(Feb. 2005) The Few, the Lucky,the Super Bowl Bound

By on February 1, 2018

by Patrick Burns

Intelligencer Journal Staff

Frowns were nowhere to be found among dozens of exuberant Philadelphia Eagles devotees who descended upon Damon’s Clubhouse at Park City Center Tuesday for the inaugural meeting of the Lancaster Eagles Fan Club.

However, few beamed brighter smiles than those lucky enough to have purchased tickets to see the Eagles play the New England Patriots in Sunday’s Super Bowl in Jacksonville, Fla.

Bob Kurtz, an 18-year Eagles season-ticket holder, didn’t blink when he plunked down $3,700 for a SuperBowl package that includes tickets and accommodations for himself and his wife, Marie. The Lancaster couple will drive to the game, hoping to beat traffic by leaving at 4 a.m. Thursday.

Kurtz said money took a back seat to emotion, explaining how attending an Eagles Super Bowl – even in the unlikelihood of a loss – is a trip of a lifetime.

The team last won a championship in 1960, and the Eagles’ only Super Bowl appearance ended in a loss 24 years ago.

“It took a long time to get to this point, a lot of tugs on your heart when they didn’t make it,” Kurtz said. “I can’t compare even the anticipation of this trip to any other vacation I’ve ever taken.”

Robin Hickey of Mountville will attend the game with her husband, Brian, and preteen children Brandon and Lauren. She said spending about $2,200 each for airfare, tickets and two nights’ lodging in the otherwise pedestrian Jacksonville is a dream come true.

“Yes, it’s expensive. And it didn’t matter where the Super Bowl was this year,” Robin Hickey said. “Brian made up his mind during the season that if the Eagles made it this year that we are going to the SuperBowl, no matter what.”

But while few in Lancaster will fulfill their dream of attending an Eagles Super Bowl this year, most see the costs as a nightmare, said Maggie Mahoney of Zeller Travel.

“We’ve had many faxes and calls from tour operators with Super Bowl rates that are very pricey,” Mahoney said. “There’s been a lot of interest, but it’s very discouraging to people when they find out how much it costs.”

PrimeSport International, the Eagles’ official travel partner, sells same-day nonticket packages from Philadelphia for $1,199 per person. With a ticket, the price goes to $3,629 – a difference of $2,430.

Kell Kelly, a spokeswoman for Beverly Hills, Calif.-based PrimeSport, said Eagles fans may be paying more due to higher demand because their team hasn’t been to a Super Bowl since 1981; the Patriots have played in three of the last four.

PrimeSport is selling game packages to Bostonites for about $330 less than they’re charging around here. Such arrangements are not unusual in professional sports and are condoned by the National Football League.

Victor Miasnikowicz, president of Lancaster-based Venture Jets Inc., said there is still time to charter a private flight to the Super Bowl from Lancaster Airport. So far this year, the company’s seven-passenger jets have been booked for three Super Bowl flights from fans in New York and Washington.

Splitting costs among seven passengers, Venture Jets’ $9,000 round-trip price would cost last-minute passengers only about $85 more than the PrimeSport game-day rate.

“Considering that die-hard fans are paying a fortune to see this game, dividing up the price of a private jet actually can be reasonable,” Miasnikowicz said. “And you’re leaving from Lancaster. How you can’t beat that?”

As of Tuesday, game tickets with a $500 face value are selling on StubHub.com for as much as $9,000 each for the club level and average around $3,500 for other preferred seating.

StubHub.com had upper-level end-zone tickets available Monday for $2,000, about the same price range as PrimeSport.

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