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The Superbowl is quickly turning into a major headache for the NFL as ticket sales are slumping. Photo by: Wiki

The first (and last) cold weather Super Bowl

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The Superbowl is quickly turning into a major headache for the NFL as ticket sales are slumping. Photo by: Wiki

Poor Roger Goodell.  The Super Bowl is meant to be easy. Assign it to a city, issue a few press releases, show up and glad-hand a few dignitaries, stars and athletes, and hey-presto, billions of dollars generated around the NFL’s showcase event. This winter? Not so fast Mr Goodell. The unusually cold weather (of course, there’s nothing wrong with our environment which we have pumped billions of tonnes of toxins into) is causing Mr Goodell and everyone associated with this event a major headache.

You can bet one thing (not that betting is, you know, legal or anything, nudge, nudge, wink, wink), if Roger Goodell could go back in time to when he stamped his approval on sending the Super Bowl to a cold weather stadium, he would change the decision in a New York Minute. We would be watching another Super Bowl in Louisiana or Miami faster than you can say ‘slumping-ticket-prices.’

This will be the first, and last, time the NFL commissioner gambles on a cold weather Super Bowl.

How can we say this with such authority? There are a number of factors that are standing out right now that mean this will be a ‘one and done’ cold weather stadium Super Bowl.

The negative press around the event must be absolutely breaking Goodell’s heart, the potential effect of the cold weather on the game itself, the chance the game might not even go ahead and finally money. Yes, money, money.

There’s a story going round that legendary boxing promoter Bob Arum was given the chance to buy a ticket to the game through a lottery system. He turned that chance down. The reason? He wants no part of sitting in the cold at Super Bowl XLVIII, MetLife Stadium.

The NFL front office must be absolutely cringing at the bad press around the event.

Ticket sellers aren’t helping matters either. TiqIQ’s Chris Matcovich was quoted as saying, “So far demand has been average at best. I’m confident that prices on the low end will drop to the $1,500 range. If the weather is questionable leading up to the game an even bigger discount on gameday is a real possibility.”

So essentially experts are advising that buyers should be able to snag tickets much closer to face value by being patient and waiting until next week, when sellers are sure to be more eager to unload their seats. That is absolutely toxic, toxic, toxic news to the NFL, and other ticket sellers are chiming in:

“We would advise any consumers still shopping for tickets to hold tight, and wait as prices are likely to trend down over the next few weeks as game day inches closer,” said SeatGeek analyst Connor Gregoire.

By Friday afternoon, Glen Rock-based broker Lance Patania said he was selling “get in the door” upper-deck MetLife Stadium tickets for the Denver Broncos-Seattle Seahawks game for $1,600 — or $1,000 less than his most expensive sales a week ago.

Another element of the poor press is the news outlets gleefully predicting just how cold the weather is going to be come game day. As is being widely reported, the coldest game-time temperature for a Super Bowl played in an outdoor stadium is 39 degrees. That came in Super Bowl VI at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans. The weather next weekend in New York is supposed to be around the 20 degree mark, or, in other words, freaking cold.

We are already seeing the first hints at the date for the game being moved. Yes, the Super Bowl, moved to another date. The NFL is prepared to play the game on another day if the weather is so bad that fans cannot get to MetLife Stadium on Feb. 2 and local airports are closed. For now, moving the game to Monday appears to be the best worst-case scenario because moving it to Friday or Saturday would potentially shut out fans that had not yet arrived in New York.

The effect the weather might have on the game itself could be devastating. You have to think that Roger Goodell would rather eat a bowl of mud than be the commissioner that cost a Manning a Super Bowl ring, however that it starting to look a possibility.

One bookmaker said this week that; “With the game being in New York and the early forecast for below normal temperatures in the teens that certainly favours a defensive team and a running team. That would certainly be an advantage to the Seahawks.”

History too is against Manning when it comes to cold weather.  For all his gaudy stats the truth is he’s not a good cold-weather quarterback. He played much of his career inside in Indianapolis and is 4-7 in games that are below freezing at kickoff.

If Goodell wasn’t already reeling, then there’s the numbers around the big game and tickets for same.

In 1967 you could get a (face value) Super Bowl ticket for $12. Since then the ticket prices have exploded exponentially, $60 in ’84, $175 in ’94, $400 in ’03, $1,000 in ’09 and $1,200 in ’12. Last season the lowest face value Super Bowl ticket would have set you back $1,900. Spot a theme? Massive increases annually.

On Friday, just nine days before the big game, the cheapest ticket to buy for the Super Bowl was $1,779 on NFL Ticket Exchange, the league's official resale site. That's $409 cheaper than it was on the site with this many days left last year and $809 cheaper than the year before.

The news will only get worse for the NFL too. The average cost for a Denver or Seattle based fan to make a weekend trip to New York, with flights, hotel and game ticket would be around $2,700 to $3,000 dollars. For that kind of money, fans aren’t going to risk travelling at the last minute when the weather might affect the game. This means there will not be vast numbers of last minute ‘walk-up’ type ticket sales.

This means in turn the ticket sales are going to continue to trend downwards.

It's greed that led the Super Bowl to Manhattan. The Super Bowl being held within easy reach of Manhattan and some of America’s wealthiest communities seemed like a winning combination. However, it is greed that will doom the Super Bowl from ever being played in cold weather again.

Ticket prices, expected profit margins trending down and some seriously bad press? Forget about it.

Of course not everyone is disappointed. Ticket sales sites are reporting two groups of people as making up the vast majority of the percentage of visitors to their sites.

People from New York (30%) and New Jersey (24%) are the two states whose residents have been visiting their Super Bowl pages the most.

Local New York and New Jersey based wise guys cleaning up on cheap tickets to the big game?

Once again, forget about it (this time, in a good way).

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