(Photo: Janet McConnaughey, AP via USA Today)
Laura Bly, USA TODAY
While hardly a bargain, the price of admission to this weekend's Big Easy showdown between the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers is dropping sharply.
Four days before the Super Bowl, says ESPN.com, the get-in ticket price is hovering around $1,400 - about $1,000 cheaper than it was at this time last year, according to numbers provided by Ticketmaster's resale site, the NFL Ticket Exchange. Some ticketing insiders are even predicting that many tickets will go for face value of $850 to $1,250, ESPN.com adds.
Among the reasons for the cratering prices: Limited local interest from jaded New Orleans residents who already have hosted multiple Super Bowls, coupled with the fact that last-minute airfares, particularly from Baltimore and San Francisco, are still sky-high. (Case in point: A recent search on Kayak.com for the cheapest fare from San Francisco to New Orleans, leaving Thursday Jan. 31 and returning Monday Feb. 4, showed $1,580 round-trip.)
On the hotel front, Jim Zissler of Inside Sports & Entertainment Group told CNTraveler.com he was seeing rooms open up at the team's hotels (the New Orleans Marriott for the 49ers, the Hilton Riverside for the Ravens) as well as at other spots around the city.
"The NFL blocks off about 90% of the hotel rooms of any quality in the host city to fulfill needs for teams, staff, media, and sponsors," Zissler told CNTraveler.com. "And then this week, those companies might realize they only need 93 rooms instead of a hundred, so a few pop open in ones and twos."
A Wednesday afternoon search on Kayak.com found 205 hotels with availability from Thursday to Monday within five miles of the Superdome, and 93 within a mile. For travelers looking to stay closer to the city center, there are still 204 hotels within five miles and 108 within a mile.
That's a sharp departure from last Friday, when the hotel search site trivago.com reported that New Orleans rooms were sold out. As of Wednesday afternoon, the site showed nine available hotels from Thursday through Sunday night, with rates as low as $600 per night for the Holiday Inn French Quarter.