The Economics of Scalping Super Bowl Tickets New England Patriots' season-ticket holders had the chance to buy Super Bowl tickets at face value, and they could lose their seats next season if they resell the tickets. Economists say controlling supply when demand is so high only raises prices.
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The Economics of Scalping Super Bowl Tickets

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The Economics of Scalping Super Bowl Tickets

The Economics of Scalping Super Bowl Tickets

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STEVE INSKEEP, Host:

Curt Nickish of member station WBUR in Boston has more.

CURT NICKISH: The price difference today between watching the game on TV with friends...

(SOUNDBITE OF CROWD CHEERING)

NICKISH: ...as opposed to sitting in the stadium with thousands of fans...

(SOUNDBITE OF CROWD CHEERING)

NICKISH: ...is more than $4,000. At least that's what the average Super Bowl ticket has been going for this week on StubHub, a popular online exchange. So it's tempting for Pats season ticket holders who got seats at face value through the team to unload them for a super haul. But if they do, New England could take away their tickets next year. The franchise has even sued StubHub in the past to get sellers' names.

M: It's the little guy that suffers.

NICKISH: Coleman Herman has made fighting against ticket scalping a personal cause. He really hates the folks who hang on to season tickets just to rake in a rich sum.

M: Its lifelong fans working stiffs Joe and Joe Six-pack who can't afford to go to the games anymore.

NICKISH: Last year, online ticket reselling grew into an estimated $2.5 billion industry. Hagos Mehreteab, the founder of one such site, says consumers now have a much better idea of what tickets are really worth.

M: Whereas before, if they wanted to go, you know, get a ticket, they might have to go and, you know, meet some seedy-looking fellow on a corner where they would, you know, trade cash.

NICKISH: Mehreteab's company, Yoonew.com, even lets people buy and sell future tickets like stocks. Some traders ended up with super returns on the big game after buying the undervalued New York Giants early in the season.

M: Yeah, yeah, for as low as 85. There were actually also some people who bought the Giants versus the Patriots, and they got that for as little as $25 each.

NICKISH: The potential of the online marketplace has caused other pro-teams and even entire leagues to line up with resellers instead of fighting them. In December, the NFL announced it would team up with Ticketmaster for second-hand sales. Still, the New England Patriots have the right to opt out of that agreement. But, David McAdams, an economist at MIT Sloan School of Management, says the Pats' goal line stand to control ticket resale is actually counterproductive.

INSKEEP: Sure, they may be able to stop some people from selling their tickets. But all that's going to do is reduce supply, and as we know from Economics 101, that means higher prices.

NICKISH: Which he says will only anger loyal season ticket holders who feel like they're losing out if they follow the Patriots' strict rules. McAdams says the Patriots should get a new game plan.

INSKEEP: If this is really their end-game strategy, I think the Patriots need to prepare for a loss.

NICKISH: For NPR News, I'm Curt Nickish in Boston.

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