The Carolina Panthers haven’t opened a season with five straight wins since 2003, when they went on to play in the Super Bowl.
So the fact that the team is off to a 6-0 start for the first time in its 21-year history? Kind of a big deal.
Even the sharpest prognosticators can’t predict whether this early-fall success will lead to mid-winter glory, but one thing is obvious: The more the Panthers win, the deeper fans will have to dig into their wallets to pay for seats at Bank of America Stadium.
And of the five home games remaining on the 2015 schedule, one contest in particular is driving the resale market crazy.
On Nov. 8, the Panthers will host the Green Bay Packers for the first time in four years. If the stars align (i.e. if both teams prevail in Week 8), they’ll each come into the matchup with an undefeated record.
As of Thursday, the cheapest Panthers-Packers seat available on secondary marketplace StubHub was listed at $252; on average, the final sale price so far has been $258.
“It’s actually the highest-selling Panthers game that we’ve had in the past five years, and we’re not even the week-of yet, when we see most of our sales,” said StubHub spokesperson Cameron Papp.
By comparison, the cheapest seat on StubHub for the Panthers’ Monday Night Football game against the Indianapolis Colts is much more affordable – $80 – and tickets for it have actually sold for an average of $139.
From the Panthers’ perspective, of course, demand has been high for a long, long time. Phil Youtsey, the team’s executive director of ticketing and sponsorship, said the Colts game will mark the Panthers’ 131st consecutive sellout. And he said interest in PSLs has been strong all year, with fewer than 2,000 season tickets remaining for 2016.
But Youtsey is also warning fans to be aware that there has been a significant rise in the number of counterfeit tickets this season.
“We saw it a little bit starting with New Orleans (on Sept. 27), it really trended up big-time at the Philadelphia game (last Sunday), and indications are it’s going to happen again over the next few games,” he said.
Bottom line: Buyer beware.
The only two outlets authorized by the team, Youtsey said, are Ticketmaster and its NFL Ticket Exchange resale platform, which guarantees the authenticity of tickets.
When we looked on Thursday, Ticketmaster continued to show availability of a handful of single tickets for the Colts game, with prices ranging from $58 for upper-level seats to $430 for a club level ticket. The Packers game, meanwhile, is entirely sold out unless you buy from a reseller via the NFL Ticket Exchange.
The cheapest pair of Panthers-Packers tickets on that site will set you back $296 apiece, and these are upper-level seats. If you want to be closer to the action, there’s a pair in Section 202 for $389 each. And if you’ve got money to burn and no one to go with, a single seat in Section 136 is listed for $2,223.
More telling, though, is how much tickets are actually selling for. On Wednesday we saw a pair of tickets to the Green Bay game (Section 224, Row 7) receive a winning bid on eBay of $835; another pair in the upper level (Section 511, Row 8) was won at auction for $630.
To put that into context, in 2014, Panthers tickets sold on StubHub for $157 on average, ranking them 14th in the league. StubHub’s Papp said sales have increased by about 30 percent this season. (By the way: StubHub, while not an authorized reseller, recently garnered an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau along with TicketsNow and RazorGator.)
Despite the increased buzz, the Panthers-Packers game doesn’t rate as the hottest NFL ticket in America right now.
For that, you’ll have to look to Sports Authority Field at Mile High in Denver, where the cheapest ticket to see the 6-0 Packers play the 6-0 Broncos on Sunday is running $334 on the NFL Ticket Exchange. A pair on the 50-yard line has an asking price of $3,334 apiece. And on StubHub, a seller is offering a similar pair for $4,896.06 per seat.
All this is to say: If Green Bay wins on Sunday and Carolina is victorious on Monday, anyone who still has Panthers-Packers tickets they can’t use will be able to sell them for an even prettier penny on Tuesday.
State laws say...
It is illegal to sell Panthers tickets on the street for more than $3 over face value.
On the Internet, resellers can sell tickets for as much over face value as they wish, so long as they adhere to state and federal tax laws, as well as guidelines requiring them to provide protections to purchasers.