What's a Vikings-Packers ticket worth?by Martin Moylan, Minnesota Public Radio
It's been about two months since the state of Minnesota repealed its ban on ticket scalping. That's the resale of sporting, concert and other tickets for well over their face value. Well, this Sunday's sold-out Vikings-Packers game is perhaps the hottest ticket to be had since scalping went legit. And some folks are looking to score big reselling tickets to the game.
Minneapolis, Minn. — Even though the Vikings are 1-2 and the Packers are undefeated, the game is a must-see for fans like Kodi Nottingham of Edina.
"I can't miss this game." he says. "It's not something I want to watch on TV. It's something I want to be able to tell my grandkids I saw."
Nottingham has been a Packers fan for decades, and he's hoping to see the team's quarterback --Brett Favre -- break the all-time record for touchdown passes in a career.
Pretty much the only way to get tickets is to buy them from people who already have them and are willing to part with the tickets -- for a price. Folks with choice seats to sell have been asking hundreds of dollars more than their face value.
Nottingham's passion for the Packers brought him to Ticket King's Chicago Ave. office in downtown Minneapolis, about two blocks from the Metrodome. The office opened on Aug. 1, the day scalping became legal in Minnesota.
For more than a decade, Ticket King operated out of Hudson, Wisconsin, where scalping tickets was not against the law. And the firm did well serving the Twin Cities market.
Nottingham paid dearly for a ticket -- $248 for a seat that originally sold for about $80.
But Nottingham has no regrets.
"I've been a Packers fan since I was five years old and lived in Hawaii," he says. "So, to see Brett Favre break a record like this is worth any amount of money for a ticket."
Of course, Nottingham could have waited and tried his luck with the street scalpers who'll likely be working outside the Metrodome Sunday.
And then there's the Vikings. The team is dabbling in what it terms the "secondary market" for game tickets. The Vikings allow season ticket holders to resell tickets via the team's Web site, with the Vikings getting a 10 percent cut of the sale.
As of Thursday afternoon, some Vikings season ticket holders were trying to collect $500 or more for tickets that originally sold for $120 or less.
"Green Bay this Sunday, obviously that's been a hot ticket," says Steve LaCroix, the Vikings vice president of marketing. "We're sold out. The only opportunity for people to get tickets that don't have them is to go to the secondary market."
LaCroix expects fans selling tickets can get more than they paid for them. But he has doubts that many will pocket three, four or more times a ticket's face value.
"The highest posting is over $700 for a $116 ticket," he says. "Whether they will get that is a whole other issue. But it's a free-market system, and the season ticket owners can price it however they see the demand from the buying side."
Each game, LaCroix says 100 or so season tickets holders have been looking to resell their tickets via the team site. The team has about 12,500 season ticket holders.
The Viking say they're not trying to make money reselling their tickets for higher prices. The team says the service is meant to help fans who can't make it to every game.
Brian Obert, co-owner of Ticket King, scoffs at the Vikings' effort. He says fans trying to sell tickets themselves tend to overestimate the market.
"A savvy consumer, if they check out our site, would find our prices are a lot lower," he says. "Lower-level 30-yard lines are going for around $250 a ticket right now."
Obert says the demand for tickets to Sunday's game picked up after it became clear Favre could break the touchdown record. Obert expects he may be buying and selling tickets right up to the Sunday noon kickoff.
But like a stock broker or commodities trader, Obert will watch where the market is headed as the game gets closer. He certainly doesn't want to buy tickets he can't resell.
"We can't pay big money at this point," he says. "Because if we don't sell them, we don't want to be sitting on them on Monday."
That could be a very expensive loss for Obert and his company, of course. Come Monday, all tickets for Sunday's game will be worthless. Unless Favre's performance creates a market for the stubs.
- Morning Edition, 09/28/2007, 7:24 a.m.