Peyton Manning’s decision on Monday to sign with the Denver Broncos has already sent shockwaves through the NFL, as the other teams in the chase for the future Hall of Fame signal caller must resort to backup plans and speculation swirls around where incumbent Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow might be headed next.
But beyond the on-field impact of #18 moving out west, Denver fans can almost certainly expect for Broncos ticket prices to shoot up with Manning under center next season. At SeatGeek, we’ve seen plenty of additional interest in Broncos tickets just within the past 24 hours. We saw a 10-fold increase in traffic to our Broncos ticketing pages yesterday as compared to our daily average over the 30 days prior, so there’s already noticeable fan appetite for Broncos tickets in the wake of Manning’s decision.
Though individual game tickets won’t be on sale until the NFL releases final schedules in late April, we can already project to some degree how much Denver fans might expect to pay for Broncos tickets next season, simply by looking at recent historical examples of star players switching teams and the resulting impact of those moves at the box office. Perhaps the most pertinent example is that of the Broncos’ own Tim Tebow. Before Tebow was elevated to the starting quarterback position for Denver last year, Broncos tickets averaged $149, but in the games he started, tickets averaged $171 on secondary markets. Therefore, we calculated that the “Tebow Effect” essentially fueled a 15% premium on Broncos ticket prices.
A few more illustrative examples come from the New York Knicks, who have seen two major player acquisitions within the past two years boost their fortunes at the box office. Last season’s trade deadline acquisition of Carmelo Anthony boosted the team’s ticket prices by 40% on secondary markets, when prices from the 15 days before the trade were compared to those in the 15 days following the trade. And on the very extreme end, “Linsanity” and the stunning emergence of Knicks guard Jeremy Lin led to insane prices for Knicks tickets this February. On SeatGeek, we saw tickets that were selling for $100 on average prior to Lin’s breakout shoot up to $300 on secondary market sites. Even more surprisingly, the Knicks games in question weren’t against marquee competiton such as the Lakers or Heat, as these ticket price spikes occurred even prior to mid-week games against lowly opponents like the Kings and Hornets.
So where will Broncos tickets settle out next year with Manning in the fold? Last year, the Broncos were 12th in the league in terms of average ticket prices with an average of $155.67. Considering the fact that Manning is a proven, bankable star–unlike the mercurial Tebow–it’s probably safe to assume that he could drive a premium at least double that of Tebow, which would mean that we could expect to assume Broncos ticket prices to go up at least 30% on secondary markets. A 30% increase over last year’s ticket prices would put the average for the team at $202, which would rank the Broncos as 8th most expensive team in the league based on last year’s figures, behind league stalwarts like the Patriots, Packers, Bears. If Manning were to drive up Broncos tickets by only 50% - not an unreasonable assumption — their tickets would be expected to cost on average $234, which would rank as the second toughest ticket in the NFL behind only the New England Patriots ($247 avg in 2011).
So if you’re already a Broncos season ticket holder, breathe easy. But if you don’t yet have your tickets for next season and you’re a big Broncos fan, get ready to empty your wallet.
-Will Flaherty is the director of Communications at SeatGeek, the web’s leading ticket search engine. SeatGeek pulls together ticket listings from over 60 secondary market sites and uses unique tools like interactive stadium maps and seat view images to help fans find the best deals on tickets for their favorite teams and artists. To find tickets for you favorite event, head to www.seatgeek.com.