The old adage: "Money can't buy everything" may be true.
But you'll certainly need lots of it if you want to visit Miami, Florida, during the NFL Super Bowl weekend – regardless of whether or not you've already forked out thousands of dollars to attend the game on Sunday.
The NFL is one of the most popular professional sports in America, and with the Kansas City Chiefs facing off against the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV, the highly anticipated game has sent ticket prices soaring. The grand final at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens is now tracking to be the most expensive Super Bowl in history. The average cost of a ticket to the game is currently US$8517 (AU$12670), according to online ticket platform SeatGeek. Want the best available seat? That'll be US$47,000 (AU$69919), thanks. If you want to go with a group of friends, an 18-person suite will set you back about US$439,000 (AU$653079), according to TicketIQ.
Or for something more private, you can get a box for two people located on the 35-yard line, in the 72 Club living room section, for US$60,000 (AU$89259). The latter experience includes post-game field access, as well as an athlete and celebrity meet-and-greet opportunity. Premium pre-game food and beverage service is also included.
Compared to previous Super Bowls, the average resale ticket price is nearly US$1,000 (AU$1487) more than the second most expensive game, Super Bowl LII, CNN reports.
But many fans are willing to pay the price with an estimated 150,000 out-of-state visitors expected to travel to Miami for the Super Bowl, according to the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau.
However, the hefty price tag doesn't only apply to tickets to watch the live spectacle – which will include a half time performance show headlined by Jennifer Lopez and Shakira – for a few hours.
Hotels, serviced apartments and other types of accommodation – including private rentals listed on AirBnb – are where most sports fans from outside of the city can also expect to be stung. Even at the cheaper end of the scale, two star motels including Beach Hotel Place, are renting rooms for around US$400 (AU$595) per night on Super Bowl weekend. Serviced apartments that are usually advertised on sites including booking.com for around US$180-$250 (AU$267-$371) per night are listed for upwards of US$800 (AU$1190). Even basic studio apartments are going for thousands of dollars per night.
Some fans who miss out on tickets to the game come for the festivities in the days leading up to the main event. Lizzo, Kanye West, Guns N' Roses, Cardi B, Maroon 5 and Snoop Dogg are among the dozens of high-wattage musicians scheduled to perform at some 46 concerts between Thursday and Sunday. Tickets to those performances are available from upwards of $100 – a fraction of the price of attending the Super Bowl.
"The Super Bowl weekend turned into a festival. The line-up is as good if not better than Coachella," said Jesse Lawrence, founder of TicketIQ, a site that tracks ticket prices across multiple resale platforms.
"The Super Bowl has an incredible brand, probably one of the strongest brands out there," he said. And the location seems to have amped up the excitement this year. '
The event usually attracts "a bunch of artists and people," according to Mr Lawrence.
"But I happen to think that Miami is putting everyone else in the dust."
Based on last year's Super Bowl in Atlanta, Uber and Lyft say they're expecting ridership demand to pick up starting Thursday and through Super Bowl Sunday, the Miami Herald reports.
It'll also be prime time for price surging, especially right after the game.
Uber and Lyft declined to say how high rates could get during the Super Bowl. Instead, both companies said prices would fluctuate based on traffic, location, time and demand for drivers.
MPR News, a public radio station in Minnesota, tracked Uber surge pricing when Super Bowl 2018 was held in Minneapolis. The highest surge it found was 3.9x regular prices at 4:30am Monday — hours after the game had ended.
WHAT'S THE BUZZ ABOUT THIS GAME?
Super Bowl LIV tickets are "the most in-demand we have ever seen," with an average cost that could surpass $7,000 (AU$10413) by kick-off, SeatGeek communications manager Chris Leyden told FOX Business. The price surge is attributable to several factors, including the game's location in sunny Miami, a smaller-than-ever stadium venue and two hungry fan bases for teams that haven't played in a Super Bowl in recent memory.
"In some ways this is the perfect storm of below-average supply and well above average demand," Mr Leyden added.
Few Super Bowls in recent memory have promised to be as competitive as the San Francisco 49ers against the Kansas City Chiefs.
The history stems from the Chiefs seeking their first title since 1970, when they won the fourth Super Bowl in the final matchup of AFL-NFL. The full merger took place the next season – and Kansas City hasn't been back to the Super Bowl for which its founder, Lamar Hunt, provided the name.
"I think he would be amazed," said his son, Clark Hunt, who now oversees the Chiefs. "He and my mother actually talked about that at one of the last Super Bowls they attended together about 15 years ago. He said, 'I always knew it was going to be big, but I didn't know it was going to be this big."
Then there's Andy Reid, whose NFL head coaching resume goes back to 1999 in Philadelphia. He has a Super Bowl ring from work as an assistant coach in Green Bay, but Reid is 0-1 in the big game.
"Just getting him here isn't the goal," star tight end Travis Kelce said. "Winning this thing for him is." San Francisco is seeking its sixth Vince Lombardi Trophy, which would equal the record held by Pittsburgh and New England. The 49ers also are looking to be only the second team to go from 4-12 the previous season to the top of the heap. "It's been quite a journey," said halfback Raheem Mostert, who himself has had quite the sojourn in the NFL. He was cut by seven teams and was a special-teamer for the 49ers before getting a chance – and taking off running with it. Mostert rushed for 220 yards and four touchdowns in the NFC title game. "This franchise has a lot of history and accomplishments. Of course we want to add to that."
Both teams have wideouts capable of swinging momentum in their team's favour. For the Chiefs it's perhaps the speediest group the NFL has seen.
The 49ers have a powerful pass rush sparked by a deep front four that includes a sack threat at every spot – including one rookie, Nick Bosa. A year ago, the Niners were so bad they had the second overall draft pick. They took edge rusher Bosa, and look where they are now.
The Niners have 57 sacks including the playoffs, with veteran linebacker Dee Ford, Bosa, Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner all having at least 7 1/2. Fred Warner has developed into a versatile linebacker and Richard Sherman remains one of the NFL's great cornerbacks – an action guy who will love taking on Mahomes.
"We believe in each other," Sherman said. "We believe in the scheme. We believe in what we've done all year, and we plan on going out there and putting a good product on tape and seeing how it goes." For Kansas City, whose defence performed particularly well down the stretch of the regular season but hasn't been so stingy in spots during the postseason, how it goes Sunday very possibly will depend on how successful Mahomes is. The 49ers don't need their QB, Jimmy Garoppolo, to be extra special; he's been more of a caretaker behind that monstrous running game and defence in the two postseason victories.
Make no mistake about Mahomes: Kansas City needs him to be, well, vintage Mahomes.
Which means big plays with his arm, thrown from angles we didn't know existed. Howitzer throws as he rolls out – even to his left – and doesn't bother fully planting his legs. Maybe even the tightrope kind of run down the sideline that still has NFL folks shaking their heads in wonder.
"You have to accept the excitement that it is," Mahomes said this week as he stood on a podium and spoke to reporters. "It's amazing to be here, to be in this atmosphere, to be at this podium. It's where you want to be when you start training camp in St. Joe, Missouri. For me, to be in this moment, I'm just enjoying it as much as possible."
Chances are, Mahomes and his teammates, along with the 49ers, will produce one of those enjoyable, memorable, perhaps even classic Super Bowls.
Those pouring their savings into being there to see it all unfold will likely be hoping for the same thing.
Super Bowl LIV will be played on Sunday at 6:30pm ET (Monday 12pm NZT).
– With AP