As hundreds of thousands of football fans arrive in the Valley of the Sun, Super Bowl tickets reach record highs. So why is it they always command highers price when the game is held in a warm weather city?
When the New England Patriots were going to meet the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLVI on 5 February 2012 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana, I telephoned a die hard Patriots fan that lived in Boston, Massachusetts, and asked if he was planning on travelling to Indianapolis to attend the game.
“Are you kidding?” he asked. “It's cold enough in Boston. Why on earth would I want to go to Indianapolis for the Super Bowl when I can watch it at home on TV?”
“But it's an indoor stadium, and it will be heated,” I offered.
“So will my living room,” my Patriots friend responded. “I'd rather watch the game at home. Now if it were Miami or New Orleans, that's a different story.”
I read in the newspaper a few hours ago that the cheapest available Super Bowl tickets were now fetching US$6,000 plus! And a couple of days ago, I read that the tickets always fetch more money when the game is played in a warm weather city.
Cold Climate Super Bowls
Which begs the question – whose idea was it to hold Super Bowls in cold climates anyway?
I always thought that half of the fun of attending the Super Bowl was escaping winter for a couple of days and watching the game in a sun bathed stadium.
Miami, Florida, has hosted 10 Super Bowls, nine were held in New Orleans, Louisiana, and seven in Los Angeles, California. Of the 45 Super Bowls held so far, the overwhelming majority were held in the so called Sun Belt.
There have only been a handful of exceptions. Two Super Bowls were held in Michigan, one in Detroit and another in Pontiac. And one was held in Minneapolis, Minnesota. If you count the one held in Palo Alto, California – not exactly the Sun Belt, Northern California winters are not exactly balmy – that would make four.
Imagine waiting for years - decades maybe - for your team to make it to the Super Bowl and when it finally does you find out that it was being held in Anchorage, Alaska!
There's More to the Super Bowl Than the Game
I've only been to one Super Bowl, the year the Oakland Raiders met the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in San Diego, California, and I'd have to say that there was far more to the experience than the game itself because most fans arrived early in order to party in the run up to the game.
For me, it started at the executive aviation terminal at Oakland International Airport before departure, where I started meeting other fans that were every bit as excited as I was.
We bonded with each other on the cocktail rich chartered flight to San Diego and high-fived each other in the corridors of the hotel in the run up to the Big Day.
I spent my mornings hanging out at the hotel swimming pool and my afternoons watching pre-game coverage on TV.
For the three nights preceding the game, I traveled into San Diego's Gaslight district – the first two nights alone, the third with friends I met over breakfast by the pool.
Sea of Silver and Black
The streets – which had been closed to traffic – were awash in a sea of Silver and Black. I read in the newspaper that an estimated 200,000 Raiders fans had descended on San Diego, most of them without tickets. They just wanted to be a part of the action.
There was this incredible sense of camaraderie and joy. When I started dancing to the music of some street musicians, some fans from Tampa Bay came up and danced with me. At the hotel, I met football fans from Dallas and Philadelphia.
The excitement was infectious. The Dallas fans were in town on business, but got caught up in the excitement of being in a city hosting the Super Bowl. They wondered if they could get tickets.
The couple from Philadelphia had been given Super Bowl ticket as Christmas presents by their children in the expectation that the Eagles were Super Bowl bound.
“Since the Eagles didn't make it, we're going to root for the Raiders,” one of them said to me the night before the game.
Escape from Winter
For me, half the fun of going to the Super Bowl was escaping from a chilly Northern California winter to a warm and sunny San Diego. Would it have been as much fun in Detroit or Minneapolis or Indianapolis or Rutherford, New Jersey?
Maybe, but I don't really think so.
Looking ahead, Super Bowl L will be held in Santa Clara, California - not exactly known for its balmy winters.
Super Bowl LI will be held in Houston - that sounds more promising. As for Super LII? Would you believe that it's going to be held in Minneapolis?
As much as I want my Raiders to go to the Super Bowl, I sure hope it isn't in 2018!
I'm with my friend from Boston. Super Bowls should only be played in cities with warm climates – and preferably in party towns like Miami or New Orleans.