When the NFL first announced that it planned to sell $200 tickets that would allow fans to stand outside of Cowboys Stadium and watch Super Bowl XLV on big screen TVs, the very idea of it was meet with derision and scorn. The notion of "idiots" paying $200 to watch a game on TV that anyone could watch for free became fodder for late night talk show hosts.
Most would say for good reason.
But you know who didn't laugh? Scalpers and now they're doing a brisk markup business on those $200 stand-around-and-watch-TV tickets Several thousand of the $200 TV tickets sold out — even though the Dallas Cowboys only sold them in packs of four, meaning one had to make an $800 commitment for the honor. But now, the cheapest you can get one of those TV ducats is $405 each on Stubhub.com, the giant online ticket broker.
Yes, that's a more than 100 percent markup on $200 tickets that don't get you inside the stadium.
"Hey, this is once in a lifetime thing," said 24-year-old Jake Larson of Madison, Wis. who decided he'd be going to Dallas as soon as the Green Bay Packers beat the Chicago Bears in the NFC Championship game. "I can't afford to get into the game (the average price for the worst and highest seats in the 100,000-plus capacity Cowboys Stadium is around $2200 each on the secondary market). This is as close as I can get.
"And I'll have a ticket that says I was at Aaron Rodgers' first Super Bowl."
There's the key to this TV ticket explosion that only those extremely tapped into the sports commemorative market saw coming. There are people out there who yearn to have something that ties them to this Super Bowl, a souvenir that not everyone else has.
The Plaza Party tickets to XLV (or outside XLV) have more than grabbed the attention of that market.
"There's a lot of interest in those Party Plaza tickets," said Pat Ryan, co-owner of The Ticket Experience, a Houston-based ticket broker firm that's sold a number of the TV tickets to Houstonians for an average of $300. "People just want to commemorate that Super Bowl some way."
Ryan and Ticket Experience co-owner Nick Cubero notes that the NFL actually made Plaza Party passes a more durable memory than real Super Bowl tickets.
"It's nicer than the actual tickets to get into the game," Cubero said. "The Party Plaza tickets are laminated plastic while the game tickets are typical cardboard."
Of course, you will still be watching the game on TV. And not even the famous gigantic TV that hangs over the field in Cowboys Stadium.
Larson, the Packers fan, believes he's found a solution to missing out on getting inside the stadium during the game. He paid $40 to go on the official Super Bowl XLV Stadium Tour — the ones that the Cowboys are running from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. in the days leading up to the game. (During non Super Bowl buildups, a tour of Jerry World runs $12).
"I did get into Cowboys Stadium," Larson said.
Just not during the game. You can bet that Cowboys owner Jerry Jones loves America more than ever this week.