Our team has examined resale ticket sales for the NFL, the NBA, MLB, March Madness, and concerts, and we’ve consistently found that fans get the best deals if they wait to buy tickets until the days just before the event.
But does the same rule apply to high-profile games like the NFL playoffs or even the Super Bowl? To find out, we looked at more than 50,000 StubHub ticket sales from last year’s wild-card rounds, divisional rounds, conference championships, and Super Bowl to find out if it pays to wait to buy postseason tickets on the secondary market.
- Wait to buy your NFL playoff tickets. In each round of the playoffs, tickets were considerably cheaper within 48 hours of kickoff.
- Compared to one week beforehand, average ticket prices were lower on the day of the game in every round of the playoffs:
- Wild-card round: 21% lower
- Divisional round: 11% lower
- Conference championship: 17% lower
- Super Bowl: 49% lower
- Super Bowl ticket prices were nearly 50% cheaper on game day compared to two weeks prior (the day the matchup was confirmed).
Best time to buy NFL playoff tickets
Similar to regular-season tickets, prices of resale tickets sold in the postseason last year trended downward closer to game day. Because opponents are only announced one week in advance for each round of the playoffs (excluding the Super Bowl), we looked at seven-day price movements — from the day matchups become official to game day.
On average, the cheapest time to buy a playoff ticket for an NFL game is the day before the game. Ticket prices reached their lowest average price on that day for both the divisional and championship rounds, and were the second-lowest for the Super Bowl. Wild-card round tickets were just a few dollars more expensive than their lowest average price the day before the game.
When to buyOn average, the cheapest time to buy a playoff ticket for an NFL game is the day before the game.
Wild-card round ticket prices
The wild-card round kicks off the playoffs and has the most games on the schedule. As a result, tickets for this round are the most affordable.
For this round, ticket prices dropped fairly consistently the closer it got to game day, with the best overall price available two days before kickoff. But the costs for one day before the game and game day itself were extremely close in average cost. That means any fans who were willing to wait to buy couldn’t really go wrong either way.
Divisional round ticket prices
As the field of contenders narrows, average ticket prices rise, starting in the divisional round.
In the divisional round, new trends emerge:
- Ticket prices actually rise for a day or two in the wake of official matchups (after teams win in the wild-card round).
- Ticket prices bottom out the day before the game, versus the day of the game.
Compared to seven days before the game, ticket costs rose 20% four days before the divisional games, but ultimately wound up 11% lower than the week-before cost by the time game day rolled around.
Conference championship ticket prices
With just four teams remaining, resale ticket prices start to increase during the conference championship games. On average, tickets cost more than $1,000 on multiple days the week of the game.
The best time to buy championship game tickets was one to three days before the game, with the lowest overall price coming the day before game day. Tickets cost over $200 more on game day compared to one day before — though both costs are lower than prices seven days before the game.
The best time to buy Super Bowl tickets
Super Bowl tickets operate differently than other playoff games. Many seats go to corporate sponsors, there’s an additional week between games, and there are generally exorbitant prices to get into America’s most-watched sporting event.
As we saw with other playoff tickets, prices trended downward as the big game approached. Compared to two weeks before kickoff, resale ticket prices were down more than 35% in the days leading up to the Super Bowl, including costs that were nearly 50% lower on the actual day of the game.
Though playoff tickets will not be cheap this year, fans should know there are some ways to save on the resale market, and the easiest way might just be to run out the clock.
Tips for saving money while supporting your favorite NFL team
Whichever fan base you’re part of, there are ways to save money while you support your team this season:
- Shop online for your team gear. Using the Capital One Shopping browser extension, you can compare prices for team gear when you’re looking for your next jersey.1
- Earn perks and rewards with ticket purchases. Certain credit cards offer rewards on entertainment purchases, such as NFL tickets. Find out how you can use your Chase Sapphire card to earn experiences.
- Evaluate your budget. Take some time to look at your current spending. Maybe you're spending money on things you don't love as much as football. Some of the best budgeting apps make eliminating unnecessary spending really easy.
Alternatively, you could start a side hustle for some extra income to cover the costs of being a die-hard NFL fan. Check out our list of ways to make extra money.
FinanceBuzz used data from seatdata.io to analyze over 50,000 NFL playoff tickets sold on secondary markets (such as StubHub) for all playoff games played during the 2022-2023 NFL postseason.