This year’s Super Bowl LI will be an anniversary of sorts for me, as it marks the 20th consecutive year that I will have taken part in the host city celebration of the NFL’s final game of the season to decide American football supremacy.
Although I have not sat in the stands for every single one of those 20 games, I have been fortunate to at least assist others in creating their once-in-a-lifetime trip to the Super Bowl. I have used my expertise in designing unique sports experiences to help clients access prime stadium seating arrangements, gain entry to the most exclusive parties, land the most coveted hotel accommodations, and attend the hottest pre-game activities where meeting and greeting NFL stars is commonplace.
Leading up to Super Bowl, here are five tips for those thinking about heading to Houston.
1. When Should I Buy My Super Bowl Tickets?
To say a lot has changed in ticketing over the past 15 years is an understatement, but one thing I still recommend is purchasing your tickets early and not waiting to see if prices will drop. It’s much more likely that the market will go the other way. For example, this year, pricing can spike if a team like the Dallas Cowboys makes it into the big game. A massive fan base close to Houston would mean extraordinary demand. Currently, pricing on the secondary market ranges from $3,500 to $19,000 for prime Club level seating. The secondary market is similar to the stock market when it comes to pricing so expect fluctuations over the next few weeks as certain teams win and lose. The market will move on hype, but it all comes down to supply and demand. I don’t recommend you wait until the last 48 hours to see where it shakes out unless you really enjoy the gamble.
2. Where Should I Stay If I’m From Out Of Town?
Many people who are planning their first trip always seek a hotel near the stadium. Don’t focus on finding a place to stay next to the stadium, but rather, go where the action is! Most often, the excitement of the game will be centralized in the downtown area of the host city. Remember, if you’re going to the game, you will only be at the stadium for a few hours. You will spend the rest of your trip taking in all that the city has to offer.
Keep in mind, however, that 90% of all hotel rooms are pre-reserved for the NFL and its sponsors. A good portion of the other 10% of rooms are purchased years in advance by third party firms who sell all-inclusive packages for individuals looking to attend the big game. There are also travel companies that purchase blocks of hotel rooms in advance to resell individually. If you don’t mind paying market rate for rooms, you will find plenty of options from secondary sources. A four star property in a good location in Houston is currently being sold for $1,000 per night with a three-night minimum, while some premiere hotels are fetching $2,000 per night.
3. What Parties Should I attend?
Back in the late nineties, I had the privilege of helping create the first-ever Playboy and Maxim parties. I definitely can tell you that if you have no rooting interests, Super Bowl parties will be the best thing about your weekend. This is where corporate America comes to party.
Part of what makes these parties so exciting is the celebrity attendees and performers. Rolling Stone recently announced that superstar DJs Diplo and Cassidy and legendary rapper Nas would be headlining its party, while Taylor Swift will headline the Direct TV event. Most tickets on the open market will go from $500 to $1,500 depending on the party, and access is usually very limited.
4. How Do I Get To Meet NFL Players?
The Super Bowl is the perfect chance for fans to interact with NFL players, both past and present. If you really want a once-in-a-lifetime experience, there are ways to arrange personal golf outings or dinners with athletes. Most current and former NFL players receive between $5,000 and $15,000 for a two-hour appearance during Super Bowl week.
5. When Should I Book My Airplane Tickets?
If you know you are going to the game, make your flight reservations as early as possible. Note that sometimes there are routes to cities close to the host city that might offer cheaper and better flight times. This year San Antonio and Austin may provide some great additional options for travel.
From someone who has been both a spectator and a planner for the ultimate in Super Bowl experiences, it didn’t take me 20 years to realize that football’s biggest weekend, and all the festivities that go along with it, make for an extraordinary moment.