Did Patriots fans have doubts about their beloved team on Sunday? Judging by the number of people searching for flights during the AFC Championship game, it seems that fans weren’t exactly brimming with confidence that Tom Brady’s hand and the rest of the team would survive the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars and go on to the Super Bowl in Minneapolis.
According to Hopper, an app that uses data to predict and analyze airfare, Patriots fans were not actively searching for flights to the Super Bowl until the team’s dramatic comeback at 5:40 p.m. That’s when flight searches from Boston to Minneapolis surged dramatically. At that moment, the number of searches for flights between the two cities was suddenly 14 times higher than normal.
Meanwhile, flight searches between Jacksonville and Minneapolis were high early in the game, but between 5:40 p.m. and 6 p.m. they suddenly plummeted along with the hopes of Jaguar fans.
According to Hopper’s chief data scientist Patrick Surry, the average price of a round-trip ticket between Boston and Minneapolis was $692 on Monday. He said ticket prices could rise as much as $10 a day until Feb. 3. Surry said the least-expensive day to fly to Minneapolis for the big game is Jan. 31. The least-expensive day to fly back is Feb. 4.
Scott Keyes, founder of Scott’s Cheap Flights , said you can save $150 on flights if you fly into Rochester, Minn., rather than Minneapolis. Word of warning: There are no direct flights between Boston and Rochester.
To help fans make it to the game, United Airlines added additional flights from Boston and Providence to Minneapolis. But once you’re there, get ready for steep lodging costs. Expect to pay as much as $500 a night for a one-star (yes, one star) hotel near the Minneapolis airport. A lovely two-star hotel could set you back as much as $700.
Short-term home rentals aren’t cheap either. AirbnbWatch, an organization created by the American Hotel & Lodging Association, is accusing Airbnb hosts of price gouging football fans, pointing to listings such as a two-bedroom apartment in downtown Minneapolis, which normally rents for $75 per night, advertising for $5,000 a night during Super Bowl weekend.
On HomeAway.com, the average Super Bowl weekend vacation house is going for $1,900 a night. If you have a taste for the good life, a 6,000-square-foot, five-bedroom Frank Lloyd Wright mansion (complete with live-in help) is still available for $5,000 a night on VRBO. It’s just 4 miles from the stadium.
Some call it gouging, others call it the law of supply and demand. Either way, the Super Bowl is never an inexpensive experience for fans.Christopher Muther can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @Chris_Muther.