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Bull Case Bear Case: Super Bowl Sunday Special

Bull Case Bear Case: Super Bowl Sunday Special
February 13, 2022
Dylan Dittrich

Welcome to a special edition of Bull Case Bear Case, focusing on Rally's halftime offering of a full ticket to the very first Super Bowl. As always, the goal is to give investors a clear, balanced view of both sides of the coin. Don't forget to subscribe to Pro to see analysis like this for a number of offerings each week!


Super Bowl I Full Ticket (PSA 5)
Photo: Rally

2/13 @ Halftime

Valuation: $24,000

Bull Case

  • Landmark moment. The very first Super Bowl. We take it for granted, but back in 1967, the “Big Game” wasn’t the borderline national holiday that it is today. In fact, the Coliseum didn’t even sell out for the game. The football, to some, was meaningless – an exhibition, but it was a rare meeting of AFL and NFL teams on the gridiron, each eager to prove their superiority. Not different conferences, but different leagues altogether. Though their merger had already been announced, it wouldn’t become official until 1970, and the widespread belief was that the upstart AFL was inferior to the NFL. Ultimately, the Packers, coached by Vince Lombardi, confirmed this notion at least for the day, dismissing the Chiefs 35-10. Result aside, it was the beginning of a wonderful tradition as powerful as any in the sporting world, and consequently, it’s a sought-after ticket likely to remain so as long as we religiously settle into the couch one Sunday night in February for our beloved ritual.
  • Long-tenured collectable ticket. Early Super Bowl tickets are among the rare breed that were collector darlings well before the ticket market exploded in 2020 and 2021. Alongside key World Series and vintage baseball tickets, key Super Bowl tickets have been no stranger to five figure sums, with many high-profile sales taking place in the mid 2010s. In fact, in the middle of 2021, two Super Bowl I tickets were among the ten most expensive ever sold before falling off of the list later in the year. Both of those were PSA 8 copies of this ticket, with one selling for $54k at Robert Edward Auctions in 2017 and the other selling for $66k in 2019 at Heritage. That 2019 result represented a 151% or 28% annualized return over the sale of the same ticket in 2015. Other tickets to the game, closer to the grade range of this example, have typically appreciated in recent years in the high single-to-low-double digits annually. Not as high by any means, but the bull point here is that, unlike other tickets that have seen values skyrocket only in 2021 and the start of 2022, there’s a sustained track record of demand and appreciation which should reduce downside risk relative to other offerings, especially at higher values. This ticket, due to its status as a full ticket and the respectable 5 grade, sits near the top in terms of desirability for tickets to this blue chip occasion.
  • Confirmation on the horizon? There is currently another PSA 5 Gold Variant full ticket to Super Bowl I listed on eBay at a Buy it Now price of $25,000. Should that ticket successful sell either at that level or close to it, shareholders would have confirmation of the valuation set by Rally, and the stage would be set for longer term thinking. This could just as soon be listed as a risk in Bear Case; however, lingering for sale at this price for an extended period of time is less likely to drive negative movement than, say, a weak auction result just days after the offering. For reference, that particular ticket sold at SCP Auctions in March of 2018 for the previous high mark of $14,682.

Bear Case

  • Sales strangely thin. Though the market for Super Bowl tickets was robust in the mid 2010s, during the ticket market explosion of the last 1-2 years, high-end sales of early Super Bowl tickets have been oddly nonexistent. Surprisingly, the sale of this ticket for a Buy it Now price of $19,500 on eBay was the highest graded and highest dollar value sale of 2021. That listing was in existence since March of 2021, so if it was in place at the same price level and didn’t successfully sell until November, that may be indicative of tepid demand. With such a prosperous 2021 in the ticket market, a bearish investor might prefer an offering that either made headline noise during the year or was closely linked to a ticket that did so. 
  • Muted or spotty appreciation. There are limited dots to connect to understand the trajectory of the ticket in this grade, but we do have a few. For example, a PSA 4 and a PSA 5 full ticket sold in the same month back in August of 2015 at SCP Auctions and Heritage respectively. The PSA 4 sold for $7,361, and the PSA 5 sold for $8,365. Fast forward to the middle of 2021, when Leland’s sold a PSA 4 for $12,000. That’s a 63% increase over 6 years. If the PSA 5 appreciated at the same pace, it would be worth around $13.6k. Now, it is higher graded, but you would have to assume a 133% gain to get to the $19,500 paid here (or worse, a 187% gain to get to the $24,000 valuation). Now, that’s based on just one data point. However, the Leland’s auction result did not appear to be a fluke. At the same auction, a PSA 3 (MK) example of a Super Bowl I ticket sold for $6,000. In November, just a few months later, someone attempted to flip it at Heritage, and the result was $6,300. On a more positive note, another PSA 3 example sold for a BiN price of $7,999 on eBay in recent months. The same ticket sold in 2016 at SCP for $4,153. That’s 14% annual appreciation. If you were to apply that rate to the PSA 5 sale from 2015, you get to $18.2k, closer to the sale price for this ticket, but still off of the offering valuation.
  • Relatively high population. In comparison to key player debuts and key early games from other sports, the population of graded tickets to the first Super Bowl is fairly high. For example, between tickets and stubs, there are just 26 examples of Tom Brady debut tickets. There are 15 slabbed stubs for Mickey Mantle’s debut, 10 for Wayne Gretzky’s debut, and 30 for Michael Jordan’s debut. Even Lebron’s debut, which was incredibly anticipated, has just 76 full tickets and stubs in the PSA population. Between full tickets and stubs of all variants (ignoring proofs and passes), there are 290 graded Super Bowl I examples. 55 of those are full tickets. Now, Rally’s ticket does sit towards the top of that 290 ticket stack. Full tickets to the game have consistently traded for much more than stubs of the same grade, and within the full ticket population, there are just 12 tickets graded higher across variants, with 6 tickets graded at the PSA 5 level. However, because it doesn’t sit at the very highest echelon in the population, this ticket may be confined to a mid-range of sorts, competing against not only full tickets at similar grades, but stubs at the highest grades as well. Or, collectors may be inclined to eschew the mid-range, avoiding values in the tens of thousands of dollars for copies that aren’t best-in-class in favor of the plethora of lower tier tickets and stubs available, which could lead to stagnation.

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