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In the private jet race to Super Bowl LVIII, California is dominating Missouri

man in a red track suit walks off a plane with a lot of other people following behind
Travis Kelce of the Kansas City Chiefs arrives for Super Bowl LVIII at the Harry Reid International Airport, which has become the nation's most popular private jet destination ahead of the big game. | Source: Perry Knotts/Getty Images

At least in one metric, California is beating the pants off Missouri ahead of Super Bowl LVIII, where the San Francisco 49ers will take on the Kansas City Chiefs in Las Vegas on Sunday.

A total of 153 private jets have taken off from California and landed in Sin City ahead of the big game between Wednesday and Friday afternoon, compared with only 10 jets coming from Missouri, according to data from JetSpy, which tracks and analyzes private jet traffic.

While the majority of this fleet is arriving from Southern California, more than 30 are from Bay Area airports, and seven have specifically departed from San Francisco International Airport. 

The most popular Bay Area airport for private jet travel is San Jose Mineta International Airport, followed by San Francisco International Airport and Oakland International Airport. Other major Bay Area private jet takeoff points include smaller airfields like Monterey Regional Airport and Napa County Airport. 

The “mayor of Flavortown” Guy Fieri, NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal and country singer Kenny Chesney are just a handful of celebrities whose private jets have already touched down in the city. Unsurprisingly, the biggest contest in football is also the “Super Bowl” of private jet travel among the ultra-wealthy. 

Mitch Williamson, JetSpy’s communications director, said the sporting event generally ranks in the top 10 for corporate jet traffic, alongside the likes of the Masters, the Kentucky Derby and the billionaire-laden Sun Valley Conference in Idaho.

Speaking of billionaires, a handful have made their way to Vegas on their jets, including Oracle chairman Larry Ellison, venture capitalist Ben Horowitz and private equity investor Robert F. Smith. 

NFL owners also make a large number of the early birds flying private for the game, including Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft. 

Williamson noted that alongside the Super Bowl, the city is also hosting a LIV Golf tournament that runs from Thursday to Saturday, drawing some additional members of the super-rich. 

Typically, Las Vegas sees around 112 private jet landings daily, according to JetSpy’s data, but the firm is projecting private jet travel to more than triple that baseline throughout the weekend. 

A fair share of Fortune 500 corporate jets have also landed in Las Vegas, including those owned by Visa, PepsiCo, Ford Motor Company, Disney and Goldman Sachs. 

In case you were in the market, the most popular private jet for those heading to the Super Bowl is the Bombardier Challenger 300, which has quite the lead on the second-place Cessna Citation Sovereign. 

The price for a Challenger 300 typically starts at around $10 million. But don’t worry, it seats nine. 

Kevin Truong can be reached at kevin@sfstandard.com