Well, as of last Sunday evening, another Super Bowl extravaganza became an increasingly distant memory. Played out in beautiful Glendale, Arizona, XLIX no doubt provided great satisfaction for the many who watched on TV for in person.
The in-person viewers could be deemed either lucky or unlucky, depending on how they felt about spending so much money.
This year, one upper level end-zone seat listed on sbtickets.com for $2,000. Prices on the website increased dramatically with each lower level, culminating with those in what were called “club-level premium” at $7,650. Of course, that doesn’t count those who went the suite route for a sweet $18,000!
While some brokers’ websites listed tickets somewhat lower — with prices for a seat in the upper regions going for a $1,684 — the bottom line is, tickets for major sporting events have risen dramatically from my younger days.
Recently, I reconnected after four-plus decades with Ray Lynch, a friend from my LCC days. Thanks to Ray’s efforts, I was able to obtain a nice hour-long phone interview with his older brother, Jim, so I could do a feature on Jim’s journey from Lima’s south end to the top of the pro football world.
I told Ray during our conversation that the last time I remember seeing him was a chance encounter at Game 7 of the 1972 Reds-Oakland A’s World Series.
I remember, in far simpler and less expensive times, three of my college pals and I decided to skip on over from nearby Oxford from Miami University on more or less a whim to see if we could find our way into baseball’s biggest game of the year.
We made the drive and actually were able to buy walk-up tickets a few hours before first pitch at Riverfront Stadium in the red seats for $10 each.
As Reds fans old enough to remember, those seats were indeed far away and steep enough to induce vertigo in some mountain goats, the fact is (a) they were available on the actual day of the game and (b) they were $10, affordable to a quartet of college kids on shoestring budgets.
The seats were in the second-to-last row in centerfield, so high up we could see some, but not all, of the field because of the overhang of the scoreboard mounted above the centerfield seats and also because of the angle of the outfield wall. Nonetheless, we were thrilled to be there. I remember thinking there’s only one row of people further away than we were, so I turned around to glance at them, and there sat Ray in one of those classic small-world moments. He was a senior that year at Xavier and had come to the game with a couple of his college pals.
I reminded him of the chance meeting and lamented the long-gone days of affordable ticket prices to major sports event. CNNMoney.com reports the cheapest face-value Game 7 ticket at Kaufman Stadium in Kansas City in last fall’s World Series was almost $600, lest you think it’s a football problem.
Ray told me his own Super Bowl story when he traveled to New Orleans in 1970 to see brother Jim’s moment in Super Bowl IV.
Ray laughed and said, “There were guys selling tickets on street corners, fistfuls of them, for 15 bucks apiece!”
And so it is for big-time sports nowadays. To feed the billion-dollar industries that pro sports have become, the couplet that rings so very true when it comes to the biggest games is this: “If you’re going to go/You need the dough!”