we will ever get the big game again. Ask The Hoosierist.
Q: Is there any chance that Indy could host another Super Bowl soon, or is this month’s game an XLVI-off?
Aaron P., Indianapolis
A: A second Super Bowl seems like a long shot, because the NFL traditionally holds its showpiece matchup in places where fans can go outdoors in shirtsleeves without freezing to death or being eaten by wolves. Sports reporters—a subtropical species that’s most comfortable in golf course–intensive habitats with climates in the mid-70s—are particularly hostile to snow-belt championships.
That’s why places like Minneapolis and Indy have snagged only one Big Game, while Miami and New Orleans have each hosted nine or 10. Most of the rest were played in Los Angeles, San Diego, and other sun-kissed burgs that spend exactly zero dollars on snowplow maintenance and road salt.
Still, Indy might have a chance, given NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s professed interest in holding more Super Bowls in cold-weather cities. And they don’t come much colder than East Rutherford, New Jersey, home of the 2014 game. The host facility, MetLife Stadium, doesn’t even have a roof. One can almost hear all those frostbitten reporters whining already—and perhaps pining for a return to the toasty, temperature-controlled confines of Lucas Oil Stadium.
Q: What Super Bowl souvenirs might be worth saving? Is anything guaranteed to appreciate in value?
Heather C., Bloomington
A: The sad truth is that your Official Souvenir Super Bowl XLVI beer cozy, program, or commemorative jersey probably isn’t worth the paper/plastic/cloth from which it’s made. “If you’re buying something just to have a souvenir, those types of things are okay,” advises Evansville-based Rich Mueller, editor of the webzine Sports Collectors Daily. “If you’re buying anything with the idea that it’s going to be worth a lot of money someday, you’re going to be disappointed.”
Which isn’t to say that everything associated with the big game is worthless. Stuff from early Super Bowls can be valuable, primarily because the early championships weren’t a big deal, there wasn’t much swag to be had, and people usually didn’t save it. So what survived is rare and collectible.
Actual tickets from the Indy game will probably appreciate, though not as quickly as those from older Super Bowls. Blame it on supply and demand. Pretty much every person in this year’s 70,000-plus audience will save their ducat, so there will be lots of product available. Of course anything actually used on the field (from jerseys to goalposts) can snag serious coin. But since you can’t lay hands on any of that stuff without getting tackled by security, it’s problematic. So just buy a program, stick it in a drawer for your grandkids, and enjoy the event.
Q: What are some of the oddest international groups to seek media credentials for the big game?
Deborah T., Indianapolis
A: The Hoosierist would love to offer a list of peculiar news outfits like the Paraguay Post or the Moldova Plain-Dealer that are preparing to descend on Indy. Unfortunately he can’t, because the notoriously tight-lipped NFL won’t say who gets press passes. Judging from the fact that 5,082 scribblers and anchormen got credentials last year, though, a huge contingent of international organizations will land one, many from countries where the citizenry mistakenly believes “football” to be that silly game we Americans call soccer. For last year’s Super Bowl, the non-U.S. journalist lineup included China, Belgium, Denmark, France, Hungary, Japan, Mexico, Russia, and Spain. The game was televised in more than 180 countries and territories.
A word of caution to our foreign friends: Snagging a media pass isn’t as great as it sounds. Just ask Dave Goren, executive director of the National Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association, who secured a pass to Super Bowl XXXVIII in 2004. “If you’re in this business, it’s one of the things that has to be on your bucket list,” Goren says. “But it was a nightmare: Two hours to get through security so I could sit in the very back row of Reliant Stadium, just to say I was there.
I had a better seat to watch the big video board than I did the action on the field.”
Q: How long have Super Bowl tickets been so crazy-expensive?
Susan D., Fishers
A: In the weeks leading up to the game, The Hoosierist (instead of working) spent a great deal of time wistfully cruising online ticket sites, looking for Super Bowl seats that didn’t cost as much as his car. No dice. The last time he checked StubHub, the crappiest seat packages went for roughly $2,500, with good ones priced at $15,000 and climbing. Which means The Hoosierist will watch the matchup just as he has in previous years—from the chilly confines of his Man Cave in the basement of his Broad Ripple home.
There is, he discovered, only one surefire way to get cheap Super Bowl tickets. All you have to do is invent a time machine and return to January 15, 1967, when the first Super Bowl (unimaginatively called the First AFL-NFL World Championship Game) was played in not-even-close-to-sold-out Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. There, tickets could be had for $6, $10, and $12. And if you kept your stub, it would fetch all-pro prices today. The Hoosierist found a $12 ducat from that first matchup that sold for just shy of $700 on eBay.
Interest in subsequent Super Bowls has perked up, obviously. The face value of tickets broke $100 in 1988. This year’s “official” prices start at about $600—a meaningless figure given that the vast majority are parsed out to NFL teams. Not surprisingly, the few tickets that make it onto resale websites cost enough to build that time machine.
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Illustration by Shane Harrison.
This article originally appeared in the February 2012 issue.