Believe it or not, the Super Bowl didn’t used to be a particularly big deal.

Today the Super Bowl stops the nation. Almost 100 million people, a third of the country, tunes in to watch the game, according to data from CBS. 

Some even come to watch the actual football, as opposed to zoning out until the now-traditional ad blitz. A 30-second advertisement costs $5.25 million in the 2019 game, up just slightly from 2018’s $5.2 million slots. Maroon 5 and Travis Scott took the stage in the 2019 game, while as we write this article Jennifer Lopez and Shakira warm up their voices for the 2020 halftime show.

In the first Super Bowl though, held in 1967, the University of Arizona Symphonic Marching Band took the field as headliners for the halftime show. Twenty years later, in 1987, the University of Southern California joined forces with Grambling State University for the halftime of Super Bowl XXI. Things went downhill two years later when Super Bowl XXIII brought on Elvis Presto, an Elvis Presley impersonator, as the halftime entertainment.

In that first Super Bowl, companies could run an ad spot for $37,500, roughly $290,000 in 2020 dollars.

It wasn’t until the mid-1990s that the Super Bowl started to become the enterprise that we know today, with halftime shows and advertising that frequently overshadows the game itself. And nowhere can we see that more clearly than in the history of Super Bowl ticket prices. As you’ll read below, while a ticket today costs more than a new computer, it wasn’t that long ago that you could see the Super Bowl for less than the price of dinner and a movie. (The prices are based on data from the Star Tribune and Bleacher Report.) 

A Historical Look at Super Bowl Ticket Prices

1967

Average Ticket Price – $12

Inflation Adjusted – $92

1968

Average Ticket Price – $12

Inflation Adjusted – $88

1969

Average Ticket Price – $12

Inflation Adjusted – $84

1970

Average Ticket Price – $15

Inflation Adjusted – $99

1971

Average Ticket Price – $15

Inflation Adjusted – $95

1972

Average Ticket Price – $15

Inflation Adjusted – $92

1973

Average Ticket Price – $15

Inflation Adjusted – $86

1974

Average Ticket Price – $15

Inflation Adjusted – $78

1975

Average Ticket Price – $20

Inflation Adjusted – $95

1976

Average Ticket Price – $20

Inflation Adjusted – $90

1977

Average Ticket Price – $20

Inflation Adjusted – $84

1978

Average Ticket Price – $30

Inflation Adjusted – $118

1979

Average Ticket Price – $30

Inflation Adjusted – $106

1980

Average Ticket Price – $30

Inflation Adjusted – $93

1981

Average Ticket Price – $40

Inflation Adjusted – $113

1982

Average Ticket Price – $40

Inflation Adjusted – $106

1983

Average Ticket Price – $40

Inflation Adjusted – $103

1984

Average Ticket Price – $60

Inflation Adjusted – $148

This year began the Super Bowl’s modern ticket price practices. While tickets remained relatively inexpensive to what fans expect to pay in 2020, up until 1984, prices had remained largely stable with only occasional, modest jumps. From this point on that practice ended.

1985

Average Ticket Price – $60

Inflation Adjusted – $143

1986

Average Ticket Price – $75

Inflation Adjusted – $175

1987

Average Ticket Price – $75

Inflation Adjusted – $169

1988

Average Ticket Price – $100

Inflation Adjusted – $217

1989

Average Ticket Price – $100

Inflation Adjusted – $207

1990

Average Ticket Price – $125

Inflation Adjusted – $245

1991

Average Ticket Price – $150

Inflation Adjusted – $283

1992

Average Ticket Price – $150

Inflation Adjusted – $274

1993

Average Ticket Price – $175

Inflation Adjusted – $311

1994

Average Ticket Price – $175

Inflation Adjusted – $303

1995

Average Ticket Price – $200

Inflation Adjusted – $337

1996

Average Ticket Price – $275 to $350

Inflation Adjusted – $450 to $573

Ticket prices in 1996 are noteworthy because this is arguably when the Super Bowl begins to take on modern pricing practices. This year represents a big jump in prices, and from 1996 onward, prices not only continued to increase; they did so dramatically. This year is also an outlier because it will appear that ticket prices decrease afterward.

1997

Average Ticket Price – $275

Inflation Adjusted – $440

1998

Average Ticket Price – $275

Inflation Adjusted – $433

1999

Average Ticket Price – $325

Inflation Adjusted – $501

2000

Average Ticket Price – $325

Inflation Adjusted – $485

2001

Average Ticket Price – $325

Inflation Adjusted – $471

2002

Average Ticket Price – $400

Inflation Adjusted – $571

2003

Average Ticket Price – $500

Inflation Adjusted – $698

2004

Average Ticket Price – $600

Inflation Adjusted – $816

2005

Average Ticket Price – $600

Inflation Adjusted – $789

2006

Average Ticket Price – $700

Inflation Adjusted – $892

2007

Average Ticket Price – $700

Inflation Adjusted – $867

2008

Average Ticket Price – $900

Inflation Adjusted – $1,074

It is within the past decade or so that Super Bowl tickets have become truly a luxury for the rich, or those willing to save hard. From this point on, prices begin to leap by hundreds of dollars between most years.

2009

Average Ticket Price – $1,000

Inflation Adjusted – $1,197

2010

Average Ticket Price – $1,000

Inflation Adjusted – $1,178

2011

Average Ticket Price – $1,200

Inflation Adjusted – $1,370

2012

Average Ticket Price – $1,200

Inflation Adjusted – $1,343

2013

Average Ticket Price – $1,250

Inflation Adjusted – $1,378

2014

Average Ticket Price – $1,500

Inflation Adjusted – $1,628

2015

Average Ticket Price – $2,000

Inflation Adjusted – $2,168

2016

Average Ticket Price – $2,500

Inflation Adjusted – $2,676

2017

Average Ticket Price – $2,500

Inflation Adjusted – $2,620

2018

Average Ticket Price – $2,500

Inflation Adjusted – $2,557

2019

Average Ticket Price – $2,900 – $4,300

Inflation Adjusted – $2,914 – $4,322

2020

At time of writing, the average ticket to Super Bowl 2020 sold for $6,785. A far cry from when you could see the game for the equivalent of $90.