My teenage sons have a single item on their current Bucket List, and it is going to be on their Bucket List for a long time.
They want to go to a Chicago Bears game.
On Thursday, Chicago-based Team Marketing Report released its annual National Football League Fan Cost Index, which determines the average amount it would cost to take a family of four to an NFL game. The details on the FCI are below, but here is what you need to know – the average cost for the 32 NFL teams is $479.45, an increase of 4.4 percent from last year.
By comparison, the TMR FCI for Major League Baseball (MLB) is $212.46.
What does that $479.45 get you? For the sake of the Index, it includes four season tickets, two beers, four soft drinks, four hot dogs, parking, two programs and two adult-size hats. With the exception of tickets, the FCI includes the cheapest choice available.
But that doesn’t always mean the choice is cheap.
Part of the increase in the FCI is because of the creation of San Francisco’s Levi Stadium, which is actually in Santa Clara. It’s FCI is a new league high $641.50, topping last year’s leader, the Dallas Cowboys, who have their own relatively new massive stadium to pay for.
At Levi Stadium, the cheapest beer available costs $10.25 (it is 20 ounces) and that is not even the costliest cheap beer. In Oakland (which doesn’t have the excuse of a new stadium to pay for) the cheapest beer is $10.75.
TMR tells us the average ticket price in the NFL is $84, and eight teams now have average non-premium ticket prices at more than $100. Those eight include the above-mentioned Bears and 49ers, the New England Patriots, the New York Giants, the Cowboys, the New York Jets, the Washington Redskins and the Baltimore Ravens. The Niners lead the league in an average ticket price of $117.
The average premium ticket, which comes with different perks at different stadiums, is $252. Some teams have an average premium ticket price over $500.
This actually makes matters worse for the average fan, but TMR does not include the cost of Personal Seat Licenses in their cost index (15 NFL teams have PSLs). You don’t want to see the average ticket price with PSL prices added.
It might be cheaper for us to travel to Cleveland, but the Bears don’t play the Browns this year. The Browns have the cheapest average ticket price of $54.20. The Jaguars have the lowest FCI of $345.58. Once again, the Bears don’t play them.
There are eight teams with an average ticket price under $70, but I’m guessing the game view isn’t very good from those seats.
After winning the Super Bowl, the Seattle Seahawks raised their average ticket price by 13 percent, but it remains a bargain of sorts, with an FCI of $472.10.
TMR reports the average ticket price in the NFL is $84, compared to $61 for the National Hockey League, $52 for the National Basketball Association and $28 for Major League Baseball.
Hockey is more expensive than basketball? Is that because of the value of the Canadian dollar?
The average parking price for an NFL game is $31.50. The average soft drink is $4.73 and the average hot dog is $5.38.
Don’t you have to wonder when professional sports will price their way out of the public’s range? It hasn’t happened to the NFL yet, as all but seven teams reported better than 90 percent capacity for their eight home games last season, and no team reported less than 80 percent attendance.
But there are a whole great big bunch of people who aren’t ever going to be able to attend an NFL game because it costs too much. At this point, that includes my two sons.