The market forces behind Super Bowl 50 tickets

At an average of $6,000 a pop, tickets to Super Bowl 50 might seem like a steal compared to the $10,000-plus prices that were paid before the big game last year. But the difference is that it's still two weeks from the game.

When you compare prices at this point in the calendar, this is by far the most expensive game in recorded data, according to figures from secondary ticket marketplace TiqIQ. In previous years, ticket prices two weeks out averaged in the $3,000 to $4,000 range. In those past years, prices stayed stable as the game got closer, and then dropped in the days before the game.

That's likely because secondary market sellers had to offload the tickets they had left to at least get some money back. When the market was flooded with all those tickets, prices naturally dropped. When the Super Bowl is a day away, it's not like everybody can just drop everything and fly out to the game.

That pattern of last-minute prices drops was true every year — until last year. Ticket prices skyrocketed from around $4,000 to more than $10,000 in the days before the game — because many brokers had "short sold" tickets.

They sold tickets they never had, hoping to buy them later at a cheaper price. It didn't work, and then all these brokers had to scramble at the last second to get whatever they could. That's what drove up the price. No different than a volatile short-covering rally in the stock market.

This year, the government and ticket marketplaces are cracking down on short selling. You need to actually own the ticket before you sell it. As a result, supply is down and prices are higher. The difference is that a $6,000 price may actually stay stable for the next two weeks, and possibly even come down to patient buyers willing to wait until the last second.