NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Despite -- or maybe because of -- a bevy a controversy, New England Patriots fans are chomping at the bit to see their team the first week of the football season.
The past six months have been littered with highs and lows for the New England Patriots. Once again at the top of the sport, New England won its first Super Bowl since 2004 thanks to a game-clinching interception by defensive back Malcolm Butler at the goal line. Then the controversy surrounding the air pressure of game balls used in the AFC Championship Game landed the team with a hefty fine and quarterback Tom Brady with a four-game suspension, pending an appeal. The scandal hasn't completely turned Patriots fans away, however -- most have vehemently defended Brady and the team -- and Patriots tickets on the secondary market for Week 1 are still among the most demanded for any NFL game this season.
Each year, the reigning Super Bowl champion gets to open the season at home, typically on the first Thursday night of the year. That will be the case this season when the Patriots host the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday, September 10. According to TiqIQ, the average price for Patriots vs Steelers tickets is currently $489.85, with a get-in price of $226. That would make it the eighth most expensive game on the secondary market during the 2015-16 NFL season. It also makes it the most expensive opening night game for the NFL since 2010 when the New Orleans Saints followed their first Super Bowl win against the Minnesota Vikings in 2010. That game had an average price of $533.31, with a get-in price of $210.
Since 2010, all season-opening games have seen at least a $400 average price on the secondary market except for two. In 2012, the Green Bay Packers opened at Lambeau Field against the New Orleans Saints, pitting the previous two Super Bowl winners against each other. While the game had a relatively low $363.69 average price, it was 47.5% above Green Bay's season average on the secondary market. The 47.5% would be the third highest for season openers since 2010 behind New Orleans and this year's Pats game.
The other game that fell below a $400 average was due to a scheduling conflict. Because the Baltimore Orioles had a home game when the NFL wanted to schedule the opener, the defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens were sent out to Denver to open against the Broncos in 2013.
This year's game being so expensive is slightly surprising due to the unknown status of star Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. Brady is currently suspended for the first four games of the regular season, but appealed the suspension earlier this offseason. No ruling has yet been made, but barring a complete overruling of the suspension, Brady would not be eligible to play against the Steelers. That has not discouraged Patriots fans from wanting to come out to Gillette Stadium to see the championship banner raised. The Week 1 game is the most expensive of the season, followed by a Week 7 game against the New York Jets. Should Brady's four-game suspension hold, that would be his first home game of the regular season and the current $386.11 average price could increase.