How much would you pay for nosebleed seats? What is the maximum? Imagine your dream matchup in your favorite sport. The hype is through the roof. There’s history between these two teams, or individuals, depending on the sport, and you can’t wait to get out to the stadium. Would you be willing to pay $2,000? $5,000? Those prices are steep but reasonable for a dream matchup, right?
Now, what if I told you that the game wasn’t a dream matchup; just a regular season game. You would be able to see one of the greatest players of all-time play, but the opponent would be subpar. There is some history between some of the players, but most of the parties involved were either on different teams at the time or have vanished from this matchup. To top it all off, the people near the venue where the matchup is going to take place aren’t that invested in either of the teams playing. In fact, the only reason there’s a game being played there is that the sport’s governing body wants to “gauge interest” in that market. Basically, the fanfare that has become pivotal to the stadium experience likely won’t be there for this game.
How much are you willing to pay for those nosebleed seats now? $60? $100? How about $600? Those are the cheapest tickets for the NFL’s first game in Munich, Germany between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Seattle Seahawks.
Section 309 at Allianz Arena — FC Bayern Munich’s home stadium — is located in the back left corner of the graphic above, way up high overlooking the field. $600 for that. The good seats are going for substantially more. According to the tweet, the best seats in the house are going for anywhere between $25,000 and $35,000. That’s nuts, especially when you consider that some ticket sites, like Ticketmaster, were selling Super Bowl tickets for as high as $24,000 at the start of February. That’s the Super Bowl, the pinnacle of NFL football, on a date less than two weeks away from the event, and the most expensive tickets on one of the premier ticket-selling websites were lower than the low-end of good seats for a regular season game where Geno Smith or Drew Lock will be one of the starting quarterbacks.
I guess it shouldn’t be a surprise how high these prices are considering the level of interest these tickets had the moment they went on sale. Per a report from NBC Sports, some fans were told that they were behind more than two million other people in the queue for these tickets. That’s supply and demand 101. Two million people were lining up to buy tickets that went on sale today for an event happening in four months at a stadium that holds just over 75,000. You have to raise the prices at that point. That’s part of the whole “gauging interest” process. If the stadium is still sold out at these insane prices, that’s a pretty good indication that your product can succeed in that market.
Yes, the NFL typically does incredibly well with its international games. If they hadn’t done well, they wouldn’t keep sending the Jaguars to London now, would they? However, tickets to those games are going for at least $200 cheaper. While those games won’t have Tom Brady, one will be a much better matchup (Saints-Vikings), one will feature back-to-back MVP Aaron Rodgers (Packers-Giants), and one will feature the most beloved team east of the Atlantic (Jags-Broncos). They aren’t coming anywhere close to the appeal Brady has.
Maybe that’s just it. Maybe the name Tom Brady is enough to make every German family in a 10-mile radius of Bayern Munich’s home field drop $4,000 so the entire family can watch him play. I also believe that since this is the NFL’s first attempt to break into the German market, a lot of money went into promoting the game. They want to see what the potential for this European market is, so putting all their eggs into making sure lots of people want to see the game in Munich makes a lot of sense. That said, Germany also has a decent history with the NFL.
Back when the NFL was still running the NFL Europe League, Germany was a market that stood out among the players and teams. The fans always seemed heavily invested whether the game was in Frankfurt or Dusseldorf. Former Kansas City Chiefs executive, Carl Peterson was even quoted saying “Germans really liked our game. I think they love the tailgating part of it too, festive group.” That love must run deep because I would never pay $600-plus for the tailgating experience.
While we shouldn’t expect Munich to get a team any time soon — especially before London — there is clearly a lot of interest and if the NFL can make as much money selling tickets in Munich as it seems, the NFL will only be further incentivized to expand across the Atlantic.