Pats fans are clamoring to see the three-time Super Bowl MVP back in action. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Tom Brady’s suspension for his role in the New England Patriots’ Deflategate scandal officially began on Saturday when NFL rosters were set. Brady will miss the first four games of the regular season and is prohibited from communicating with coaches or visiting GilletteStadium. But his presence will still be felt at the Pats’ home as the team raised a huge banner this week at Gillette with Brady’s image.
Patriots fans are clamoring for the real thing though. The result: Brady’s first home game back from his suspension is the NFL’s hottest ticket this season. The average ticket price on the secondary market for the Oct. 16 game versus the Cincinnati Bengals is $837, according toTicketIQ, which works with more than 50 sports teams to help them analyze and sell their tickets directly to fans.
The Patriots’ Nov. 13 home game against the Seattle Seahawks—a rematch of the thrilling Super Bowl XLIX—ranks as the NFL’s second most expensive game at $715. The average price for the three Patriots home games that Brady will miss due to the suspension is $385 compared to $510 for the five where Brady will presumably replace Jimmy Garoppolo under center.
Several things fuel the high prices for Patriots tickets. The list price on their tickets is already the highest in the NFL. Gillette Stadium is one of the smallest venues in the NFL with just under 67,000 seat. Pats games have sold out since 1994 and the season ticket wait list has been estimated at 60,000. Lastly, as all Patriots-haters can attest, the team has been really good for a long time with 13 straight years of double-digit wins and four Super Bowl titles since Brady took the reins in 2001. A Patriots home game has recently been the toughest ticket in team sports when it comes to the hit on your wallet.
The next most expensive game of the 2016 season on the secondary market is the Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings on Sept. 18 for $616. This marks the regular season opening of the Vikings’ new $1.1 billion U.S. Bank Stadium. Rounding out the top five are the Dallas Cowboys at Pittsburgh Steelers on Nov. 13 for $580 and the Patriots at the Denver Broncos on Dec. 18 for $521.
TicketIQ’s NFL roundup provides some interesting tidbits. The Seahawks at $466 edge the Pats ($461) for the highest average home price on the secondary market for the 2016 season. The Broncos ($454), Chicago Bears ($377) and Packers ($372) are the other teams that command more than $350 for their games. The New York Giants and Jets share a stadium, but the Giants ($321) demand 44% more than the Jets ($223) despite the Jets posting a better record two of the past three years. Tickets for the San Francisco 49ers are off 40% since Levi’s Stadium opened in 2014 to $238 for this season. The Jacksonville Jaguars have the cheapest tickets at $141.
The Cowboys are the biggest draw on the road and the secondary market commands an average of $363 per ticket when America’s Team comes to town, according to TicketIQ. Dallas edges Green Bay ($349), followed by New England ($300), Chicago ($280) and Seattle ($277). The Jags are also the NFL’s best bargain on the road at $136 for their eight away games.
The Vikings had the biggest increase with tickets up 113% thanks to their new venue. The Los Angeles Rams are up 88% after ditching St. Louis for their new home in L.A. Prices for the San Diego Chargers are off 26% after the team struggled to a 4-12 record in 2015. Chargers fans also face the possibility of the team relocating to Los Angeles after the season.