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Packers tickets pricey; fans willing to pay whatever it takes

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Kayla Bunge
January 17, 2008

Lifelong Green Bay Packer fan Steve Cass didn’t think twice about hanging onto his season tickets to the NFC championship game Sunday against the New York Giants.


“I’ve had the tickets in hand since December,” he said. “This is pretty exciting.”


Cass, 61, of Delavan could have sold his season tickets, which have been in his family since World War II, for hundreds if not thousands of dollars.


Fans are willing to pay whatever it takes to watch their beloved Green and Gold go all the way. Tickets can be found for no less than $500 and as expensive as $3,000, and they’re going like hotcakes, ticket brokers say.


“We’ve experienced unprecedented demand,” said Jon Lamoreaux, president of TicketKing in Milwaukee. “We’re been intensely busy. It’s been pretty insane.”


Fans didn’t wait for the final whistle in the Dallas Cowboys’ loss to the Giants on Sunday before they were calling to buy their way to Sunday’s big game.


“Immediately after that interception, every phone line lit up, and the online orders started coming in,” Lamoreaux said. “It was instantaneous.”


The market for tickets is a volatile one, guided entirely by simple supply and demand.


“(Ticket) prices have been all over the board,” Lamoreaux said. “Where they’ll go is anybody’s guess.”


All tickets are held by season-ticket holders, and as such, tickets are only available from a season-ticket holder or a ticket broker.


Ticket brokers purchase their inventory from season-ticket holders, who sell their tickets at market value. Face value for a championship game ticket is $148.


Lamoreaux said what brokers do is not illegal.


“What we do is we facilitate the process,” he said. “We put buyer and sellers in touch, and we take a fee for doing that.”


There’s a misconception, he said, that ticket brokers get their inventory at face value and thus have an unfair advantage when it comes to selling highly sought-after tickets.


“Ninety-nine percent of the time, we don’t pay face value,” he said. “We have to participate in the market, too.”


Whether the brokers can get the higher asking price is entirely determined by what buyers are wiling to pay.


“I pay a season-ticket holder $350, then I’ll turn around and try to sell (the ticket) for $500. I might get it, and I might not,” Lamoreaux said.


Ticket prices can change by the minute because people know their tickets are valuable and buyers are competing.


WCLO Radio listeners learned that the hard way Monday. The radio station was selling 50 game packages—which include a ticket, bus ride and tailgate party—for $459 each on Sunday. But by early Monday morning, the price had jumped to $599.


“By then, we had started the wheels rolling,” said Tim Bremel, WCLO program director. “We had 20 ticket orders already, and we had to go back to them and apologize.”


The street price for tickets to Sunday’s game went through the roof overnight, because anxious fans had wiped out the supply of tickets, said Jim McHugh of Game Day Sports in Green Bay. That sent the broker searching for season-ticket holders willing to give up their seats.


“I can’t say they pulled anything,” Bremel said of Game Day Sports, the broker WCLO has used for about 10 years. “That price is out there all over the place. It’s a big game.”


For Cass, however, tickets to Sunday’s game are priceless. It’ll be the second time the Green Bay native has seen the Packers play the Giants at Lambeau Field for the NFC title. The first time was in 1961, when he was 15 years old.


The Packers on that day trounced the Giants, 37-0, and Cass wouldn’t miss a chance to see it happen again.


PRICE RANGE

Prices on Wednesday were:


Highest


TicketKing—$3,185 for a seat on the 50-yard line (section 119, row 28)


StubHub!—$3,499 for a seat on the 50-yard line (section 119, row 17)


Lowest


TicketKing—$534 for a seat in the southwest corner (section 132, row 46)


StubHub!—$589 for an upper-level seat in the southeast corner (section 347, row 7)



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