Where are the New England Patriots fans? Instead of gobbling up seats Monday for the Super Bowl, they were virtual-no shows on the ticket market.
The Patriots will play the New York Giants on Feb. 5 in Indianapolis for the most coveted title in American sports. But followers of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and Co. were acting as if the team was slated for an exhibition game in August.
Just 7 percent of Super Bowl ticket purchases on the prominent selling exchange StubHub came from Massachusetts residents, the site told The Huffington Post. Monday was the first day of sales after the Super Bowl participants were decided Sunday in the AFC and NFC title games. The median sale was $2,800 a ticket.
Maybe it's the economy. Maybe Massachusetts residents don't relish the idea of visiting Indianapolis in the dead of winter -- or at any time of year. Or perhaps there's a bigger reason: "It's a little old hat for Patriots fans," StubHub spokeswoman Joellen Ferrer said.
The Patriots have appeared in four Super Bowls since 2002, winning three. The Giants are no stranger to the big game either, having appeared twice since 2001 and winning once against the heavily favored Patriots in 2008.
The rematch angle isn't catching fire yet in a large part of New England. Less than 2.5 percent of the tickets sold came from residents in Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont. (Connecticut has loyalists on both sides.) New Yorkers, meanwhile, grabbed 13 percent of the tickets. New Jersey residents, where the Giants actually play, bought 8 percent. It's early, but the results seem surprising for a Patriots team that is known for its rabid following.
The Patriots, at least among private resellers and scalpers, were lagging behind before the Super Bowl. Sales for the team's AFC Championship game victory over the Baltimore Ravens trailed far behind the Giants-49ers NFC clash, StubHub said. It's not as if the economy has completely tanked in Massachusetts. Unemployment is 6.8 percent, comfortably below the national average of 8.5 percent.
Combining all territories, secondary-market sales are already approaching pre-recession rates, according to StubHub. The median price was $2,800 a ticket, compared to $2,900 for last year's Packers-Steelers game. Prices bottomed out at a median of $2,000 for the 2009 and 2010 Super Bowls. They reached a median-high of $3,500 in the 2007 Super Bowl between the Chicago Bears and the Indianapolis Colts.
Another resale site, the NFL Ticket Exchange, reported that its average ticket purchase for this Super Bowl has been a healthy $4,183, with a high of $11,883.
If the latter came from a Patriots fan, then a New England comeback on the ticket market might not be far behind.