Ticket prices for Packers-49ers game start at $350, and that's not the most expensive part of attending the game
Fan reactions during the Green Bay Packers vs. Seattle Seahawks NFC divisional playoff on Jan. 12, 2020 at Lambeau Field. Green Bay Press Gazette
GREEN BAY — The scramble for tickets and accommodations in San Francisco for the NFC championship game began as soon as the Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers first took a knee to kill the clock at the end of Sunday's game against the Seattle Seahawks.
The Packers defeated the Seahawks 28-23 for the right to challenge the San Francisco 49ers for the conference championship and a trip to the Super Bowl. The teams are the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds in the conference, and ticket prices reflect that. In fact, the game is more popular, by price, than the AFC championship game pitting Kansas City against Tennessee.
We estimated it would cost more than $900 for a fan visiting Green Bay to find accommodations and tickets to this past Sunday's game versus the Seahawks. The 49ers, however, play in a much larger metropolitan area, which means more variance in prices, for better and worse.
The biggest individual costs Packers fans will encounter as they try to attend this Sunday's game will be game tickets and airfare to San Francisco.
On Monday morning, the average lowest ticket price, based on secondary market sites, was $387. By late afternoon, the average lowest price was $357, ranging from $352 to $391. That was for nosebleed seats in the high corners of the end zones at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California, and in most cases the price is exclusive of fees.
TicketIQ said the cheapest seat was $402, but that was right after the Packers-Seahawks game ended Sunday. Prices will continue to fluctuate throughout the week. TicketIQ said the NFC game is the third most expensive NFL conference championship over the last 10 years, ranking behind the two 2018 championships.
SeatGeek said it is the most in-demand NFC championship game since the company started tracking such things in 2010. It is second only to Super Bowl 50 at the most expensive event to be held at Levi's Stadium.
TickPick said its average ticket price for the Packers-49ers game was $585.95 Monday morning, compared with $429.14 for the AFC game. It said the minimum get-in price was $447 for Packers-49ers, compared with $285 for Chiefs-Titans.
VividSeats said its average overall price of a ticket to the NFC game was $584, compared to $392 for the AFC game.
Standing-room-only tickets prices on Monday morning started at $351.
‘Act quickly’ on flights
Packers fans going San Francisco can expect to pay at least $400 for a round-trip flight to the San Francisco-San Jose area this weekend, according to travel websites Kayak, Trivago and Expedia. And if you don't book fast, that base price is likely to be at least twice as much.
Marty Piette, director at Green Bay Austin Straubel International Airport, said airfares to San Francisco and San Jose have already increased at multiple Wisconsin airports.
“It looks like the entire state of Wisconsin is headed out to San Francisco,” Piette said.
A search of travel sites for flights leaving Wisconsin Saturday and returning Monday found flights to San Francisco International Airport are cheaper and more abundant than flights to Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport.
The cheapest flights leaving Wisconsin for San Francisco can be found at Appleton International Airport, where several flights are available in the $400-450 range. Another four flights are in the $550-750 range, and there are plenty of fares between $875 and $1,100.
Olivia Reiner and Ryan Wood discuss the Packers' outlook heading into the NFC Championship in Santa Clara after a win vs. the Seattle Seahawks. Packers News
Fares from other Wisconsin airports were not far behind Appleton:
- From Green Bay, fares start at just under $500 with the majority of flights available for $690 to $1,100.
- From Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport, there’s a Frontier Airlines flight for $510, and then almost three dozen other options in the $850-1,000 range to either San Francisco or San Jose.
- From Central Wisconsin Airport, in Mosinee, flights are available for prices between $500 and $600.
Piette said the Green Bay airport has asked the airlines about increasing capacity or adding flights, but the timing of playoff games gives airlines little time to adjust schedules to meet demand.
“It’s such a short time, it’s difficult for the airlines to respond quickly, but we’re in touch with them and hoping they will be able to add some flights or capacity on existing flights,” Piette said.
With no guarantees that more flights will become available, he urged Packers fans to book as soon as possible and to select their seats when they book.
Good news on hotels
While airfare is high, there appears to be an abundance of affordable hotels within 10-15 miles of Levi’s Stadium, and in downtown San Francisco. Both communities have a lot of rooms available for Saturday through Monday stays.
Prices listed on Trivago and Kayak for check-in Saturday and check-out on Monday range from $80 per night for a basic motel up to more than $700 for the Hyatt Regency Santa Clara, one of two hotels located within easy walking distance of Levi’s Stadium.
A Motel 6 or similar type of hotel can be booked for $80 to $110 per night. Those looking for more amenities, such as at a Ramada or Hilton Garden Inn, can book rooms near the stadium for $110 to $190 per night. Rooms at luxury or boutique properties like an Embassy Suites or Aloft Hotel are between $220 and $430.
In San Francisco, chain hotels start at $76 to $100 per night for a basic hotel like a Motel 6 and top out above $500 a night for luxury hotels.
But Mark West, a lifelong Packers fan who lives near the stadium in Santa Clara, cautioned visitors who book in San Francisco, or even Mountain View, to add a lot of travel time into their itineraries.
"On a game day, traffic can be backed up for hours," West said in an email. "We have sat 15 minutes at a single stoplight. People trying to get to the stadium from San Francisco had best leave the day before. ... This is not Wisconsin where you wait for one light in Appleton."
Options abound in short-term rentals
For those looking for homes and bedrooms to rent, short-term rental sites like Vacation Rentals By Owner (VRBO) and Airbnb have hundreds of listings in Santa Clara-San Jose, near the stadium, as well as in San Francisco, where there might be a greater variety of things to do.
In Santa Clara, the average nightly price on Airbnb is $139 with properties ranging from $53 per night for a bedroom to $400 per night for a part of a house with room for up to 12 people.
The listing closest to Levi’s Stadium is a private room in a townhouse for $119 per night. Or you can book a “Mini Guest House,” which is a nicely appointed backyard shed with private bedroom and bathroom (no kitchen or laundry) for $79 per night.
In the San Francisco area, the average price per night is $173 and there are more than 300 places available to book on Airbnb. In downtown San Francisco, the average price is $252 per night while available units range from $116 to $375.
On Monday, Airbnb advised guests who book a short-term rental in the San Francisco-San Jose-Santa Clara area to conduct a safety check for a first aid kit, fire extinguisher and other items when they arrive. If any issues arise, the company said, guests should contact the company.
In addition, Airbnb now offers a “Guest Guarantee” that says if you check into a rental and find the listing that does not meet company accuracy standards, it will re-book you in a listing of equal or greater value, or offer a complete refund.
Issues covered include:
- A non-committal or unresponsive host
- An unsafe property
- A property that hasn’t been cleaned
- Inaccurate description of critical features
- Key amenities that are the central focus of the listing are missing
Guests must report any issues within 24 hours of check-in in order for the refund policy to apply.
Contact Richard Ryman at (920) 431-8342 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @RichRymanPG, on Instagram at @rrymanPG or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RichardRymanPG/