Zero Hedge
0
All posts from Zero Hedge
Zero Hedge in Zero Hedge,

The Black Swan Of Super Bowls: "Ticket Prices Are Being Manipulated To The Extreme"

Super Bowl ticket prices continue to soar. With the game now just a day away, prices have exceeded the $10,500 average and get-in price is just over $9,000 but, as TiqIQ's CEO reports, the ticket market’s "Black Swan" moment will leave some fans showing up to Arizona having paid for tickets they’ll never receive... as derivative-based speculators were selling tickets they never had to begin with, and the short squeeze is unprecedented. "The market is being manipulated to the extreme by those who have paid teams and the league for access." When this happened in the 2011 BCS National Championship game, many brokers went out of business filling their short orders, and some others even walked away from their orders, leaving fans to fend for themselves and it appears tomorrow will be the same for Super Bowl attendees (and speculators).

As the CEO of online ticket site TiqIQ notes (via The Daily Beast),

Two days after the conference championship game, the cheapest ticket for Super Bowl XLIX was going for under $2,000. That same cheapest ticket—also known as the “get-in price”—is now going $9,600. While good old-fashioned demand played a role in this year’s run-up, like 2008's market-based Black Swan euphoria and subsequent crash, the 2015 Super Bowl dynamic was driven principally by derivative-based speculators looking to make a quick buck.

 

 

 

In the 2015 Super Bowl ticket market, short selling has again played a major role, but this time around, anyone that shorted the market is now looking at losses of as much as $8,000 for each ticket.

 

In ticketing, short selling works like this: A speculator offers to sell a ticket they do not own, for a price above where he thinks the market will ultimately end up. At the time of the sale, this may seem like a good deal. Following the normal ticket market demand curve, as the event gets closer, prices drop.

 

When that happens, the “spec” buys a ticket, ideally below the price at which they originally sold it. For last year’s Super Bowl in New York, the cheapest ticket on game-day was going for around $1,500. If the same pattern held this year, a spec seller who sold their ticket for $2,000 after the conference championship would pocket $500 and a 33% return for their week’s worth of work.

 

With the cheapest pair to the 2015 game now going for $10,000, those same sellers are now looking at losses of up to $8,000—for each ticket. The result of this short-selling has been a week-long scramble by underwater brokers looking to fill orders at the best price available.

Simply put - the average fan never sees a fair price as the "short squeeze" demand prices all reasonable buyers out of the market. This is not the first time - but it is the most significant yet...

The first time the U.S. ticket market crossed the $5,000 average mark was in 2011 for the BCS National Championship between Auburn and Oregon. That game also took place at University of Phoenix Stadium, and like this year, short selling played a big part in the elevated price levels. That year, however, tickets dropped as low as $3,000 on game-day.

 

Despite that drop, many brokers went out of business filling their short orders, and some others even walked away from their orders, leaving fans to fend for themselves in Arizona without the ticket they thought they had.

Yet again a market is being manipulated by those with financial might or elite positioning to the detriment of the general public...

With the arrival of $10,000 tickets, now something has to be done to protect consumers in situations like this. As a lawsuit filed last year makes clear, less than 2 percent of Super Bowl tickets actually become available to the general public. The NFL controls who gets the rest, with the two participating teams getting 17.5 percent, the host team getting 5 percent and each NFL team getting 1.2 percent each.

 

That way, the NFL dictates when and to whom tickets are made available. Unlike most events, the Super Bowl does not allow for e-tickets, so tracking and accountability is entirely within control of the NFL.

 

...

 

The cheapest face value ticket for this year’s Super Bowl was $1,200, which is $8,000 less than what you can get now on the secondary market. With nothing particularly different about the match-up, the participants or the location, those kinds of numbers suggest that the market is rigged.

 

The market is being manipulated to the extreme by those who have paid teams and the league for access.

 

While those with access won financially this year, they’ve done so at the expense of the fan, their own integrity, and the consumer’s trust in the ticket market. For Super Bowl 50 in San Francisco, the NFL needs to have a fix in place to ensure 2015 never happens again.

*  *  *