Every year, Super Bowl tickets are scalped at substantial margins -- often more than double face value. Savvy purchasers know to wait until the few days immediately preceding the big game in order to get the best deals, but with that comes the added pressure of making sure they don't scammed into buying counterfeit tickets as the Super Bowl market has its unfair share of fakes. Thankfully for fans, the evolution of anti-counterfeit technology has made Super Bowl XLIX tickets the hardest yet to counterfeit, and here's why.
While the first Super Bowl tickets in 1967 cost a shade over $10 and lacked any security features, 2015 Super Bowl tickets on TiqIQ are currently averaging at $4,385.01 and are laden with safety measures to protect buyers willing to drop that kind of money. If the current secondary market average holds, this will be the most expensive Super Bowl of the past five years, edging out the Patriots last appearance in 2012 by about 4 percent when Super Bowl XLVI tickets owned a $4,214.53 secondary average. The current get-in price for this year's game is $2,100. Naturally, this year's tickets feature the most extensive assembly of security features of any Super Bowl to date.
Each ticket for this year's game will have two barcodes to scan on the front, one at the top of the ticket and the other at the bottom. Each barcode should line up and have a matching serial code. If the numbers are different from the top and the bottom, it's a surefire way to know that tickets are fake. Another superficial way to know if a ticket is counterfeit is the raised portion in the center of the ticket, which can be easily felt by running a finger over it. Most fakes are rushed and poorly made copies on lesser-stock paper, and this rather simple feature is often ignored.
More advanced security features include holograms on the front and back, thermochromic ink designs and black light stamps on the back of the ticket. The lower right portion on the front side of a real ticket will feature a holographic Lombardi trophy atop the "XLIX" Roman numerals, while the back of the ticket has a square 3-dimensional hologram of the Roman numerals above a landscape of the rising sun-over-Arizona design.
While a finger can be easily run over the thermochromic ink at the bottom of the back of a ticket to reveal the Super Bowl logo, a ticket holder's best friend will undoubtedly be a $10 black light to reveal the more advanced security features on the back of the tickets. This method holds true to all other Super Bowl Parties and their respective tickets as well.
By running a black light over the back of a real Super Bowl ticket, a holographic-looking square at the top should be visible. Along the right side, the words "Super Bowl" with "XLIX" Roman numerals running horizontally underneath, all in red, will appear. Then, below the numerals, the date of the game -- "02-01-2015" -- will also appear in red. Additionally, there are yellow fiber flakes embedded throughout the paper of the tickets, which are also made visible by black light exposure.
Still, the best way to avoid counterfeits is to force accountability upon those selling the tickets. Have a contract drawn up with blank fields for names, addresses and prices. Then demand to see a driver's license to confirm identity and personal information. Most reputable ticket resellers have a smartphone credit card processing device such as a Square reader. Demanding a contract with identify confirmation and/or to pay via credit card for the protection it provides is a reliable way to scare off scam artists and protect yourself when ponying up big funds for Super Bowl tickets.
These measures of accountability coupled with knowing what features to look for on real Super Bowl tickets can save a ticket purchaser thousands of dollars, both by avoiding scams and being comfortable making eleventh hour purchases at lower prices.