In case you've never seen it before, Indianapolis' Lucas Oil Stadium shares a striking resemblance to a massive barn -- that is, if barns had retractable roofs, club seating and a pair of enormous Jumbotrons. Anchoring the south end of downtown Indianapolis, the House that Peyton Built will be packed to the rafters on Sunday night, with nearly 70,000 fans expected to cram into the stadium for Super Bowl XLVI.
As you might expect, tickets for Sunday's game aren't cheap. At SeatGeek, we’re constantly tracking the ups and downs of ticket prices on over 60 secondary ticket marketplaces, and with average prices for this year's Super Bowl just shy of $3,500, one absolute fact is that tickets to year's big game are very expensive. So we asked ourselves a simple question: What it would cost, at a bare minimum, for the absolute worst seat in the Big Barn on Sunday?
The answer -- $2,250 for a seat in the very top row in the corner of Lucas Oil Stadium's 600 Level -- no doubt seems outrageous. But if you’re an ardent Giants or Pats fan trying to make a value judgment on whether or not the worst seat at Super Bowl XLVI is even marginally better than the free front-row seat on your couch, hear me out on something:
I've sat in the worst possible seat at Lucas Oil Stadium before, and it's an experience I wouldn't trade in for anything.
My day started at the crack of dawn on a foggy April Saturday as we began our westward drive through the rolling foothills of North Carolina. As a student in my final semester at Duke University, two friends and I instinctively decided to hop in the car and make the drive to Indianapolis to see our school play in the National Semifinals of the 2010 Final Four. Thanks to a university lottery that broke our way, we'd all been fortunate enough to secure tickets for the game, which we were required to pick up on-site.
Ten hours and five states later, we parked our car a few blocks away from the stadium and walked up an hour before gametime to claim our tickets. After tearing into the envelope holding my ticket, my first reaction to my seat assignment was that I wouldn’t only need binoculars, but also an oxygen tank for the hike up!
My seats were in Section 631, Row 23. Way, way up there, in the upper barn rafters of Lucas Oil. In fact, as we'd soon learn, we were as physically far away from the action as you could possibly be while still having a seat. In the very top row of Section 631, with nothing but a corrugated metal wall behind us, I felt like I might have been better off watching the action on the court from the gondola of the Goodyear blimp.
But as Butler and Michigan State tipped off in the first National Semifinal, my anxiety about being so far away from the action faded. The hometown crowd was just as loud in Section 631 as anywhere else in the building as the Bulldogs nipped the Spartans in a 52-50 squeaker that was far more thrilling than the low final score would indicate. And when my own team came out of the gate strong and cruised to an easy win against West Virginia, I truly quit caring at all about where I was in sitting. Simply being present to soak in the experience of the day made my long drive and trip to Indy so very worth it.
And once you get in the building, strange and wonderful things can happen. For the national final, the NCAA automatically reassigns the seating behind the basket on the floor exclusively to students from the two remaining teams. So just like that, we received a dream seat upgrade, and 48 hours after arriving at Indy I was lucky enough to have an up-close view of one of the most thrilling finishes to a NCAA Tournament final in recent memory -- a finish that just barely went Duke's way.
So in the overall balance of things, the true benefit of seeing your team win the big game in person is hard to pin down, and almost impossible to price. Yeah, so I sat in the worst seat in the stadium.
Trust me, it was worth the drive -- and the money.
Will Flaherty is the Director of Communications at SeatGeek, the web's leading ticket search engine, and a shameless Duke fan.
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