While there were fans in the stands when Tampa Bay captured the Lombardi trophy to close out the 2020 season, it was nothing compared to the crowd that made its way into Raymond James Stadium last night to officially welcome the 2021 season. More than 65,000 were on hand in Tampa Bay as the Buccaneers edged out the visiting Dallas Cowboys for a 31-29 season-opening victory.
The game was the first NFL contest to feature a full stadium since Super Bowl LIV in Miami, all the way back on February 2, 2020 when COVID was a concern but not yet impacting live events in any meaningful way. The ability to be there in person was not lost on fans in the stands Thursday night.
“It’s a coming-out party,” said Tom Dart, a Buccaneers fan from Sarasota, Fla. “We got deprived last year, won the Lombardi Trophy and didn’t get to enjoy any of the events. It’s a lot of pent-up emotion and fervor and all that. You’re seeing it tonight.”
The crowd was nearly three times the number allowed for Super Bowl LV, which took place in the stame stadium in February 2021 and saw Tom Brady lead his team to victory against the Kansas City Chiefs. This weekend, the rest of the league will get their seasons underway, and fans will be a part of it across the country, with varying levels of COVID restrictions in place in terms of vaccination proof/negative testing and masking policies. But full stands are the plan across the board – at least for the time being.
“It wasn’t a surprise to me but the biggest takeaway for me last season was the lack of fans and how important they are to the experience, both at games and on television,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who was in attendance Thursday and will be at SoFi Stadium on Sunday night when the Rams play host to Chicago. “We’ve always stressed how important that is, but that clearly shone through.”
In the ticketing world, last night’s game was one of the hottest on the market, with a $722 average price paid for a ticket, according to data provided by TicketClub.com, which features a membership model that eliminates service and delivery fees for members. That’s good for the No. 4 spot in terms of average paid price on the young season. Tampa Bay’s return to New England is the No. 1 overall ticket on the market, with Brady’s return to his longtime home of Gillette Stadium selling at wild $1,765 average – more than double Kansas City at Las Vegas, No. 2 at $814. Unsurprisingly, Las Vegas is the hottest home ticket across the board, with a whopping seven of the Top 10 games, and all nine at Allegiant Stadium in the top 15.
In terms of visiting teams, Dallas appears to be the strongest draw, rating five in the top 20 games at this point.
The full Top 20 of what tickets are going for the highest average price is available below. The NFL season continues full speed ahead on Sunday, with 14 games spread throughout the day, anchored by a prime time contests between the Bears and Rams in Los Angeles. The week wraps with the No. 3 best-seller thus far, as Baltimore pays a visit to Allegiant Stadium and the Raiders.
Hottest NFL Tickets 2021 (Through 1PM September 10)
- Tampa Bay at New England – $1,765 average price
- Kansas City at Las Vegas – $814
- Baltimore at Las Vegas – $727
- Dallas at Tampa Bay – $722
- Miami at Las Vegas – $635
- Chicago at Las Vegas – $619
- Philadelphia at Las Vegas – $608
- Denver at Las Vegas – $570
- Dallas at Kansas City – $527
- Cincinnati at Las Vegas – $502
- Washington at Las Vegas – $494
- Pittsburgh at Green Bay – $474
- Dallas at New England – $454
- LA Chargers at Las Vegas – $451
- Pittsburgh at LA Chargers –$441
- Green Bay at Chicago – $439
- Buffalo at Tampa Bay – $418
- Dallas at New Orleans – $408
- Green Bay at Kansas City – $404
- Dallas at LA Chargers – $389
NFL Ticket sales data courtesy of TicketClub – TicketNews readers sign up for a complimentary membership here