Buffalo Bills tickets have been sold for astronomical prices throughout the 2022 regular season.
But not so much for Sunday’s wild-card playoff game against the Miami Dolphins.
The lowest price on the secondary market for a ticket to the Bills versus Miami Dolphins game on Sunday is about $145 in total, at VIPTIX.com, as of Friday morning. A visit Friday to the popular secondary ticket seller Vivid can land a fan a ticket for about $135, including fees.
There were about 2,500 tickets available on the secondary market, as of Friday morning, which makes for a pretty nice selection for fans still looking to go, but that’s about half as many as the 5,200 that were available at the start of the week – a day after the Bills opponent for the game was first known.
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That’s much different than during the regular season, when the cheapest ticket to several Bills home games hovered around $300 to $400. For many of the seven contests at Highmark Stadium (an eighth home game wound up being moved due to a November snowstorm), there were only about 1,000 to 1,500 available on the secondary market.
For starters, Bills fans may be looking beyond Sunday’s game, especially with the possibility that the Dolphins’ starting quarterback will be their third stringer, seventh-round draft pick, Skylar Thompson. The Bills are 13 point favorites.
With Buffalo fans thinking big and looking beyond Sunday’s game, many fans may be more willing to pass on the wild-card game and save their money for a potential future postseason game, according to Nick Giammusso, president and CEO of VIPTIX.com.
Meanwhile, Miami fans aren’t exactly known for traveling well to road games, especially when a contest would take them to Buffalo in January. Plus, the game has lost some of its luster with Dolphins starting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa ruled out and the team dealing with other major injuries, including running back Raheem Mostert. Backup quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is also not likely to play.
“People are thinking that the Bills are going to make it through the wild-card game, whether it is rightly so or not, and then they’ve got the money to spend on the next rounds or even the Super Bowl,” Giammusso said. .
More ticket holders have been willing to sell their seats, but there’s a shorter window to plan for playoff games, making it difficult for fans of any road team to arrange travel for the game.
“Fans in Miami are in 80-degree weather so they’re not going to come up to Buffalo for a game when the weather is going to be in the 30s,” Giammusso added.
Even during the postseason – when teams need to win to stay alive – the quality of the opponent will impact the price of tickets, said Josh Kobert of Financebuzz.com, who noted that the Dolphins/Bills game is the third cheapest game for tickets on the secondary market among the six being played during wild-card weekend. The Bills and Dolphins split their two regular season games, with each winning at home.
“That game, which, to be fair, features a third-string QB for Miami and is the third time these teams are playing this year, is one of the three least-expensive tickets for the weekend (for a reason),” Kobert said.
The next playoff game during the weekend of Jan. 21-22 could be a much more appealing contest against the Cincinnati Bengals, the defending AFC champions. It would also be a chance to see the two teams play after their regular season game Jan. 2 was stopped and eventually canceled due to Damar Hamlin injury. The cheapest ticket for the divisional round game in Buffalo at VIPTIX.com is about $260, as of early Friday, Giammusso said.
There’s also the potential for an AFC Championship Game at home or at a neutral site in Atlanta if the game is between the Bills and Kansas City Chiefs on Jan. 29. On Thursday – the same day as the announcement of Mercedes-Benz Stadium as the site if the two teams meet, Giammusso said he had already fielded calls from Bills fans locally and expats in Atlanta interested in getting tickets for that game.
In addition, fans can be fickle when it comes to dealing with weather at a game, even hardy Bills backers. Tickets were being sold dirt cheap on the secondary market in the few days prior to last season’s wild-card game at home against the New England Patriots with temperatures around 0 degrees at game time.
“I think people are definitely waiting it out a bit, depending on the weather and figuring out all their plans,” Giammusso said.
For those who haven’t bought tickets yet, fear not. A study from Financebuzz.com found that NFL ticket resale prices typically fall dramatically on secondary market sites like StubHub in the days leading up to games.
In the wild-card round, ticket prices were 22% less expensive by game day versus buying one week prior, the study found from analyzing last season’s NFL postseason. On average, the cheapest time to buy a playoff ticket is the day before the game, the study notes, which for the Bills-Dolphins matchup would be Saturday.
“Any resellers that don’t drop ticket prices run the risk of nobody buying them at all, so even if they can’t get their ideal asking price, getting something is better than getting nothing,” Kobert said.