NFL officials argue that New York is a unique Super Bowl market that warrants higher ticket prices. Not only is it more densely populated than other Super Bowl venues, it has a high concentration of wealthy corporations and individuals. There is also a well-established tradition in the city of paying out the nose for marquee events. -- Wall Street Journal, Sept. 17, 2013

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FEB. 2, 2014 -- The place is the MetLife Stadium in the Meadowlands Sports Complex in East Rutherford, N.J. The time is an hour before kickoff for Super Bowl XLVIII. The teams run through calisthenics and pass patterns on the field to loosen up tense bodies. The conversation in the stands continues.

"I told you that this Super Bowl was going to be too expensive," she says. "I told you."

"I know," he replies.

"I told you way back in September when the NFL more than doubled the price of the tickets from $1,250 to $2,600. Who pays $2,600 to see a football game?"

"I know."

"That's $5,200 for the two of us. Do you know what I could do with $5,200? I could make a good down payment on a good car. I could buy iPhones for the entire neighborhood. I could get braces. Do you know how much it takes for most Americans to make $5,200? Do you know how long it takes you to make $5,200?"

"I know."

"We just paid off that second mortgage we took to see CATS a decade ago on Broadway. I think we put Andrew Lloyd Webber's first born through medical school with what the tickets cost for that. It was a fabulous weekend, I'll admit -- stayed at the Plaza, great meals, the ride in the hansom cab around Central Park, the whole shooting match -- but that was a lotta, lotta money."

"I know."

"Now this."

"I know."

"New York City. Plus the Super Bowl. Talk about the perfect storm."

"I know."

"Soon as you step off the airplane in this city, you start handing people money. You give a couple bucks to the guy who gets you a cab at the airport. You give a bunch of money to the guy from the strange country who drives you in the cab with the strange music to your hotel. You give more bucks to the guy who carries your bags from the cab to the lobby. Then even more bucks to the guy who carries the bags from the lobby to your room, the number multiplied when he shows you important stuff like where the bathroom is and how to operate the clicker for the television. Then you have to really get the money out, because you're probably hungry and want to eat."

"I know."

"What did that breakfast cost that I ordered from room service this morning? I want to say $70, but I'm probably exaggerating. I just remember it was a muffin, a banana and one of those little pots of coffee, and it cost a lot. I could have bought every muffin in our local bakery for what I paid for that breakfast. I could have bought all of the bananas in the supermarket. Then we had lunch! Do all hamburgers here have to be made out of that Kobe beef? Then dinner the other night. Remember the cost of that bottle of wine? I know you liked it, but ..."

"I know."

"I'm terrified about what they can do with this game in this town. You shouldn't have just given your credit card to that guy with the limo who drove us over here. I bet that's another small fortune. The game program, how much was that? I bet we could have bought a Kindle for what it cost. The Super Bowl hats -- there should be a designer label on them. Thank God we bought our team jerseys back home. They only cost the price of a flat-screen television back there. Here, they'd be out of sight."

"I know."

"The whole thing makes me nervous. Yes, it does."

"I know."

"I'm afraid to get a beer. Aren't you? I'll bet the price is double figures. 'This Bud's for you, just take those rubber bands off your wallet.' Not only will the price of the beer be outrageous, but I'm afraid of the other stuff the NFL could do. Maybe there's a charge to use the lavatories. Maybe 50 bucks, maybe 100. Just to get in the door. Who can argue? Pay the man. Maybe $20 more for a paper towel. Maybe $10, a discount, for that hot air thing. Pay the man. If there's money to be made, these people know how to make it."

"I know."

"I bet there's a special escalator in and out of here. Costs maybe $100 to beat the crowd. I bet there's special check-your-bag radar. In and out. Another $100. Special earphones to hear special information. Special rooms to meet special people. Special, secret words to go to these special, secret places. I'm sure the NFL has places like that. Chris Berman and Jon Gruden and Tedy Bruschi are talking with people like us right now. For a price."

"I know."

"I know it will be a wonderful game. I know it will be in the memory book forever. I know all of that, but …"

"I know."

A whistle blows. The two teams hurtle down the field to begin their long afternoon of collisions. Bruno Mars gets ready to sing at halftime. Flags wave. Cash registers ring. The show is captured and shipped across the country and around a waiting world.

The Super Bowl. From New York City.

That American Dream just gets more expensive every day.