Ticket Demand for Chargers-Broncos Sunday Game
There's plenty to like about the Broncos as they head into their Divisional game with the Chargers this weekend. They have home field advantage. They have a record setting offense led by a record setting quarterback. Since they play the Chargers twice a year, they know their opponent well.
But there's reason for concern, too. The last team to beat Manning's Broncos? The Chargers. Where? In Denver. Only two teams have held the high-powered Broncos to fewer than 30 points this season, and the Chargers did it twice, beating the Broncos once. Then there's the spooky similarities with the 2007 season: Manning's Colts were 13-3, hosting the Chargers at home in the Divisional round. And the Chargers won, 28-24.
Combine those concerns with Manning's 9-11 career playoff record, and the number one seeded Broncos certainly seem mortal, if not fragile. Can the sixth seeded Chargers pull the upset? Let's just say it's more likely than it looks on paper - and fans seem to agree. At an average ticket price of $374, Sunday's game at Mile High is the most in-demand Broncos home game since at least 2009 when we began monitoring the secondary ticket market, with prices even higher than for Peyton Manning's first home game in Denver last season on Sept. 9, 2012 against the Steelers (average ticket price of $360).
To put that in perspective, Broncos home game tickets this season sold for an average of $234.53 in nine regular season games. So this week's Divisional playoff is selling for an average of $139.47 more. Whoa. For an even larger contrast, compare this week's average price to the last time the Broncos and Chargers played. Ticket prices for Sunday's game are up 88% in comparison to the Chargers' Monday night visit to Mile High less than a month ago on Dec. 12, a game which drew an average ticket price of $199.
Demand is up 40% for this year's Divisional round home game over last year's against the Ravens, which drew an average ticket price of $267. Right now, the least expensive pair of tickets available for Sunday's game are listed at $148 each in the corners of the upper deck -- an $83 markup on the lowest face value offering ($65) at the Broncos box office. The cheapest tickets in the lower level are listed at $233 each, and we've already seen some fans spend $2,000 per ticket on front-row seats behind the Broncos bench.
Predictably, demand has increased over the past few days as Chargers fans begin to buy up tickets to Sunday's game. Almost 25% of the traffic to SeatGeek's event page for the game has come from California since the Chargers advanced with their win over the Bengals on Sunday; in comparison, about 30% of the visits to the page have come from Colorado over the same span.
Despite the record demand for a Broncos home game, Denver-San Diego is only the second-hottest ticket of the weekend behind the Seahawks-Saints game on Saturday night, which is drawing an average ticket price of $415 -- the highest we've ever seen for a divisional round game. Meanwhile, the average ticket prices for the Panthers-49ers and Patriots-Colts games are $271 and $195, respectively.
Of course, Chargers-Broncos is only the flavor of the week. If the Broncos defeat the Chargers on Sunday, tickets will be even more expensive for an AFC Championship Game in Denver -- especially considering that it would be against either Peyton's former team, the Colts, or Tom Brady and the Patriots. The least expensive tickets for a potential title game at Mile High are currently listed at $330 each, and the average ticket price is a whopping $630.
Can Manning overcome his playoff woes and lead his number one seeded Broncos to the AFC Championship game? We'll find out this Sunday at 4:40 pm, EST.