Best Value PSLs in 2021

Best Value PSLs in 2021

When a fan buys a single-game ticket, they’re hoping for a win. When a fan buys a personal seat license so they can get in on season tickets, they’re buying a vested interest in the team’s success.

Sports ticket marketplaces are a lot like the stock market: they reveal as much about what people think the future will hold as what’s happening right now. Prices for the next few games often reflect how the team has been doing. Tickets for later in the season are a bit more speculative. Will the week 15 match-up be a nail-biter with playoff implications, or will it be a drubbing? Buying that week 15 ticket after starting the season 0-3 can seem like a stroke of genius – or just total commitment to the team – if the team ends up stringing together a 10-game win streak.

The personal seat license market takes the long view. People usually buy and sell PSLs in the off-season. If the last season ended poorly, the coaching staff is in disarray and the draft was a dud, PSL holders may think this is the time to unload. Savvy watchers, though, may see the opportunity to buy low and celebrate high after the team outperforms expectations.

We took a look at how many personal seat licenses are on the market around the NFL and how much they are selling for, and matched that up against our completely non-scientific takes on the draft and the season ahead to find the best value PSLs across the NFL.

5. Pittsburgh Steelers


Yeah, we were surprised, too. Sure, they’ve only had two playoff appearances in the last four years, neither of which lasted very long. But the Steelers still finished atop the AFC North in both years and four of the last seven seasons. You have to go back to 2003 to find a season below .500. They had one of the best draft classes of 2021, led by Alabama running back Najee Harris.

And they’re the Pittsburgh freaking Steelers! Never, ever count out the Steelers, and never, ever, ever count out their fans. 

Anyone within reach of the Three Rivers can get the deal of a lifetime – literally, a lifetime, since that’s how long some PSL holders keep theirs – buy scooping up a personal seat license for the Steelers this summer.

4. Cincinnati Bengals


The Bengals are one of those teams that seems to be perpetually in a “rebuilding season,” and next season will be another. The last time they made the playoffs, Tom Brady was still in his mid-30s. No one’s been Ickey shuffling for quite some time.

So is this their year? We’ll leave that level of optimism up to you. All we’ll tell you is that, if this or one of the next few years ends up being “their year,” this summer is good time to go for a PSL. There are a lot on the market, keeping the price low. The value of the PSL and the tickets themselves will either go up as results improve; or things will stay the same and the PSL will be an affordable way to keep yourself occupied for eight Sundays each of the next few seasons.

If you’re a Bengals fan (which, why would you be buying a PSL if you weren’t?) you know the power of hope. Right now, the team’s PSLs reflect a lot of room for hope.

3. Tennessee Titans


This might be the biggest growth opportunity on our list. Nashville is one of those “It Cities.” Regardless of how the Titans do the next few years, the city of Nashville is going to do quite well for itself. People are moving there at record rates. Some of them will convert to being Titan fans, and they’re going to start snapping up PSLs. 

After a long stretch away, they reached the playoffs three of the last four seasons. Derrick Henry lit up the backfield last season, and their 2021 draft focused on their defense, setting themselves up for a well-balanced squad.

Last we looked, just under 400 Titans PSLs were on the market. We don’t expect that to last for long. Not with the city’s population growth and the team’s prospects.

In short, in keeping with the spirit of Nashville, this is the time to buy a PSL so you can say you had one before it was cool.


2. Carolina Panthers


The Panthers didn’t build well on their appearance in Super Bowl L. They’ve only had one winning record and a single playoff game since then. Cam Newton decamped to New England. And they’re on their third coach since the start of the 2019 season.

At the upside, that third coach is Matt Rhule. Rhule was one of the top talent developers in the college game at Temple and Baylor, and is heading into his second season with a young squad. He knows how to build teams, and the Panthers don’t have many places to go but up. The same goes for their PSL prices, which are currently tracking their recent performance. If Rhule sends them up the standings, we’ll look back on this summer as the best time to have bought a PSL.


1. San Francisco 49ers


We’ll finish this list the way we started it: with a surprise. Seriously, the 49ers? Two years removed from being in the Super Bowl. Kyle Shanahan at the helm. Trey Lance with the 3rd overall pick in the 2021 draft. The full weight of this team’s history. 

And yet there’s still a good number of low price PSLs on the market? 


We can’t explain it. We just know an opportunity when we see one. If you’re in the Bay Area, you probably know a thing or two about value stocks and buy low / fly high opportunities. Somehow, the 49ers season tickets are a buyer’s market. Now’s the time to be that buyer.


Need some objectivity? Try the T-VAL


If you’re not interested in our unscientific takes on how teams will perform this season, we’ve got something to satisfy your need for rigorous, data-driven output: the T-VAL. If you have a personal seat license and want to know what’s it worth, the T-VAL offers an unprecedented level of objectivity and transparency for PSL valuation. 


We can’t tell you how your team will do, but we can tell you the value of where you’re sitting.

Try it here.

PSLs and NFTs

PSLs and NFTs


Every sports fan knows what a season ticket is. Somehow, though, even after all these years many have never even heard of a personal seat license. This adds a layer of difficulty for anyone who is thinking about selling their PSL: they know what they paid for it, but they don’t know what it’s worth now, when they’re putting it on the market. It’s easy to look up ticketing prices or just ask a few friends what they’ve been paying. But there aren’t any places where PSL holders come to buy, sell and trade, creating a lot of unwanted mystery.


Over the last few months, every corner of the sports industry has looked for ways to jump in to non-fungible tokens (NFTs). All it took was a few NFTs going for six figures and teams, players, sponsors, brands… everyone!… aimed to be next to cash in.


Like a lot of tech, the less sexy applications will probably be the most useful and lucrative once the hype dies down. Things that happen in the background like ticket brokering or PSL tracking will probably get more value out of NFTs than creators and traders of digital artwork and highlights.




Evaluating the Value of a PSL





NFTs are built on the blockchain. The “blocks” in the “chain” create an accurate, verifiable, unfalsifiable ledger. That level of security plus the ability for instantaneous contract execution (“smart contracts”) are why so much blockchain work is happening in the financial world. 


In many ways, it’s the complete opposite of how personal seat licenses and tickets are bought and sold. 


Back in the day, when you bought a paper ticket from a reseller (hopefully not a guy standing in front of the stadium, but let’s be fair – we’ve all done it), you had to trust that was an actual ticket and you wouldn’t be turned back by the ticket taker at the door. Or, that you and another person each had a ticket to the same seat: one real ticket, one (or more) counterfeit ticket.


Digital tickets with bar codes or QR codes helped with some aspects of security, but also made it easier for people to peddle useless duplicate tickets. It’s a lot easy to send a PDF to a dozen dupes than to print 12 ticket lookalikes. With digital tickets, only the first person would get in, maybe never knowing what had happened and their luck in being first.


Given the limited number of personal seat licenses and how they only permit you to buy a small number of seats, there’s little market for fraud. However, anyone buying a PSL from a current PSL holder doesn’t really know what they are paying for. They don’t know how much it was worth (relative to its cost) when the holder bought it. They don’t know how many other people owned it along the way and what each of them paid. They may not even know how much it cost when the team first issued it and how closely the changes in the PSL price reflected changes in ticket prices and the overall desirability of those tickets.


In short, PSL buyers have a lot of blanks to fill in themselves.




Bringing PSLs to the Blockchain





A blockchain application for tickets and PSLs can fill in some of those gaps. The entire history of the PSL – annual prices, transactions, the fact that it’s the real thing – becomes part of the PSL itself.


NFTs, as a specific example of a blockchain application, have a few drawbacks that make them less ideal for tickets but well-suited for PSLs.


Creating or trading an NFT is not free – there’s a transaction fee, called the “gas.” Because the tech is so new, the gas fee is wildly unstable. 


The swings in gas fees mean you would not want to use NFTs for high volume, high frequency, time sensitive trading, like tickets. PSLs, on the other hand, are traded infrequently. Owners usually hold onto them for years, and sometimes pass them on to the next generation of fans. Because the timing of the transaction is less important than for a ticket, someone looking to sell an NFT PSL could wait until the gas fee drops to a reasonable level before executing the sale. 


NFTs can also be divided up. The ledger can show that several people own a percentage of the PSL, with certain conditions attached. This allows for transparent fractional ownership. Everyone who goes in on a single PSL knows how much they each paid, and what their ticket buying rights and obligations are. And if they fail to execute one of the terms of the PSL, there’s a mechanism in place to handle that situation, without the PSL simply defaulting back to the team at the expense of the other co-owners.




How Much is Your PSL Worth?





NFTs would only solve the history problem with PSLs: How much were they worth? Who paid how much for how much of them? 


They won’t solve the present problem: How much is my PSL worth today? The historical information can factor into that calculation, and NFT-backed ledgers may someday be an input into the T-VAL.


The T-VAL delivers a new level of accuracy and transparency to personal seat license valuation. The T-VAL computes the value of a personal seat license using data that extends from the price of seats in your row to the age of the stadium to the nationwide popularity of the league. When you request your T-VAL, you get a report that gives you the context that shaped the final number. 


Who knows? Maybe as more PSL holders know their T-VAL, more fans will know what a PSL is.

What is The Value of my PSL? Know Exactly How Much

What is The Value of my PSL? Know Exactly How Much

Year after year, maybe generation after generation, your season tickets are priceless. Right up until the moment when you’re ready to sell your personal seat license and have to put a price on it.

What is a Steelers PSL value? Ravens PSL value? Eagles PSL value?

Early waves of PSL’s went for hundreds of dollars. As stadium construction became more expensive and team owners saw that there was a market for PSL’s, the price started having an extra zero or two after it. PSL holders who bought in early could cash out 10-20 years later for a windfall, leading some people to see PSL’s as something like an investment vehicle.

But whether you’re selling a stock, a rookie card, a stack of Dogecoin or a PSL, you have to know what’s it worth before you accept an offer. Unless you’re OK with taking a loss or, almost as irritating, letting someone else collect the windfall that should have been yours.


T-VAL is the Zestimate of PSL’s. Zillow didn’t go public because it’s a place to buy and sell houses. Zillow became the standard for online home shopping because of the Zestimate: a data-driven, real-time valuation of the houses they list. Objective, transparent, game-changing. That was the Zestimate, and the T-VAL is the same.

T-VAL calculates the market value of a personal seat license based on layers of data that shape ticket pricing.

Determining the Quality of Your Seat

seat value

T-VAL starts at the lowest level: the seat itself. We first put ourselves in the seat. How’s the view? What are the sight lines?

We then take a step back to look at which part of the stadium the seat is in – lower bowl or upper deck, 50-yard line or the corner of the end zone – and examine how much the other seats in that row and in that section go for on the primary and secondary markets for single-games, as well as any other PSL’s from nearby seats that have gone on the market.

We then zoom all the way out and analyze the stadium itself. T-VAL considers the capacity of the stadium, the overall desirability of attending games there and, importantly, the age of the stadium. PSL’s are, at their core, a way to finance new construction and renovations. If a stadium is moving towards retirement, not only may it not be equipped with the modern amenities and comforts, but the PSL itself might be heading towards maturity. Not every team rolls over PSL’s from one stadium to the next, so the value of a PSL may change based on the team’s long-term stadium plans.

On the subject of amenities and comforts, there’s also the little matter of the weather. It takes a certain type of fan to go to Green Bay or Buffalo games in December. T-VAL looks at how weather affects ticket sales and attendance.

Strength of the Home Team

home team strength

Some season ticket holders go to every game. Others just go to the games that are worth going to. T-VAL sizes that up, as well.

T-VAL looks at the strength of the home team as well as divisional and league-wide trends in attendance, performance and interest. If those factors are all heading down, PSL holders may have less interest in attending games and less ability to attract a strong price for single-game tickets they put up for sale. If the games aren’t worth going to, the PSL won’t be worth as much.

Data-Driven Pricing

data driven

Finally, T-VAL analyzes the raw economics, the pure quantitative data. This is where our experience in the ticket industry really comes into play.

Every year, millions of tickets change hands on primary and secondary markets. In the 20+ years our founding team has been working in pro sports ticket sales, that means hundreds of millions (billions?) of transactions. T-VAL’s calculations are built on that experience. We look at how much the seats adjacent to your own – including the other season ticket holders who have put the PSL’s up for sale – have traded game by game, year by year.

T-VAL also examines patterns in the quantity of seats in each sale. Most PSL holders have licenses for several seats. Are the number of seats you’re putting on the market the same amount that most people want to buy for that section?

We do that at the level of the row, the section, the corresponding section on the other side of the stadium, the stadium as a whole, the division, the league…

If there’s a piece of ticketing data out there, at some level, T-VAL takes account of it.

Trust and Transparency in PSL Valuation


Personal seat licenses don’t always have a good reputation. Most people only hear of them when someone is ranting about the different ways money has taken over sports, right in between the cost of premium streaming apps and the latest outrage about which owner wants to move the team to a trendier city.

We get that, which is why we want to bring an element of trust and transparency to the PSL market.

Most PSL resellers look at your tickets, slap a price on them and list them for sale. Neither the buyers nor the sellers know what went into that price, and they certainly don’t know what the reseller is taking out of that price. Is the price based on data analysis? Guesstimate? Last-ditch attempt to meet the sales quota for the quarter?

That’s not going to help anyone think better of those who issue, buy, sell or resell PSL’s.

When we present you with your T-VAL, we don’t just give you a number and say “Take it or leave it.” The T-VAL market value report gives you the right context to make a decision.

The T-VAL market value report presents the historical price range for the seats most comparable to your own, the price range for comparable PSL’s and how the number of seats you have a license for compares to the most valuable purchasing patterns. We tell you how your row, zone, stadium, geographic location and the seat itself all score relative to others in the stadium.

The T-VAL runs on a lot of data and no secrets. Whether you decide to buy, sell or hold, you can have the confidence that you’re making a well-informed, market-based choice.

How Much is My PSL Worth?

Markets run on information: more people knowing more things means more value and better decisions. For the first 30 years of personal seat licenses, the amount of information embedded in the price plummeted after the initial sale. Season ticket holders continued to renew their licenses, buy their season tickets, use some, sell some, all without knowing the real value of what they held. Somewhat ironically, as the single-game ticket marketplace became more sophisticated and season ticket holders could attain full value for the individual tickets they put up for sale, the thing that made it all possible – the PSL – became opaque.

The T-VAL is bringing to the PSL market the same level of data gathering, rigorous analysis and transparency that changed the ticket industry.

Personal seat license holders, interested buyers, PSL marketplaces, even the teams themselves all benefit from a comprehensive analysis that produces an objective market value for every PSL. That’s why T-VAL is partnering with all of them, increasing our warehouse of data and providing meaningful analysis in return.

We can’t help your team win, but we can help you win as you look to buy, sell or manage a PSL transaction.

What’s your T-VAL? Let’s find out.