Super Fans Play the Field for Tickets

Times Staff Writer

Talk about a hot ticket. Those for Super Bowl XXII are so hot--$3,000 for a seat on the 50-yard line--they're sizzling.

"People are asking an arm and leg for them," said Brian Perry, a 24-year-old real estate investor from Tempe, Ariz., who wants to go to the Jan. 31 game in San Diego with his partner and take a few employees along as a special treat.

Easier said than done, Perry will tell you.

Officially, the price for a seat at Super Bowl XXII is $100 per ticket--but try to find one for any amount close to that.

And before you cry foul, it is legal in California to sell tickets for more than face value--scalping, it is aptly called--if it is not done at the event site.

"I put an ad in the newspaper two weeks ago and since then I've had honestly about 500 calls. But I can't find a seat under $750 and that's in the end zone," Perry said. "Today, a guy called offering me 50-yard line seats at $3,000 a seat. I will pay $1,000 for the right ticket because I love football and love the event . . . and if you ever go, you'll try to go again. But I don't know about this year. Ticket prices are much worse than last year, and they're just getting higher and higher, out of everybody's price range."

A spokesman for Murray's ticket brokers in Los Angeles confirmed the $750 asking price for end-zone seats and said the better tickets are going for $2,000 to $3,000.

Tom Moburg of San Diego said he can't afford those prices, but he's hoping "somebody who doesn't want to make a killing on tickets" will sell him a couple at a reasonable price, $300 or $400 apiece.

Moburg, who is just getting established in commercial real estate in the San Diego area, would like to take his 2-year-old son, Travis, to the game for the sake of family history.

The advertisement Moburg placed in several Southern California newspapers reads:"FATHER & 2 YR OLD SON NEED SUPER BOWL TIX," with a phone number.

"Travis sees his share of football on TV and if we have the opportunity to go, I'd like to take him," Moburg said. "So when we get to Super Bowl No. 50, he can say he was there in 1988 in San Diego."

Moburg would like to take his wife, Josie, to the game, too, but for that he'll need a third seat.

No Ticket, No Entry

National Football League officials have ruled that everyone entering the stadium for Super Bowl XXII must have a ticket. That includes babies and small children who usually are allowed in free by most NFL teams during regular season games as long as they sit in a parents' lap.

But high price isn't the only problem for would-be Super Bowl-goers. Ducats, at any price, are apparently getting scarcer as Super Bowl Sunday approaches.

To begin with, there are 27,563 fewer tickets for this game than last year's. Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego, hosting its first Super Bowl, is the smallest stadium ever to be awarded the event. It will seat 73,500 fans, compared with 101,063 at the Rose Bowl, which hosted Super Bowl XXI. Each of the 28 NFL teams is allotted a certain number of tickets. Of course, the competing Super Bowl teams, the Washington Redskins and Denver Broncos, receive the most (13,672 each), but that is not nearly enough to offer them to all season-ticket holders, so each team holds a lottery.

As a result of the ticket shortfall, individuals and ticket brokers are advertising to buy and sell Super Bowl tickets in newspapers from coast to coast.

"They're asking outrageous prices and very few of them even have the tickets in hand," said Monterey Park businessman Sal Ocampo, who recently decided he wanted to go to the Super Bowl and take his three sons, ages 26, 23 and 19. "We watch football all the time," he explained. "Sunday is NFL day for us. We went last year, and we decided we'd like to go this year since it's so close. I'd never travel to Washington (D.C.) or Miami for one. I'm a 49er fan and my team lost, but I'd still like to go. Last year we got seats for $400 (apiece)."

Stephen Mostero of San Pedro takes an enterprising approach to the ticket shortage. Mostero already has bought 10 Super Bowl tickets and has plans to purchase more. A 25-year-old house painter, Mostero takes pride in finding early bargains on the elusive tickets.

Money Left Over

This is the third year Mostero has bought Super Bowl seats for a group of stockbrokers and lawyers. "I work for a few individuals," he said. "Last week I got a 50-yard line seat for a guy for $1,500 and he gave me $200. That way, I make enough to buy tickets for my brother and me. So, I see the game practically free. Last year, we went to see the game and had $800 left over.

"I really enjoy doing this," said Mostero, who played football in high school and now is a volunteer coach at St. Peter and Paul Elementary School in Wilmington. "I hope one day to be in the stockbrokering business and it's kind of like that. You watch the (ticket) market and see that you're not buying too high for your client. He's happy when you get him a good deal."

Friday, Mostero hopes to hear from a man in Washington, D.C., who contacted him early this week to say he had a block of 20 tickets on the 40-yard line that he wanted to sell for $1,000 each. If he gets the tickets, they already are spoken for, he said.

"Last year, they were about 40% cheaper at this time," Mostero confided.

For those who have tickets and wish to sell them, like John Perrone of Glendora, the trick is in the timing--whether to sell now or wait to see what happens with the prices in the coming week.

"I've had a lot of calls, but I'm not into this scalping business," said Perrone, an engineer for Lockheed who won two 20-yard line Super Bowl tickets in a restaurant drawing. "I don't want to sell them to a ticket agency. I'd rather find someone who really wants to go to the game."

Perrone is asking $2,000 for his two seats. "A friend of mine sold his two weeks ago for $2,000, so that's what I'm asking. The price fluctuates so much, I'm just going to play it by ear. If the Bears were playing, I'd go. But now, I'd just as soon watch it on TV and take my ticket money and go to Puerto Vallarta for a week."

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