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As the matchups for the NFL's conference championship games are now set, fans and brokers alike are keeping a watchful eye on ticket prices for Super Bowl XLVIII, which is 20 days away.
What makes this year's ticket market different is that the game's location and the weather will have as much to do with the resale prices as will the fan bases of the teams playing in the game.
Location, as in the individual and corporate wealth that exists in the area, and fear of bad winter weather in the first cold-weather Super Bowl are why suites have commanded premiums of $350,000 each. But those who can't afford cover and heat, and instead have a cold seat, might help to deflate a market that is on pace to set Super Bowl ticket-market records.
The median price paid on StubHub for a Super Bowl ticket this year is $3,404. That's 56 percent higher than last year's final median price ($2,172) and 36 percent higher than the price paid on the ticket-resale site two years before for Super Bowl XLVI ($2,500).
"The biggest player in determining the price of Super Bowl tickets won't be [Colin] Kaepernick, [Russell] Wilson, [Tom] Brady or [Peyton] Manning, but Mother Nature," said Patrick Ryan, co-owner of The Ticket Experience, a Houston-based brokerage. "Right now, I don't need any more people giving me their two cents. I need the best meteorologist."
Three of four meteorologists on AccuWeather's Super Bowl weather-prediction site WillItSnow.com say it will snow on Feb. 2, the day of the Super Bowl.
A last-minute snow forecast likely would cause prices to drop for well-heeled New Yorkers, but the market will be further exposed to more last-minute activity, brokers say, if the New England Patriots are playing.
"Patriots fans will make the call if they want to go because they're within driving distance," said Tom Patania, president and CEO of New Jersey-based Select-A-Ticket, which was selling upper-level seats Monday for $2,850 and lower-level seats for $3,750. "Fans of the other team will have to start making decisions next Monday."
Patania agrees with the sentiment that no team that is left will sink or raise the market more than people in the New York area will.
"Let's say a local brewing company has tickets and decides, based on the weather forecast, that they'd rather sell the seats for $6,000 to save for their kid's education or go to the Bahamas and don't want to sit in the bad weather," Patania said. "That can affect the marketplace."
Despite the already high price being paid to sit in MetLife Stadium on Feb. 2, it's possible that the ticket becomes even more expensive in the coming days.
"New York City has almost 400,000 millionaires, which is three times more than the next U.S. city," Ryan said. "And that doesn't even account for all the people that have residences in New York City but don't report income there. There's plenty of money for them to spend to see a Super Bowl on their home turf."