The Pandemic, Not Tom Brady, May Be Bigger Reason For Patriots' Declining Ticket Prices

Devon Clements

It seems that you will all find any way to point the finger at Tom Brady these days. 

We knew the 42-year-old quarterback would have an impact in a negative manner on the 2020 New England Patriots squad in more ways than one, which we have combed over time after time this offseason since he signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in March. But his impact seems to be over exaggerated in one instance, which pertains to ticket pricing for the six-time Super Bowl champions. 

Ticket search engine TicketIQ released a report earlier this month, which showed various statistics for 2020 NFL ticket sales compared to last season. Among those stats were the four teams that have the largest decrease in ticket prices based on the average secondary market listing price for each team's tickets this year. On that list - with a steady lead - were the Patriots, who have a 39% decrease in ticket sales compared to last season, which is worst in the NFL. Second worst in the NFL this year is the Chicago Bears, who have a 22% decrease in ticket prices. 

Chart from

Why several media outlets have coined this as the "Tom Brady effect" is because the Buccaneers - who now have Brady - are listed on TicketIQ with the fourth largest increase in ticket pricing this year, and because, well, the Patriots no longer have Brady. 

Chart from

While pointing the finger at the future Hall of Fame quarterback is an easy out for those who want to blame him for all bad things pertaining to New England this year, it seems like a narrow mindset to think he is the No. 1 reason why Patriots ticket prices have dipped quite a bit this year. Here's why:

In case you didn't know, we are still in the middle of a pandemic. Some of you seem to have forgotten that based on those of you who are galavanting around in groups, without proper face protection even though there are still restrictions from local authorities to do such, albeit in a less-restrictive manner. The warmer weather in the northeast has made many people forgetful this year. 

This is worrisome because to-date, Massachusetts - which is home to the New England Patriots - has the fourth-most COVID-19 cases out of any state in the entire country, trailing just New York, New Jersey, and Illinois, per the CDC website. Yes, the numbers are steadily declining, which has caused some states like MA to begin Phase 1 of their reopening plan this week. But that doesn't mean all is well. 

The virus may be on the decline now, but that doesn't mean it's going away forever. In fact, it could - and likely will - make a return to some of the most highly-infected states as early as later this year. 

"I’m almost certain it will come back because the virus is so transmissible, and it’s globally spread," said Dr. Anthony Fauci, who is the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and is part of the White House Coronavirus Task Force. "Remember, all kinds of viruses like this when people are indoors and congregated in the cold dry weather, they tend to do better than when you’re in a warmer climate."

Dr. Fauci also stated during The Economic Club's eighth annual webinar earlier this month that other countries are just starting to see the emergence of COVID-19 cases, which means the return, or re-emergence of the disease in the U.S. will inevitably happen. 

"But what we do know is that right now as we start to stabilize, southern Africa, places like KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa and Cape Town and other places, are starting to see the emergence of cases. So, it’s not going to disappear from the planet, which means as we get into next season, in my mind it’s inevitable that we will have a return of the virus or maybe it never even went away. When it does, how we handle it will determine our fate."

The point being here is that anyone who has educated themselves knows what Dr. Fauci is saying. When flu season comes this year, so will the re-emergence of COVID-19. But without even knowing that, let's take into consideration when TicketIQ's numbers from their report were gathered. Their report was to-date, which means any sales leading up to when they decided to corral their statistics, which, if we base it on when the report was published, was May 5. With great uncertainty over the past couple months because of the virus leaving many people wondering when they would be able to spend time with family members outside of their homes - let alone congregate in the thousands as a sports stadium - it's natural to think that many fans were hesitate to purchase tickets to a game this fall if they were uncertain the game would be available for fans to watch, or would be played at all. Some of those same people may have lost their jobs due to the pandemic, which means money is tight, and there isn't room in their budget to purchase tickets. 

It's worth noting that TicketIQ's numbers show that 28 NFL teams had an increase in ticket sales this year because of a lack of tickets being sold by NFL teams, which leads to less available tickets on the secondary market. According to their numbers, the quantity of tickets available on the market for Patriots games is "low", which should should have meant the ticket price would have increased. But they didn't. 

I am not arguing that Tom Brady was not a reason at all for the decrease in ticket pricing this year for Patriots games. But I am simply suggesting - which many people have not - that the global pandemic has much more of an impact on those numbers than Brady does. To figure this out, you must ask yourself this one question:

Given the circumstances our country has faced over the past couple months, would you feel safe going to a Patriots game this fall? 

Something tells me that if you've been doing your research and know what lies ahead - which I have faith that many of you have and do -  your answer to that question is a resounding no. That means Tom Brady can't be the No. 1 reason why ticket prices dropped this year in Foxboro. 

Comments (2)
No. 1-2
Max McAuliffe
Max McAuliffe

Pandemic definitely playing a bigger role.


Love the comparison! I truly think that the pandemic is playing a big role for the reason that most New England fans are ride or ride to the Patriots with or without Brady.

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