Going to the Super Bowl from Australia
Note: As this post was originally published in 2019, some of the references are out of date. (Like the Patriots one coming up).
This time of year, after the team that will face the Patriots in the Super Bowl has been confirmed, many Aussies find themselves hypothetically planning their own trip to the Big Dance: What would it actually be like to go? How much would I end up spending? Flights and accommodation alone would be crazy, right? Is it even possible to get tickets to the Super Bowl?
Some people actually go through with it. In 2016, Wes Garth decided at half time of the AFC Championship game that “if the Broncos hold on to this lead and make it through, I’m going”. Quan Le started planning his 2017 visit two years early, when he saw that it was being held in Houston, where his sister lives. He ended up seeing what was arguably the greatest Super Bowl of all time. Our very own Sarah Juchima went to SB XLVIII in her capacity as a producer at Triple M, where she met a contest winner known as ‘The Juice’, and the rest is history.
Planning on going to the Super Bowl?
You can search through our tickets to Super Bowl LV here, but you should also email our Australian-based customer service team before booking so we can make sure you’re getting the best deal.
With Wes, Quan and Sarah’s stories in mind, we put together this planning guide for anyone who might actually be serious about making the trip from Australia to the Super Bowl:
Step 1: Look at future Super Bowl locations and dates
The NFL announces upcoming Super Bowl venues years in advance, and unlike other postseason formats, the dates get locked in early, too. This is great for trip planning – you’ve got a date and a location that you can stick a pin in and build the rest of your itinerary around.
Here are the upcoming Super Bowl venues that have been announced by the NFL:
|2019||Atlanta||Mercedes-Benz Stadium||February 3rd|
|2020||Miami||Hard Rock Stadium||February 2nd|
|2021||Tampa||Raymond James Stadium||February 7th|
|2022||Los Angeles||New stadium [under construction]||TBD… but February something.|
|2023||Glendale, Arizona||State Farm Stadium||February 5th (TBC)|
|2024||New Orleans||Mercedes-Benz Superdome||February 4th (TBC)|
Step 2: Plan for flights and accommodation
Unless you also win a radio competition or you know Hutchy, the Super Bowl is going to be an expensive adventure for you. There’s really no way around this. Even if you methodically research the best time to buy tickets (more on this below), you’re still looking at thousands of dollars to get a ticket to the biggest sporting event in the world.
Therefore, if you can find ways to save money on other parts of your trip, it’s worth the hassle, right?
At the time of writing1, Skyscanner and WebJet have a return trip from Melbourne to Miami (including a stopover/s) priced at around AU$1500 total. The Hopper app rates the current price as the best for the last 6 months, and expects it to rise from here onwards2.
These prices would have fluctuated plenty over the last 12 months, so if you’re planning ahead (i.e. you’re more of a Quan than a Wes), you can save yourself some money.
Skyscanner AU suggests that you can save up to 7% 3 on flights to the USA if you book 22 weeks prior. In the case of a Super Bowl trip, that means you’re booking around September. Hopper say that most of their ‘best price’ alerts for international flights are sent out on Thursdays and Fridays (Australian time)4 – but most people actually book on the weekends, when prices are generally higher.
Commit to going, then sign up to Skyscanner and/or the Hopper app’s price alerts and wait until you get notified of the best deal… and try to get this done before October/November5.
As a general rule, the sooner you can book your accommodation for the Super Bowl, the better. Sure, hotels around the world often have last-minute price drops in order to fill empty rooms, but that’s pretty unlikely at the Super Bowl. For example, in 2018, Minneapolis had a capacity of approximately 40,000 hotel rooms6 – around 20,000 of which were pre-booked for NFL staff – to cater for an expected 125,000 visitors coming to town for SBLII. Unsurprisingly, this resulted in accommodation prices skyrocketing7.
Most people going to the Super Bowl, though, try to book accommodation that is either walking distance to the stadium where the game is being held, or close to the airport, so this is where the prices are likely to be highest. You can probably save yourself some money if you put more than 25 minutes of driving between your accommodation and the host stadium.
Book accommodation early, put a little bit of distance between where you’re staying and the stadium, then figure out the journey to and from the game later. You won’t be the only one doing this.
Step 3: Get your tickets
Yes, you can get tickets. Prices will fluctuate based on demand, though, as they’re coming from the secondary ticket market. It’s important to note here that at Sports Where I Am we only work with accredited brokers and guarantee all of our tickets as genuine.
Here’s where Super Bowl tickets come from
One thing about Super Bowl tickets: No ‘face value’ tickets are sold directly from the NFL to the general public8. They’re spread out across the teams and the league to then decide how to allocate them9.
All tickets for the Super Bowl contain the same authentication and security features such as holograms and heat-sensitive ink. So even if you have mixed feelings about the secondary ticket market, the restricted nature of Super Bowl ticketing means you’ll be fine as long as you buy your ticket from a reliable source.
When is the best time to buy your Super Bowl tickets?
It’s difficult to confidently predict the best time to buy, as there are so many factors that can influence the price of tickets. Some studies are done on the fluctuation of prices in the final 20 days before the game10, where prices can jump up or down by a few hundred dollars in a given day. If you’re travelling from Australia and planning ahead, though, you’re probably hoping to have your ticket sorted before then. Like anything else, your best option is to shop around and keep an eye on prices. Even if you somehow pick the best time of year to get it, you should expect to part with a minimum of AU$3500 for a ticket to the Super Bowl11.
If you’re checking throughout the year, you’ll see that the earliest tickets that become available are for ‘zones’, not for specific seats. This is where a ticket seller will know that they have a ticket in a certain area of the venue, but the exact location hasn’t been confirmed by the NFL yet. At the time of writing, we don’t list ‘zoned’ seats at Sports Where I Am, as we prefer to wait until we can guarantee the specific spot. Most years, these tickets become available on our website and App around September or October.
You’ll collect your tickets there
Quan was apprehensive about this part. “I’ll be honest, this is the part I was most reluctant about. After speaking to the team at Sports Where I Am, I was confident booking through them, but collecting the tickets somewhere nearby in the city? It sounded strange.”
As a security measure, your tickets for the Super Bowl will need to be collected from a nearby location in the lead up to the event. Major ticket providers will set up a temporary base for this specific purpose, usually within a mile of the venue12 which you’ll need to visit with photo identification in order to collect your tickets.
“Once I got there, it was fine, it was a professional setup and I collected my tickets, no worries. Adrian from SWIAM talked me through the whole thing, too, which helped”.
Step 4: Check what else is on
The festival atmosphere in the city will hit you as soon as you step off the plane. Quan described its immediate impact on his trip: One of his friends was not planning on going to the Super Bowl – he was happy to sit it out after already committing to a few NBA games on this trip. After arriving in Houston, though, he ultimately got caught up in the buzz of the city and sought out a last-minute ticket.
In terms of events, there is the NFL Super Bowl Experience, which Wes calls “a mash-up of interactive displays, a museum and a theme park of all things NFL… which you really must do”. The Super Bowl Opening Night, Super Bowl Pre-Game Party, and NFL Super Bowl Tailgate are some other official functions happening, not to mention the parties being thrown by bars and clubs as well as concerts across the city14.
Of course, if you haven’t got enough sport, other events on Sports Where I Am during the month of February include NBA, NHL, NCAA or NASCAR.
Make some time in your itinerary to get involved in the NFL-related events and parties happening in the city, then contact the SWIAM team and ask for a discount on another sports event after you already splurged on Super Bowl tickets.
Email us, we can help
Ticking off a bucket list item like this, which you’ll talk about for years to come, is a big commitment – especially for Australians. Sarah, Wes and Quan will tell you that it is absolutely worth it – but your starting point should be to get in contact with us via email or Facebook Messenger so we can try to sweeten the deal with an active discount code.
If you’re planning to go to the Super Bowl you can search through our tickets to Super Bowl LV that will (eventually) appear here, but you should also email our Australian-based customer service team so we can make sure you’re getting the best deal.
- We updated this section in December 2019 to be relevant to SBLIV. The original post was written in January.
- Says Wes: “It’s not too late to go, NFL fans! I implore you! Get your SB ticket through SWIAM and work the rest out, you will not regret it!”
- From Skyscanner AU: How far in advance to book cheap international flights?
- From Hopper: 10 Most Common Booking Mistakes
- Note: We’ve got no affiliation with Skyscanner, WebJet or Hopper.
- From Washington Post: Supply, Demand and the Super Bowl
- Says Quan: “In 2017, I saw an Airbnb listing for a 5 bedroom house a few miles from NRG Stadium priced at $72k for the week of the Super Bowl!”
- The NFL does release some tickets in packages (i.e. combined with tickets to another associated event or accommodation) but these are also priced based on the same supply & demand influences as the secondary ticket market.
- This Boston.com article from 2018 approximated the following breakdown:
Where tickets are allocated % The two participating teams get 17.5% of available tickets each 35% The ‘host’ team gets 5% 5% All other 29 teams get 1.2% each 34.8% The NFL league office gets 25.2% 25.2% Total 100%
- Google it, this article is long enough already.
- Prices are a fair bit higher than this at the time of this update. That figure was a general estimate of the cheapest you could get for any Super Bowl.
- Sometimes, it’ll be in a hotel.
- Come on, what did you expect us to say here?
- Wes’ daughter – who insisted he go through with his plan to rush off to the Super Bowl – still can’t believe that he has seen Beyoncé live and she hasn’t.