NFL game-day costs for fans

Football fans are divided into two groups – those who watch on television and those who watch in the stadium. The people in the first group enjoy the game in warmth and comfort, while those in the second subject themselves to cold weather and teeming mobs. But that’s a small price to pay for the thrill of seeing the game unfold in person.

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In Pictures: NFL game-day costs

Football fans at the stadium also must contend with prices. Beyond the simple face value of a ticket, there’s beer, hot dogs, parking, merchandise and more. It all adds up to an experience that can cost a family of four hundreds of dollars.

This was the finding of Team Marketing Report, a leading publisher of sports marketing and sponsorship information. It conducts a yearly survey of game-day costs and reports which team offers the priciest Sunday afternoon.

Its Fan Cost Index, published in September, summarizes this year’s costs, based on expenses incurred by a family of four. It consists of four average price tickets, two small beers, four small soft drinks, four hot dogs, parking, two game programs and two adult-size team caps.

What are the average costs for a family of four to see an NFL game up close and in person? Read ahead and find out.


Average cost: $78.38

A single premium ticket to see the New York Giants in 2012 costs $ 464.75. However, Team Marketing Report bases its findings on average ticket prices, and in 2012 that runs at $78.38, or $313.53 for four.


Average cost: $7.28 Football fans are no longer limited to just Budweiser and Miller when they go to the stadium. According to Esquire’s “NFL Stadium Food Power Rankings,” many craft brews are available at NFL games, including Goose Island Honker's Ale and Red Bridge Gluten-Free beer. On average, NFL fans can expect to pay $7.28 for a small beer at the stadium. The most expensive are found at San Diego’s Qualcomm Stadium and Buffalo’s Ralph Wilson Stadium, where the cost is $9. The study assumes two beers will be purchased, or $14.56.

Soft Drink

Average cost: $4.57

The Fan Cost Index assumes that each member of the family will have one small soft drink. With an average price of $4.57, that’s $18.28 for four sodas.

Hot Dog

Average cost: $4.84

Many stadiums offer unique foods, including fish tacos, crab cakes and smoked short ribs.

Still, there’s no substitute for a good old fashioned hot dog. According to Team Marketing Report, that’s $4.84, or $19.36 for four.


Average cost: $27.35

Sports venues are often accessible by mass transit, but many will still drive to games. The average cost for parking is $27.35.


Average cost: $4.06

Game programs are a less essential stadium purchase than food or other memorabilia. In fact, nine of the 32 NFL teams don’t even sell them. The average price for those that do is $4.06, and two will be purchased for $8.12.


Average cost: $21.38

It’s hard for some NFL fans to leave the game without taking some merchandise home. Team jerseys and caps are popular choices.

The report found that the average price for a cap is $21.38, and to keep the kids happy, two will be purchased for $42.76.

Fan Cost Index

Average cost: $443.93

The averages add up to $443.93 for a family of four. This is a lot of money for the average family to spend in a single afternoon, but it’s by no means definitive.

The Jacksonville Jaguars have the lowest Fan Cost Index at $342.70, and the highest belongs to the Dallas Cowboys, at $634.78. This is due in large part to the Cowboys’ $110.20 ticket price and the $75 parking fee. By comparison, the next highest parking fee is $49 at Chicago’s Soldier Field.

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