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Ticket Scrimmage: Manning vs. Tebow

They may not have faced each other on the field this year, but Tim Tebow and Peyton Manning are already pushing up ticket prices. So far, it seems, Manning is scoring bigger.

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The Jets are taking quarterback Tim Tebow, who helped bring about a reversal of fortune for the Denver Broncos late last season. Though the Jets acquisition of Tebow Wednesday generated a ton of publicity, his impact on ticket sales has so far been marginal, experts say. But Peyton Manning, a four-time winner of the NFL’s Most Valuable Player award, drove up the Broncos’ secondary market prices by 25% since being signed to the team Sunday, according to ticket sites.

Ticket site StubHub.com reported 40,000 page views on Monday for Broncos tickets — and a 25% spike in prices for season tickets. That compares to just 6,500 page views for Jets tickets Wednesday. Though Denver fans have had more time to digest the news of Manning’s arrival, other data suggests enthusiasm there is growing faster than in New York: SeatGeek.com reports a fourfold jump in searches for Jets tickets, but ten times more searches for the Broncos.

Indeed, experts say it will take time for Tebow to make an impact — just like he does on the field. Chris Matcovich, spokesman for ticket resale site TiqIQ.com, says Tebow helped push up Broncos tickets by nearly 18% to $215 from the start to the end of the season. “Tebow will definitely have some impact on Jet ticket prices for the upcoming season,” he says. “It goes without saying that New York is a much bigger stage, so it may also be dutiful to compare this to Linsanity.” Basketball star Jeremy Lin helped raise Knicks ticket prices by 42% this season, he says.

Others say the “Tebow Effect” all depends on how he performs. “Ticket prices might go up very modestly in the short run,” says sports economist Andrew Zimbalist, “but the increase would only be sustained if he makes the team more competitive.” Will Flaherty, spokesman for SeatGeek.com, is more optimistic, especially if Tebow has a winning streak like last season. “There’s no market like New York when it comes to embracing sports stars, and despite questions about his level of play, Tebow certainly is a transcendent player.”

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