I've been trying to figure out how the economic downturn is affecting the sales of sports tickets. The problem is that the only league that is really operating at full strength right now is the NFL and most of those tickets are sold out.
That doesn't mean that I was out of luck. Instead of looking at attendance numbers, I figured out I had to look at what those tickets are commanding on the secondary market versus last year's prices to see what markets are suffering the most.
I e-mailed the people at eBay's StubHub to provide me with the average ticket price to all 32 NFL teams from last year and the current price through this week's games. This isn't a perfect system because the numbers given to me from last year aren't the through Week 6 numbers. Rather, they are through the end of the season. But hopefully this data still provides some insight on what teams are suffering.
Teams With The Biggest Ticket Price Drop
Team 2007 2008 %Change
Chiefs $122 $88 -27.9
Patriots $245 $180 -26.5
Broncos $204 $150 -26.5
Lions $117 $89 -23.9
Bengals $135 $113 -16.3
Teams With The Biggest Ticket Price Gain
Team 2007 2008 %Change
Falcons $70 $88 +25.7
Browns $98 $124 +26.5
Cardinals $102 $128 +25.5
Jaguars $84 $103 +23.8
Jets $131 $157 +19.8
All this says to me is that it's too early to read an economic effect. Why? Because there seems to be a reason behind eight of the teams on this list.
Two of the 10 teams' fortunes are directly related to players -- the Patriots losing Brady and their mojo, while the Jets picked up Brett Favre (For what it's worth, the Packers off 14.8 percent on the secondary market). The Chiefs and Lions are horrible again, while the Bengals are unexpectedly bad. The Falcons are much better than they were last year, while there's more hope in Arizona this year.
The Browns were the hardest to figure out, but I did it. They've played three home games against the best teams -- Dallas, Pittsburgh and the Giants, the latter of course on Monday Night Football.
I can't give you good reasons for the decline of the Broncos and the rise of the Jaguars, but it's safe to say that either it's too early to see an economic affect on NFL ticket prices. It also might be possible to conclude that NFL tickets are so much in demand that the secondary ticket prices will only be affected by the rise and fall in the fortune of the teams. I'll check back on these at the end of November.
Questions? Comments? SportsBiz@cnbc.com