Just like old times, San Francisco 49ers fans have hit the jackpot with their team -- but they'll need to strike gold themselves to come along for the ride.
As the Niners faithful celebrate the team's first trip to the Super Bowl in nearly two decades, longtime fans fresh off the sticker shock of high ticket prices in the team's new Santa Clara stadium are now facing more huge costs to see their team play for the NFL title.
A small, lucky group of season-ticket holders on Tuesday morning won a lottery to buy a pair of face-value tickets for Super Bowl XLVII at $850, $950 or $1,250 apiece. Like the rest of us, the remainder of those season-ticket holders were left to scour the Web for resale tickets averaging
"We love our team, but you know -- we're just not willing to pay that kind of money," said season-ticket holder Sharon Osgood, 49, of Hayward, who already paid thousands of dollars for seats at the new stadium but didn't win the ticket lottery. She's hoping the resale prices drop so that she, her boyfriend and family can take their RV to the game in New Orleans.
Some die-hard fans have already decided the best seat for the big game against the Baltimore Ravens on Feb. 3 will be on their couch. But many others, like Joseph Nguyen, have already booked their flight and hotel -- hoping to get tickets later.
"They're asking for an arm and a leg; that's why I don't have tickets yet," said Nguyen, a
The 49ers and Ravens each received 17.5 percent of the tickets for the game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, while the host team -- the New Orleans Saints -- got 5 percent. The remaining NFL teams each received 1.2 percent, and the NFL keeps the rest.
The NFL said there will be fewer than 73,000 seats available, meaning the 49ers, in all, received fewer than 13,000 tickets.
The 49ers first gave tickets to their corporate sponsors, staff, players and such and reserved some tickets to sell as part of travel packages, while the rest -- an undisclosed amount -- went to season-ticket holders through the random drawing.
Fans with 50-yard-line seats since the Kezar Stadium days who also plunked down thousands of dollars for seats in the new stadium had the same odds as new season-ticket holders up in the nosebleeds.
Several fans who contacted a reporter or commented on social media said they were frustrated because they had stuck with the team through thick and thin but could not afford to see the team's biggest game of all.
Their remarks echoed a similar sentiment seen after the Niners last year released ticket prices for their $1.2 billion new stadium, which is under construction and set to open in 2014. At the Santa Clara stadium, fans must pay a new, one-time seat license fee of $2,000 to $80,000 per seat, and then buy season tickets at $850 to $3,750 a year, or about double the price at Candlestick Park.
The team said it has sold hundreds of millions of dollars worth of seat licenses in the new stadium and that it had made as many Super Bowl tickets available as possible -- especially considering that the NFL has control over pricing and availability of tickets.
"The Super Bowl is obviously a tough ticket, and it's a high-priced ticket so we recognize that as well," said Jamie Brandt, the team's vice president of ticketing and suites. "I think for the Super Bowl our goal is to try to make it as fair and equitable as possible."
While seats are still available at the new stadium, the waiting list for tickets for the team's final season at sold-out Candlestick Park continues to grow as the 49ers have continued their exciting playoff run.
On Tuesday, SeatGeek and TiqIQ -- sites that track online ticket sales -- reported that Super Bowl tickets were selling for an average of $3,000 to $3,300 on the secondary ticket market, a drop of about $200 in two days and less than the last two Super Bowls. Ticket holders on StubHub were advertising more than 4,000 seats, with some as cheap as $2,100 while suites were on sale for more than $100,000.
A 49ers official package offering air travel, a three-night hotel stay and an end-zone ticket was on sale Tuesday for $8,410.
"It doesn't even give a chance to little blue-collar families like us," said San Mateo resident Desiree Finau, 33. But "I am a die-hard, and I will support them no matter what."
Tickets prices are expected to drop as game day nears, but the entire game day and travel package will still be several thousand dollars.
As Burlingame business owner Ron Rosberg, 73, who couldn't afford seats in the new stadium and didn't win the lottery despite having 18 season tickets at Candlestick, put it: "You could imagine how many Costco big-screen sets you can buy" with that.
Contact Mike Rosenberg at 408-920-5705. Follow him at twitter.com/RosenbergMerc.
Super Bowl tickets
Face value price per ticket
Upper bowl: $850
Lower bowl: $950
Club seats: $1,250
Resale prices on the Web, as of Tuesday
Average price: $3,278 (11.7 percent less than last year at this time)
Cheapest available: $2,050
Most expensive listing price: $315,916
Tickets for sale: More than 4,200
Sources: NFL, StubHub, TiqIQ.