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Here’s how the pandemic will impact Super Bowl ticket prices

Yahoo Sports Reporter Charles Robinson joins Yahoo Finance Live to discuss how covid-19 will impact Super Bowl ticket prices and break down the nonstop problems the NFL is facing during the pandemic.

Video Transcript

ZACK GUZMAN: Of course, it's only week 11 here. But I don't think it's too early to start talking about the Super Bowl and what plans might look like around there. A new report from Yahoo Sports is highlighting the fact that tickets there are expected to shoot up quite significantly here. It's been a theme that we've seen play out through the season.

And for more on that, I want to bring on Charles Robinson, Yahoo Sports reporter joins us now. And Charles, I mean, when we look at it, it's been the theme this season because we know that capacity's being constrained in a lot of these stadiums. So what are you expecting to see when we approach Super Bowl time here and how much it's going to cost?

CHARLES ROBINSON: Well, I can tell you right now what a lot of people on the market are worried about is that there's going to be a ticket desert. And essentially with the NFL taking in COVID data, as they head into the Super Bowl and potentially limiting capacity at Raymond James Stadium, right now the grid that the league is looking at is somewhere between 10,000 and 20,000 fans getting into Raymond James Stadium for the Super Bowl.

Now, that could change. That could dramatically rise. It could lower. They're looking at some of these reports out of Moderna, Pfizer. They're hoping that the vaccine kicks into gear pretty quickly. I think there's a possibility the NFL if that were to happen could even look at setting up vaccinations for fans for the Super Bowl if it moves quickly enough for that to happen in February.

Now, that seems unlikely. But as it stands, ticket brokers and a lot of people in the ticket industry are sitting there. And they're looking at this. And they're saying, if capacities are cut, if we have somewhere between 10,000, and 20,000 fans-- and I think they're thinking it's going to be on the lower end of that. The question becomes, what's ever going to make it to the market?

The NFL's working right now with its partner NFL on location to sell a lot of these fan experience packages. But remember, NFL players have a contractual right to purchase two tickets. Each and every one of them have a contractual right to purchase two tickets from the NFL for the Super Bowl. Most NFL players fulfill that option. That could take as many as 5,000 tickets out of a pool that could only have 12,000 tickets.

You remove 5,000 tickets-- next thing you know, you're dividing 7,000 tickets amongst sponsors, networks, teams, owners, all of these different entities. And so the question is, where does the trickle down happen? This isn't the typical 65,000, 70,000 seat capacity stadium where there's plenty of trickle to get out and that affects the market.

If there is no market, if there are no tickets, that's going to absolutely constrain the ability for people to get anything on that secondary market. And you could see prices rise to $10,000, $11,000, $12,000, which would be, far and away, the most pricey Super Bowl in the history of the NFL.

AKIKO FUJITA: Charles, what about the cost to just make this a safe Super Bowl? You kind of alluded to the fact that they may be looking at potentially vaccinating those who are going to the Super Bowl if that is available. But when you look at how the season is played out so far, there are so many teams that have had to deal with their own outbreaks. What has the league learned from that? And what's your expectation of just how stringent things are going to be for the Super Bowl?

CHARLES ROBINSON: Well, as you said, I mean, it has been sort of a trial and error process. The NFL has 32 hubs out there that, not necessarily on game day, but, at least, in their own facilities with their own personnel are dealing with protocol-- COVID protocols so they can not only look at it on a micro level, which is sort of, hey, how do we keep the team safe? How do we keep personnel safe? Reporters, basically everyone orbiting a franchise.

And then on a macro level, as you said, there's a handful of teams that have been able to get fans into stadiums. You look at the Dallas Cowboys. They had over 30,000 fans in early November for the home game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. And remember, that's at a time that Texas is on fire with COVID infections. And, yet, the Dallas Cowboys are ushering in more fans than anyone ever thought was possible in the NFL.

So what that's doing is it's giving the NFL an ability to sort of take all of these situations with teams on a case-by-case basis and say what's the cost outlay for your testing? What's working? What's not working?

I think what's interesting-- the Kansas City Chiefs for the season opener-- fans who were in suites for the Kansas City Chiefs all received a COVID test with their ticket. And they all had to take these COVID tests. And then essentially, the medical data that came back was anonymous that we assigned-- each person was assigned a number, and the NFL was essentially alerted.

OK, here's the tickets that were laid out for these suites. Here's the anonymous numbers. Here are the people who tested positive as part of this ticket package. And now they had to reach out and alert medic-- they had to have medical officials reach out and alert these fans that, hey, you're positive. Now, you can't go to this game. I think at the bare minimum, every single person who ends up in Raymond James Stadium in February is going to be COVID tested.

ZACK GUZMAN: Yeah, at the Kansas City game earlier this year, we saw us a fan slip through that process too. And the team had to address that all happening too. You think about how many games have been rescheduled this season and how complicated it would be to reschedule the single greatest sporting event in the nation each year, the Super Bowl. No one wants to see that. We'll see what happens as we get closer. Charles Robinson, Yahoo Sports reporter-- appreciate you coming on.

CHARLES ROBINSON: Thanks for having me.