The last-second save - and other ticket strategies

How to gain entry to big events for a fair price.

By Asa Fitch, Money Magazine staff reporter
Posted: Wednesday, January 31 2007: 10:29 AM EST

(Money Magazine) -- By the time this issue hits newsstands, the Super Bowl will be long sold out and scalpers will be getting $10,000-plus a seat.

Economic theory suggests, however, that the prices will come down between now and kickoff. While the Super Bowl may never become exactly affordable, the theory can help you score fairly priced tix to other hot events.

Here's how:

If you're ahead of the game In fixing prices for hot tickets, box offices almost always create a mismatch between high demand and limited supply, says Princeton economist Alan Krueger.

That's why they sell out so fast. To get tix at face value, you need privileged access. One way: Join an official fan club. Members often get dibs on presale.

Once it's sold out In the secondary market - on Craigslist, eBay, RazorGator, StubHub and similar sites - prices rise and supply and demand balance out.

Of course, demand goes to zero after the event, which explains what economists call the declining-price anomaly: You'll likely get the best secondary market price soon before the event, as vendors fret about unsold inventory.

When you're willing to risk it You'll get a better price - maybe less than face value - buying from a scalper (so long as it's legal) after the event begins. Have the seller walk you to the gate to ensure you don't get a counterfeit ticket.

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