Brokers Are Anything but Broke : Reselling Tickets to Sporting Events Is Profitable Business

Times Staff Writer

Thinking of taking the family to the Super Bowl next time it's played in Los Angeles?

It might be cheaper to take them to Europe.

Tickets to this year's game at the Rose Bowl had a face value of $75, but brokers sold the best of them for $1,500, or 20 times face value.

Brokers said that they were the hottest tickets in town since Bruce Springsteen's 1985 shows at the Coliseum and the hottest sports tickets in Los Angeles since the Closing Ceremony at the 1984 Olympics.

"The Super Bowl has become the darling of corporate America," said Fred Ross, owner of Front Row Center. "Major corporations throughout the world look at the Super Bowl as being the No. 1 perk of the year."

And so, Ross and other brokers said, demand for Super Bowl tickets is incredibly high because corporate executives are willing to spend almost anything to get them.

The same is true of most major sports events, they said.

"The bigger events just keep getting bigger and bigger," said Dave Adelman, co-owner of Murray's, which sold ringside seats to the Leonard-Hagler fight in April for $2,500.

The most coveted tickets in town during the 1980s have been those to the 1981 World Series between the Dodgers and New York Yankees, the three Super Bowls that were played at the Rose Bowl and the Olympics, Adelman said.

During the Olympics, Murray's sold tickets to the Opening Ceremony for $1,000 and to the Closing Ceremony for as much as $1,500.

If the Dodgers make the World Series this year, Ross said, tickets could go for as much as $500.

Surprisingly, brokers said that ticket demand for the 1985 National Basketball Assn. final series between the Lakers and Celtics was not that high. They said demand was a little higher for last week's two games against the Celtics, with seats near the ceiling going for as much as $125 and those down low between the free throw lines going for about $750. Courtside seats went for about $1,000.

Buyers for the finals helped the brokers recoup their losses from the earlier playoff rounds, said Brian Harlig, co-owner of Good Time Tickets.

"We took a beating in the first few series because there was very little interest," Harlig said.

Laker tickets in general are not in heavy demand, brokers said.

"They charge so much for the tickets to begin with that they're just priced out," Adelman said. "We try to keep the prices where it's reasonable, at least."

Regular-season Laker tickets, Adelman said, "just keep getting tougher and tougher to sell."

Said Harlig: "The interest isn't there anymore because they're too good. It's almost a foregone conclusion that they're going to win."

But tickets for the NBA championship series between the Lakers and Boston Celtics were going for as much as $800.

According to brokers, other hot tickets in the last few years were the Angels' playoff series with the Boston Red Sox last year, the 1982 Iowa-Washington Rose Bowl, the 1984 UCLA-Illinois Rose Bowl and USC-Notre Dame football games.

And opening day of the Dodger season, they said, is becoming increasingly popular.

Usually, ticket demand for the Rose Bowl is not heavy unless it involves a team that hasn't played in the game for a long time, the brokers said. But this year's game, involving first-time participant Arizona State, "was a huge disappointment," Ross said. "People from Arizona didn't come out."

Ross said there is "some kind of magic" about a USC-Notre Dame football game.

"I think everybody in the country is a Notre Dame fan and when they come to L.A., people come out of the woodwork," he said. "It's not a high-priced ticket--about $100--but the people who have the tickets don't want to sell them, so they're hard to come by, which makes it a hot ticket."

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