WATCH: Hundreds of people who bought Super Bowl tickets through brokers were left in the lurch for the big game. Rumina Daya explains.
Greg Lakovic was planning on celebrating his 40th birthday watching the Super Bowl in person with his wife Natalie.
Instead, the Kelowna couple will be watching it from a TV screen in the city where it’s being played, along with hundreds of other who have had their tickets revoked at the last second.
“I was bawling all morning,” said Natalie Lakovic from a Phoenix hotel. She bought the tickets for $7,000 from TicketCity as a surprise present in December, but was only told their tickets wouldn’t be available today.
“He said it’s a once in a lifetime thing, I want to go for my birthday, but now we’re sitting down here and want to go home.”
“We’re down here for no point.”
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Every year ticket brokers sell seats ahead of time on online sites. It’s a mutually beneficial arrangement for resellers, those who get tickets virtually every year but aren’t planning on going to the game, and people who don’t have access to the limited number of public tickets available.
However, this year TicketCity is one of many companies unable to get tickets they regularly rely on because of increased demand and more people holding on to their seats.
“Late this week we became aware that certain long-term partners were not going to deliver the tickets they were to supply. As a result we are unable to fulfill all of our orders,” wrote TicketCity CEO Randy Cohen in a letter posted to the company’s website.
“In our 25 years in business we have never experienced a situation like this. We understand we let you down and we are truly sorry.”
As of midday Saturday the NFL Ticket Exchange, the league’s official ticket re-sale website, didn’t have tickets for less than $9,000. The cheapest ticket on StubHub was nearly the same. One listing on Craigslist in Phoenix was selling tickets for $8,000 each with the seller willing to meet the buyer at their bank to complete the transaction.
Cameron Papp, spokesman for StubHub, said the only other event that came close the level of ticket cost fans are seeing was the BCS championship game between Notre Dame and Alabama in Miami two years ago. Papp said the average ticket price sold on their site for this year’s game is currently $3,700. Last year it was $2,500.
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“This is unprecedented really. We’ve never seen prices this high,” Papp said. “We have much lower inventory this year than we did in the past. A lot of people bought tickets early as compared to last year. Last year in New York everyone waited until the last couple of days to buy tickets because they were spooked by the weather. This year a lot of people bought early and we’re running out of tickets.”
TicketCity is offering the Lakovics a full refund, plus an extra $4,000 for travel costs.
But Natalie says the airfare alone cost $2,000 and the Holiday Inn they’re staying at is $700 a day because of demand.
“What a way to ruin his birthday, you only turn 40 once,” she said.
– With files from The Associated Press