Super Bowl LVII: worth the price of admission?

John Rader

By John Rader
March 7, 2023

John Rader IV (L) pictured with his father, Cabrini Class of 1988, John Rader III (R) at the Super Bowl Experience in Phoenix, Arizona. Photo from John Rader.
John Rader IV (L) pictured with his father, Cabrini Class of 1988, John Rader III (R) at the Super Bowl Experience in Phoenix, Arizona. Photo from John Rader.

On Sunday, Feb. 13, 113 million people tuned in to watch the Kansas City Chiefs take down the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LVII. Instead of watching on television like most Americans, I went straight to the source: Glendale Arizona’s State Farm Stadium.

To say I’m lucky is an understatement.

This is the second Super Bowl my father and I traveled to watch our beloved Eagles fight for the Lombardi trophy.

In 2017, my grandfather paid for my father and me to go on the trip of our dreams, as we watched the Eagles win the Super Bowl at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

John Rader IV (L) pictured with his father, Cabrini Class of 1988, John Rader III (R) outside of State Farm Stadium prior to Super Bowl LVII. Photo from John Rader IV.

Since then, my grandfather passed away, but the gratitude for that experience will last forever. In honor of his memory, his brother, Phillip Rader, offered to send my father and me back to the Super Bowl.

The cost of our trip was astronomical and this begs the question: was the Super Bowl experience worth the price?

Touching down in Arizona

Our trip started on Wednesday, Feb. 8, with a five-hour flight landing in Phoenix’s Sky Harbor International Airport. As a bonus, Eagles Hall of Famer Harold Carmichael and NBC Sports Philadelphia reporter Michael Barkann sat directly behind us.

After landing, we got our rent-a-car, a Chevy Equinox courtesy of Hertz, and headed for our hotel.

Our first two days in Arizona consisted of attending the all-day Waste Management Phoenix Open golf tournament, and visiting ESPN’s Super Bowl event in Old Town Scottsdale.

The Super Bowl Experience

On Saturday, we checked out the Super Bowl experience in downtown Phoenix.

This was the free Super Bowl experience the NFL offered in Phoenix’s Hance Park, and we were eager to check it out. However, this was largely a disappointment.

The PetSmart both at the Super Bowl experience in Hance Park, Phoenix Arizona. Photo from John Rader

In Minnesota, the NFL produced attractions such as ice sculptures, live productions, and even a ski jump. Here, a multitude of events required payment.

I am not exaggerating when I say the best part of Saturday was the PetSmart booth, and the plentiful port-a-potty situation. Attending a Super Bowl is already a pricey endeavor, and it was overall disheartening to see the NFL prioritize other events to put more money into their pockets. There was less interaction with the NFL community compared to Minnesota, and the access we had to meeting our favorite stars was nowhere near comparable.

Gameday

My father and I woke up with an immense sense of nervousness on Sunday morning. We were silent throughout the 45-minute car ride to the stadium.

The Super Bowl Gameday Experience in Glendale Arizona. Photo from John Rader

After parking in a King of Prussia Mall of sorts, we headed to the NFL Gameday Experience. This time, it was worth the price of admission. This tailgate was free for all fans who purchased a ticket.

The tailgate was held in a massive lawn outside State Farm Stadium and had comfy seating, giveaway games, food, bars, places for photo ops, shorter lines, and once again, pristine port-a-potties.

Fox NFL Sunday filmed their live pregame show at the event, and we finally had the NFL star access I craved.

I grew up watching NFL Sunday on Fox, and it was a surreal experience to see Terry Bradshaw, Michael Strahan, and Howie Long standing in front of me.

After the show finished taping, we headed to my favorite attraction of the weekend, courtesy of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. In their tent, I saw the Hall of Fame busts of NFL legends such as John Madden and Kurt Warner. The Hall of Fame tent also exhibited every Super Bowl ring.

This tailgate truly had everything, and aside from the $14 beers, it made up for the lack of amenities we experienced during the earlier Super Bowl event.

Was it worth it the price?

When we attended Super Bowl LII, our combined ticket price to sit on the first level was $10,000. This time, the combined price was $14,000. Our Holiday Inn stay reached $3000, which was also an increase from our Minneapolis visit by nearly $1,200.

State Farm Stadium midway through the 3rd Quarter of Super Bowl LVII. Photo courtesy from John Rader

Food and drink totaled $1000, along with $500 for car rental, and $2400 in flights.

This trip cost at least $8,000 more than our last Super Bowl.

I want to preface that I am definitely biased, as it is easy to ignore costs when you are not footing the bill.

Sure, the Eagles lost, and the best attraction in Phoenix was a city of port-a-potties. Compared to our first Super Bowl, we paid more for less. From Phoenix’s sprawl to a lack of effort by the NFL, this Super Bowl had major problems.

In life nothing is perfect, but this experience was worth every penny.

John Rader

John Rader

My name is John “Jake” Rader and I am a senior here at Cabrini University. This is my second year being a part of the Loquitur, as I am the News Editor for this year's team. In addition to that, I am also in charge of managing the corrections page for the Loquitur. I have an avid passion for being on camera, and showing off my personality. My ultimate goal is to be a news or sports anchor, or doing sports broadcast work. I hope to continue to build my highlight reel this year with the Loquitur, and I have formally interned/blogged for Branded Sports.

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