The NFL kicks off its season next month, and fans are eager to get back to the stands. Many fans are also turning to the secondary market to see their favorite teams. This often means inflated prices and high service fees. So is there any way to save on resale tickets?
Unlike initial-sale tickets, secondary market prices fluctuate over time. Is there a “right” time to buy tickets, and should fans wait or buy early?
To uncover the best time to buy resale NFL tickets, FinanceBuzz analyzed over 1.6 million aftermarket ticket sales from the 2021-2022 NFL season. Using data from SeatData.io, we determined when ticket demand is highest, when prices are lowest, and how long fans should hold out to get the best deal.
- Game day is the best time to buy a ticket to an NFL game. Tickets on game day are 29% cheaper than average, yet only 4% of resale tickets are sold that day.
- The worst time to buy NFL tickets is 3+ months in advance. Fans paid 16% more than average when buying resale tickets 3 months or more in advance. In comparison, fans who bought resale tickets the week of the game paid 18% below average.
- The average cost to buy a resale NFL ticket during the 2021-2022 season was $203. Fans saved an average of $37 per ticket by buying during the week leading up to game day.
- 28% of all secondary-market NFL tickets were sold the week of the game.
The best time to buy tickets for an NFL game
When it comes to buying secondary-market NFL tickets, patience is a virtue. While it may be hard for some football fanatics to wait, holding off until just before game day can reap big savings.
NFL fans who purchased tickets months before a game pay more on average than those who wait until the last minute. Tickets purchased more than three months before a game cost 16% more than the average resale price for the season. And nearly one-fifth of all resale tickets were sold during this time period.
Conversely, the longer fans waited to buy tickets, the better deal they got. Fans that waited until the week of the game paid 18% less than average for their seats — a savings of nearly $40 per ticket. During the 2021-2022 NFL season, 28% of resale tickets were purchased the same week as the game.
Fans who want the best possible deal on NFL tickets are going to have to be the most patient. On average, the lowest-priced tickets were sold the same day as the game. Only 4% of all resale tickets were sold on game days, but they were a staggering 29% cheaper than average.
If waiting until game day feels too risky, fans can still save over 20% on average by purchasing tickets even one or two days before a game.
NFL fan bases that can save the most by buying the week of the game
This trend — a rapid price drop the week of the game — applied to 31 of the 32 NFL teams last season, the lone exception being the Indianapolis Colts. Fans of any NFL team other than the Colts were able to save even more than average by waiting until the week of the game to buy resale tickets.
Fun fact40% of all Houston Texans’ home-game secondary-market tickets were purchased the week of the game. That’s the highest percentage in the NFL.
Compared to the average resale cost for a home ticket across the entire season, Seattle Seahawks fans who waited to buy got the biggest discount of any NFL team. On average, Seattle fans saved 39% by waiting until the week of the game to buy tickets. They’re one of four fan bases that saved over 30% on average by being patient last season.
The other fans who saved big by waiting to buy tickets were the New Orleans Saints (35% average savings), Jacksonville Jaguars (33%), and the Buffalo Bills (33%).
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:
- Cut the cord. For those planning on watching at home, find the cheapest ways to stream your team with our sports streaming tool. Just put in your must-see team, and the tool will tell you the cheapest combination of streaming services to catch every game.
- Shop online for your team gear. Using the Capital One Shopping extension, you can compare prices for team gear when you’re looking for your next jersey.
- Earn perks and rewards with ticket purchases. Certain credit cards offer bonuses on entertainment purchases, such as NFL tickets. Find out how you can use your Chase Sapphire card to earn experiences.
FinanceBuzz used data from seatdata.io to analyze over 1.6 million NFL tickets sold on secondary markets (such as StubHub) for all regular season games played during the 2021-2022 season. Games played overseas were not included in this analysis.
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