Relatively cheap flights, hotels and tickets make the Seahawks NFC wild-card playoff game on Sunday in Minneapolis against the Minnesota Vikings a bargain compared to other NFL playoff games.
Seahawks fans looking to see an NFL playoff game live might want to start packing. And don’t forget to throw gloves, earmuffs and scarves into that suitcase.
No football game in America this weekend offers cheaper travel for fans than Sunday’s NFC wild-card playoff game between the Seahawks and Minnesota Vikings in Minneapolis. Whether in flight, hotel or ticket costs, the outdoor game at TCF Bank Stadium — expected to be played in single-digit or subzero temperatures — offers some cool savings for Seattle fans.
“Minneapolis has a pretty large contingent of hotels in that downtown area,’’ said Brian Ek, travel analyst for Priceline.com. “So it’s all supply and demand. Competition is king, so when you’ve got that much hotel space, you’ve got to price the rooms accordingly.’’
Where prices are coldest, hottest
Average listed game ticket prices on TiqIQ.com:
$163: Seahawks at Vikings
$190: Pittsburgh at Cincinnati
$262: Kansas City at Houston
$307: Green Bay at Washington
Four-star hotel rooms on Priceline.com:
$89 to $207 in Minneapolis
$84 to $309 in Washington, D.C.
$79 to $289 in Houston
$139 to $224 in Cincinnati
If temperatures for the 10 a.m. PST game (NBC, Channel 5) plunge to subzero levels, as some forecasts show, that would make it the coldest game in Seahawks history and one of the coldest in Vikings history. It appears to be having an impact on ticket prices.
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At midday Tuesday, the average listed ticket price to the Seahawks-Vikings game was $163.49, according to TiqIQ.com, compared with $307.07 for Green Bay-Washington, $262.11 for Kansas City-Houston and $190.27 for Pittsburgh-Cincinnati. The average “get in” price — typically the cheapest seat — was just $65 in Minnesota, compared with $143 in Washington, $106 in Houston and $92 in Cincinnati.
Other costs for the trip to Minnesota also are low.
More than 9,400 hotel rooms in downtown Minneapolis means 4-star locales there ranged from $89 to $207 on Priceline.com, compared with $84 to $309 in Washington, $79 to $289 in Houston and $139 to $224 in Cincinnati. For 3-star hotels, things were more even. Minneapolis rooms cost $71 to $184, compared with $70 to $289 for Washington, $71 to $219 in Cincinnati and $55 to $199 in Houston.
On airfare, the frequent Seattle-to-Minneapolis route has round trips priced $283 to $485, according to Priceline.com, for flights leaving Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and returning right after the game. From Green Bay to Washington, it was $705, and it was $420 to $435 from Pittsburgh to Cincinnati.
The only flight deals better than Seattle-to-Minneapolis are the $282 to $289 rates for Chiefs fans traveling to Houston — a relatively short journey.
Add it all up, and Seahawks fans are getting the best travel deal out there.
Connor Gregoire of SeatGeek said more than 12,000 seats were available for the Seahawks-Vikings game on the secondary market Tuesday. That’s more than twice as many as the 5,000 to 6,000 remaining for each of the three other contests.
Gregoire blamed cold weather and the fact that Seahawks fans typically don’t travel as well as Packers or Steelers supporters, who fly in from all parts of the nation. Having so many seats still available in Minneapolis likely will drive prices further down as the game nears, Gregoire said.
Cameron Papp of StubHub said Seahawks fans have been snagging the surplus inventory, and though they might not travel nationally like Steelers and Packers supporters, they form the largest percentage of visitors traveling to games from any team’s home state. Papp said Washingtonians as of midday Tuesday accounted for 10 percent of all tickets sold on StubHub to the Seahawks-Vikings game.
That’s more than the 9 percent of tickets that fans from Pennsylvania are buying up to the Steelers-Bengals game in neighboring Ohio.
Papp said the average price for tickets sold to the Seahawks-Vikings game is only $113, compared with $249 in Houston, $214 in Washington and $165 in Cincinnati. The cheapest seat sold on StubHub to the game in Minneapolis was only $50, compared with $105 for the game in Cincinnati, $149 in Washington, D.C., and $122 in Houston.
Normally, that would be a surprise, given that the Vikings are temporarily playing in the NFL’s smallest venue, at only 52,525 capacity (where the University of Minnesota plays football), before 64,500-seat U.S. Bank Stadium opens before next season. But Anthony Beyrouti, owner of Vancouver, B.C.-based ticket broker Venue Kings, said the weather forecast is keeping seat prices down.
“It’s a college stadium, so it isn’t the most fan-friendly place to begin with,’’ he said. “You’ve got bleacher seating all over, so it isn’t nice and cushy like in the other NFL stadiums. It’s all outdoors. There’s nothing covered, and it’s going to get real cold.’’
Beyrouti’s company does considerable business in Minneapolis and is familiar with how Vikings sales have gone this season. He said ticket prices started well for the team but have steadily declined as the temperatures dropped.
“It’s just the weather,’’ he said. “People don’t want to go outside.’’
So Seahawks fans apparently are taking advantage.
Beyrouti said his sales were up 10 percent from Monday to Tuesday, and he expects fans to keep buying through Saturday, with “get in” prices about $60 for the cheapest seats and lower bowl, and with sideline tickets about $150. The Seahawks (10-6) are the NFC’s No. 6 seed but are favored to beat the Vikings (11-5), who earned home-field advantage by winning the NFC North.
He predicts a solid throng of “12s” will make itself heard, given the relatively short flight to Minneapolis, the cheap prices and the way the Seahawks played Sunday in beating the Arizona Cardinals 36-6 in the final game of the regular season.
“They usually travel well to begin with,’’ he said of Seahawks fans. “This really isn’t that big a trip to make.’’