Super Bowl ticket prices suffered a shocking crash on Sunday as demand for the NFL's championship game fell far short of 2011 levels.
After peaking earlier in the week, the cost of seats at Lucas Oil Stadium dropped steadily throughout Sunday morning and early afternoon -- both with online ticket retailers such as StubHub and SeatGeek.com, as well as out on the streets of downtown Indianapolis.
The cheapest seat available on Stubhub dropped from more than $1,600 early Sunday to $949 two hours before kickoff, to the surprise of many experts who expected the match-up between two marquee teams to attract greater interest.
A series of reasons were given for the dip, including Indianapolis' lack of available hotel rooms, as well as possible apathy from Patriots fans due to the city of Boston's recent sporting success.
[More on Yahoo!: Full coverage of the biggest Super Bowl parties]
"It has been difficult and expensive for people to get into Indy," says StubHub head of communications Glenn Lehrman. "What we are hearing from a lot of people in the Boston region is that they have already spent big on the Bruins winning the Stanley Cup, on the Patriots’ previous Super Bowls, and on the Celtics."
As game time approached, StubHub still had 700 tickets available for purchase, compared to fewer than 100 at a similar juncture ahead of last year's clash between the Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers at Cowboys Stadium.
Under normal circumstances, ticket prices for a Super Bowl tend to drop the preceding Monday -- when many fans arrive in town -- and on Thursday, when a series of complimentary allocations are released. Then tickets usually rise right up until game time.
This time, though, supply seemed to outstrip demand for all levels of seats, from the bleachers up to executive suites in the most exclusive parts of the stadium.
A New York ticket broker was in danger of being burned, having bought a field level suite capable of hosting 35 people, just yards from the end zone, for more than $200,000. After initially trying to sell the suite for $450,000, and rejecting an offer in the $300,000s early in Super Bowl week, the broker dropped the price to $295,000 leading up to the game and was getting no takers.
"I am not that shocked that people can’t sell their suites," says a tout on Maryland Street, who gave his name as Sticks. "This has been tough for us guys out here. I made some good money early in the week but a bunch of guys are getting their fingers burned now."
Indianapolis is hoping to become a part of the Super Bowl rotation, but its dearth of hotel rooms at affordable prices seems to have deterred some fans from making the trip.
"There simply is zero hotel availability in downtown Indy this weekend," says Will Flaherty, spokesman for SeatGeek.com. "Even motels 30 to 40 miles away from the stadium are charging exorbitant rates for the weekend."
Martin Rogers has been reporting for ThePostGame.com and Yahoo! Sports throughout Super Bowl week.