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It's amazing how the price of a Super Bowl has grown

Posted Thursday, January 28, 2010, at 4:56 PM

Well here we sit on the precipice of another visit to the Super Bowl by Peyton Manning and our beloved Indianapolis Colts.

One of the most intriguing things about a Super Bowl for me has always been how much it actually costs to attend the game if you're one of those rarely lucky fans who doesn't have to go the way of the ticket broker or scalper to get a ducat.

If you were able to get a ticket to this year's game in Miami you paid one of three prices -- $1,000, 800 or 500 -- which is quite a stark contrast from the humble beginnings and even more humble prices since that first game in 1967.

When the American and National Football Leagues finally decided to get together on the field and have their champions go head-to-head, fans didn't have to spend a great deal of money to watch.

In fact, the NFL-AFL Championship Game (aka Super Bowl I) had walk-up tickets available at Los Angeles's Memorial Coliseum.

With less than a capacity crowd paying a modest $12, $10 or $6 for each ducat, there were plenty to go around at the ticket window.

Fan at that game were encouraged to move closer to the field and closer together in order to give the appearance of a larger crowd in the stands.

It still remains the only Super Bowl to not be a sellout.

The next two contests were conducted in the old Orange Bowl in Miami and ticket prices remained stable at $12.

When the two leagues finally merged ticket prices slightly increased as well.

The 1970 edition cost customers $15 for a seat -- where it remained static until 1975 when it increased to $20 each in Tulane Stadium in New Orleans.

Whether it was intentional or not, Tulane Stadium was also the first venue to feature Super Bowl ticket prices at the previous $15 level.

By 1978 the NFL had decided to increase the price once again, this time to a whopping $30. It was also the first time the Super Bowl was contested indoors.

With the addition of the New Orleans Superdome to the list of football venues, fans were forced to add to the NFL's championship extravaganza coffers by 10 bucks where it stood until the 1981 game when the Superdome was once again the site of a price increase, this time to $40.

Is anyone else starting to see a pattern here?

The $40 pricetag carried the game through stints in the old Pontiac Silverdome and another visit to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.

When the Super Bowl headed to Tampa for the first time, ticket prices climbed again, this time 20 bucks as face values were set at $$60 for the game in Tampa Stadium.

The city of Tampa will again be marked for a later increase when the first face value of a Super Bowl ticket reached four figures for last year's game.

Two years later prices were increased to $75 when, you guessed it, the game returned to the Superdome in 1986.

The price held firm for another year before finally reaching the $100 tag in 1988 at San Diego's Jack Murphy Stadium.

The two year life of a Super Bowl ticket price held firm once again. The price remained $100 until the game was played at....drum roll please...the New Orleans Superdome where it increased to $125.

Tampa would offer fans a chance to bask in the sun once again, and would also see an increase once again, this time to $150 where prices remained until 1993 when they went up to $175 for a seat in the Rose Bowl.

The first Super Bowl ticket to sport a face value of $200 was issued for the 1995 game in Joe Robbie Stadium in Miami -- a price that lasted just one year.

Next time out, fans were treated to a variety of prices for the 1996 contest at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, AZ.

It was just the second time in the history of the Super Bowl that fans were afforded options -- whether they wanted to shell out $350, $250 or $200 for a ticket.

One of the only decreases in Super Bowl ticket prices came the following year when the NFL dropped the face value of a ticket to the game in the Superdome (yeah, I'm surprised as well) to a mores affordable (yeah right) $275 each.

Things quickly jumped back on track just two short years later when the league bumped the price back to $325 per seat for the contest held at Pro Player Stadium in Miami.

Prices didn't change again until the 2002 season when a return trip to, you guessed it, the Superdome saw price jump to $400 per seat.

That was the last time there was just one price for a seat to a Super Bowl. Every year since has seen at least two price levels for fans lucky enough to get a ticket.

In 2003 when the venue changed to Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, prices were set at $600, $500 and $400 each ahead of a two-level price for the next three games.

In 2005 ducats were $600 and $500 at Alltel Stadium in Jacksonville, Fla. and in 2006 and 2007 they were listed at $700 and $600 for games in Ford Field in Detroit and Dolphins Stadium in Miami.

Prices climbed the next three years and finally reached four figures last year.

In 2008 fans could get tickets for either $900 or $700 each ahead of last year's choice between $1,000 and $800, which are equal to this year's prices.

So there you have it, a look at how much tickets are supposed to cost for a Super Bowl compared to the average of around $2,500 you'll actually spend to get one.

And don't forget the parking passes, they cost around $125 to over $200 depending on where you want to park, but that's another story.

Rick Curl is a sports writer for the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached by telephone at (812) 847-4487 or via E-mail at rcurl@gcdailyworld.com.

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