Lack of a major East Coast team in the game has to account for the significant price drop. Give the Steelers fans credit (SB 40), of all the teams in the NFL, their fans would be the most inclined not to think twice to take out a second mortgage on the house to be able to support their team in the big game. Text: Posted on Wed, Jan. 31, 2007 $1,500: Super Bowl ticket prices cheaper BY DOUGLAS HANKS dhanks@MiamiHerald.com Good news, sports fans: Super Bowl ticket prices are dropping fast. The bad news: Experts say $1,500 per seat will still qualify as a bargain on game day. Stung by over-hyped demand for this Super Bowl, brokers have watched ticket prices drop from record levels this week to the point that some think tickets may be cheaper at Dolphin Stadium on Sunday than at frigid Detroit last year. ''Yesterday, the bottom just dropped out and the market crashed,'' Don Vaccaro said Wednesday as corner seats in the upper-level end zone were selling for $2,200 apiece on his company's website, ticketliquidator.com. Two days earlier, he said, the same seats sold for $3,200. Other brokers weren't so grim but agreed that a miscalculation of fans' eagerness has turned Super Bowl XLI into a buyers' market. Some hotels expecting to be sold out on game weekend instead are cutting prices and lifting minimum-stay requirements, travel brokers and hotel executives said. At South Beach's Cavalier Hotel, within view of ESPN's temporary beachside studio, owner Ralph Abravaya suddenly found himself facing an empty hotel for Super Bowl. Two months ago, a Boston travel broker paid $75,000 to reserve all 45 rooms at the Cavalier for the weekend. 'He called Monday and said, `I thought I'd get the Chicago fans to take all the rooms.' But he couldn't,'' Abravaya said. The broker forfeited his money, and now rooms once advertised at $450 a night are down to $299, about $100 more than rate for next weekend. Ticket brokers report a similar reckoning. After a Jan. 21 conference win gave the Chicago Bears their first Super Bowl appearance since 1986, prices shot up as brokers and ticket holders predicted huge fan demand from the Windy City. Ticket reseller Stubhub.com reported the average Super Bowl seat cost $4,447 one week ago -- about $1,400 more than the average for Detroit's Super Bowl XL. Those record prices apparently soured many fans -- and even with prices dropping, brokers say business hasn't rebounded enough. ''I wish this had happened two weeks ago,'' said Robert Tuchman, president of TSE Sports & Entertainment. ``I think people go online, they look at the price of the ticket, and they're scared away.'' Ticketsnow.com reported inventory of about 2,400 tickets at the start of the week, up 40 percent from just three days earlier. At ticketliquidator.com, there were 1,700 tickets for sale -- compared to 600 last year on the Wednesday before Detroit's Super Bowl. Stubhub.com showed only a slight price drop this week -- down to $4,427 -- but spokesman Sean Pate said the average figure masks a steep decline in the cost for Super Bowl's cheapest seats. ''The low end for tickets is really looking up,'' Pate said, noting that upper end zone tickets selling for $3,800 last week now can be had for $2,400. ``If people are looking for relative bargains, they're starting to pop up.'' But as with stocks, today's bear market for Super Bowl tickets can give way to tomorrow's rally. When prices are unusually high, brokers often stall in buying the inventory they need in hopes that the market will soften. That can lead to a ticket-buying frenzy just days before the game. ''You can see that price shoot back up to $3,500,'' said Mike Domek, chairman of the company that runs ticketsnow.com. Then again, if demand stays soft, Domek sees a chance of tickets dipping as low as $1,500 apiece. ''I think there's a 20 percent chance of that happening,'' he said. That's still a hefty mark-up for tickets with a face value of $600 to $700, and reflects the rabid demand every Super Bowl generates among sports fans and Corporate America. With roughly 75,000 seats all but guaranteed to sell out and another 50,000 people expected for the festivities, many hotels are charging premium rates and reporting little to no vacancy. Domek's advice: if you're going to wait past Friday, really wait and see what the ticket prices are Sunday morning. Most websites have agents and brokers set up in offices and hotel rooms near the stadium for last-minute sales. James Velco, a chief technology officer from Chicago, is hoping for a sell-off. Eating a late breakfast with wife Amy at South Beach's Pelican Cafe on Wednesday, Velco said they had decided to extend their South Florida stay on the chance they could see the Bears on Sunday. They hadn't bought tickets yet, citing prices. ''I'm not paying $2,000 for a nosebleed,'' James said .