The Patriots’ Super Bowl absence could be a boon for business and Vegas. For the first time in four years, New England will not be playing on the first weekend in February.
Sports bookies throughout the Sin City — and in legalized states — are probably grateful. Fox Sports executives are likely pleased as well, basking in joy alongside ticket resellers, who suddenly have a hot item on their hands.
After 20 years of dominance — including an unreal second dynastic wind that saw the Patriots reach eight straight AFC Championships and five of the last eight Super Bowls — it looked like Patriots fatigue began to set in nationally last season. Super Bowl XLIII was the lowest-rated Super Bowl in 11 years, dipping below 100 million viewers for the first time in a decade.
Four years prior, the Patriots and Seahawks attracted more than 114.4 million eyeballs for their epic matchup. In 2017, Patriots-Falcons, which featured New England’s historic 27-point comeback, garnered 111.32 million viewers. The next year, Patriots-Eagles brought in nearly 7 million fewer viewers.
The trends were not going in the right direction. And while it’s true TV ratings continue to fall across the spectrum, the NFL has remained dominant in the broadcast medium. This season was the most-watched since 2016, when Colin Kaepernick started kneeling and ratings nosedived for a two-year stretch. Since September, NFL games comprise 47 of the 50 most-watched shows in the country. Last year, NFL telecasts made up 31 of the 50 top shows.
With numbers like those, it’s fair to expect the Super Bowl ratings to increase this season. At the least, the amount of money wagered on the big game appears destined to skyrocket, if only for the sheer number of states that now permit legalized sports betting. Including Nevada, 14 states allow the popular practice. Last year, gamblers waged just $146 million on the Super Bowl, reports the Associated Press. That’s down significantly from the record-setting total of $158.6 million in bets that were placed two years ago.
If secondary ticket prices are any indication, the masses are dying to see the 49ers and Chiefs square off. The average ticket sold since the 49ers-Chiefs matchup was finalized checks in at $6,785, and keep in mind, we are still 11 days away from game day. Overall, the average resale price is $6,323.
The resale price last year hovered around $5,240.
“In general, it’s record-breaking demand,” SeatGeek communications manager Chris Leyden told the New York Post. “It seems like the market is about 20 percent hotter than we anticipated.”
In addition to Patriots fatigue, the heightened demand could also be attributed to the anticipation surrounding the 49ers-Chiefs showdown. San Francisco last won the Super Bowl in 1995, whereas the Chiefs haven’t been champions since 1969. Kansas City’s Super Bowl droughts is one of the greatest in sports.
On top of that, the contest features two rising stars at quarterback, Patrick Mahomes and Jimmy Garoppolo. Never discount the star factor.
We love stars in America, and most of all, we love new stars. They are the shiny new objects, after all. When they play for two historic franchises with championship droughts, it is a recipe for enormous intrigue — and money.