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Average fans face uphill battle for limited Super Bowl tickets

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Professional football is the country’s most popular sport but, ironically, the NFL’s biggest game is also the most elusive for its legions of fans.

Wealthy companies, individuals, sponsors and celebrities gobble up tickets and shell out hundreds of thousands of dollars for luxury suites with all the amenities.

After those groups lock up their packages and the league distributes tickets to all its teams, very few tickets are left for the “average” fans who largely support the league.

“I realize it’s a business and there’s a big corporate aspect to it but I think there should be more tickets available,” said Jill Thacker, 36, who was raised in the state of Washington but has lived in Phoenix for the past 12 years.

Seventy-five percent of the tickets are allotted to the league’s 32 teams, with almost half split between the two conference champions, the Seattle Seahawks and the New England Patriots.

The last 25 percent goes to the league office. From that allotment 1,000 tickets are made available to the general public through a random drawing. According to, winners of the drawing are notified in the fall that they have the opportunity to purchase one pair of tickets. These are the only tickets officially sold by the NFL.

“The percentages come from a league resolution. It hasn’t changed in something like 20 years,” said Fred Otto, director of event management for the NFL.

Thacker is a lifelong Seahawks supporter and savvy enough to understand the NFL’s ticket distribution policy. But she doesn’t agree with it, pointing out
average fans attend the games and spend money on merchandise that supports the league.

“I feel like that’s not the NFL supporting fans very well,” she said.

However, Thacker is still pursuing every avenue to find a ticket and she’s not alone in her do-whatever-it-takes approach.

Chris Micklovich, 37, who moved to Phoenix from Watertown, Massachusetts one year ago, is also upset about the limited number of tickets but is also prepared to go to any length to buy one.

“It’s not cool, but at the end of the day, I’m finding a way to get to the game. If I have to take a title loan against my truck, I’m going to the game,” Micklovich said in a classic Boston accent easily indicates his rooting interest.