For the first time, fans who want to guarantee themselves a ticket to the Super Bowl if their team makes it can do so ahead of time.
On Location Experiences, which is partly owned by the NFL owners' venture fund, is offering fans of the eight remaining teams the opportunity to reserve seats to the game contingent on their team making it.
In order to participate in the offer, fans have to declare their team and put down a $1,000-per-ticket deposit as well as a credit card. If their team wins the AFC or NFC on Jan. 22, the card is automatically charged with the entire amount. If their team does not make it to Super Bowl LI, the deposit made is completely refunded.
"We have these fans now who might be buying tickets just in case their team wins, and if not they have to start to think about selling it," On Location Experiences CEO John Collins said. "We've created a no-risk situation."
On Location Experiences has roughly 9,500 tickets allocated with a little more than 3,000 tickets that had to be held back, per the NFL's stipulation, for fans of teams in the game.
The company is selling four packages. The cheapest comes with an upper-level ticket and a lower-end tailgate party and starts at $5,949. The top package starts at $12,749, includes a prime lower-bowl ticket, a top-shelf tailgate party and access to the field for postgame. Hotels and access to the parties at Club Nomadic -- a traveling series stopping in Houston for the Super Bowl with performances by the Chainsmokers, Bruno Mars and Taylor Swift -- are sold separately.
On Location Experiences' new business came out of the league's desire to better control the sale of tickets after brokers shorted the market for the Super Bowl in Phoenix two years ago. Brokers sold tickets they didn't yet have with the idea of buying them closer to the game in order to make money on the sale. When the inventory wasn't there and brokers had to lose money, many reneged on their commitments, and fans left without the tickets they thought they had bought.
Buying from On Location Experiences does come at a premium, but the group hopes to offer more security. A fan buying from the company gets a specific seat, instead of a zone, and tickets should be in hand roughly a week before the game, according to the group. The tailgates and the parties are also run by companies owned by On Location Experiences.
There is some urgency in the ticket marketplace, as the Dallas Cowboys' making the game would likely result in sky-high prices, especially given the game's location in Houston.