There’s a long-standing theory that people are happier when they spend money on experiences, rather than on material things. Well it’s safe to say we’ve found some happy subscribers to this theory. We all know big spenders like to spend big—often at the last minute—to get access to popular events. But this level of spending is almost too outrageous to believe. More than eighty thousand dollars to sit for two-and-a-half hours in a folding chair at the Staples Center? Sure, the chair was set up for a Lakers game, very well-padded and probably within spitting distance of Jack Nicholson… but still.
When looking for the most expensive event tickets of all time, naturally, we started with sports. It should come as no surprise that some of the most expensive tickets in sports history have been attached to some very recent sporting events. In fact, three of the four most expensive seats were sold to events that occurred in 2015. One seat, behind home plate at a 2015 World Series game at Citi Field in New York, went for $17,553. Face value for that seat was $650. That’s a 2,700 percent mark-up. Another recent sporting event that was expected to be expensive, and heartily met those expectations, was Super Bowl 50 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, CA. One ticket on the 50-yard-line sold for $20,500. The face value for that seat was $1,800. Even wilder, the person who purchased the seat could have spent that money on season tickets for either Broncos games or Panthers games and still had a nice purse left over to cover concessions at every game.
Another 2015 event, “The Fight of the Century,” between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather, Jr., saw one ringside seat go for $40,955. The match took place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, and the occupant of that particularly dear seat paid $277 per punch landed by Floyd Mayweather, Jr.
So what’s the most expensive seat ever sold for a sporting event? According to our research, it’s for that courtside folding chair at the Staples Center, to watch the 2010 NBA Finals Game 7, between the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers. Eight-one thousand and eighty-three American dollars. The Lakers went on to beat the Celtics by a score of 83 to 79, so it works out that the well-heeled fan sitting by Jack ended up paying $1,559 per basket scored by the Lakers.
Transportation also made a big splash on our list, and we’re not talking about purchases where you get to keep the car or the plane. We’re talking about single rides in single seats (or, ahem, Presidential Suites). On the “cheaper” end, there’s a train that traverses through India called the Maharajas’ Express, that sells its eight-day-long “Heritage of India” trip for a spicy $23,700. There’s also a route regularly flown by Etihad Airways that will take a passenger in its penthouse cabin from New York City to Abu Dhabi and back, for $64,000. That works out to $2,370 per hour for 27 hours of flying. We assume in-flight beverage service is included.
As it turns out, getting airborne is one of the most expensive activities on Earth… or just above Earth… or way above it.
Virgin Galactic, one of the leaders in an emerging market known as “space tourism,” has already begun selling tickets for its flights that travel just a wee bit beyond Earth’s atmosphere and include two-and-a-half minutes of weightlessness to be enjoyed by passengers with heavy wallets. The cost of these flights? Two-hundred and fifty thousand dollars. Which is actually a serious bargain when compared to our list-topper, the single most expensive seat ever sold in human history. In September 2009, Guy Laliberté, co-founder of Cirque du Soleil, paid $35 million for a seat on the Soyuz TMA-16, on its trip to the International Space Station. To be included on this trip, Laliberté paid $121,527 per hour, around the clock, for 12 straight days. And honestly, that may well have been the best value per dollar of anything on this list!
Don't have this type of money? Don't worry, neither do we! Our breuer chairs are way more affordable than these expensive stools!