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The Cost of Being a Sports Fan in 2018

The recent release of two studies highlights the cost of being a sports fan in 2018. While the data is not necessarily surprising, it is revealing about what fans in each city are willing to pay for experiencing the game in the stands. In fact, we have produced guides on taking tours to see all NFL stadiums and the best players in the NBA and support the fan experience.

Let’s start with the data collected by PromoCodesForYou. They rank the cost of being a sports  for attending a professional baseball, hockey, basketball or football game. Attending a football game is the most expensive, and baseball costs the least. They say the cost of a ticket, food, beer and parking for a New England Patriots game is $925.80. The cheapest event on their survey is a Cleveland Indians game that costs $46.

PromoCodesForYou graphic on NBA game costs

An NBA game ranges from a high of $176 for a New York Knicks game to $71 for a Charlotte Hornets event. The Golden State Warriors come in at $137, the Los Angeles Lakers at $129, and the Philadelphia 76ers at $92.

In terms of hockey, the authors say, “Hockey attendance requires a dramatic jump in fan investment, substantially more than basketball and baseball enthusiasts. An average Vegas Golden Knights game will set a hockey fan back $600, and a night at a New York Rangers game costs an average of $493.95. Buffalo Sabres fans luck out with an average cost of $133 for a live hockey experience, but, that is still a large chunk of change.”

Fans, Fun and Emotional Connection

The Berkeley School of Information put a twist on their data, calculating a team’s success and emotional attachment to the cost of being a sports fan. Professor Amit Bhattacharyya says these items are quantifiable. “Sports just has a steady stream of statistics and numbers and ways to quantify what’s going on,” he said.

The survey says fans spend upwards of $56 billion on sporting events each year. The Berkeley study compares “the cost to attend a game for every team in the MLB, NFL, NBA, and NHL with potential proxies such as team value, winning percentage over time, and the cost of living in the area.”

Chicago Cubs fans pay the highest MLB price, $104 for a ticket, parking, a hot dog and a beer. They put the Cleveland Indians cost at $51 with Tampa coming in last at less than $32 per event.

In their NFL study, it costs the most to attend a Dallas Cowboys game, at $199. They put the price of a New England Patriots game at $182, with the Jacksonville Jaguars coming in last at $104.

They rate the “best deals” in each category that factors winning percentage. The winners in this analysis are the Pittsburgh Pirates, Carolina Panthers, Memphis Grizzlies and Tampa Bay Lightning.

Perhaps the most interesting analysis is which teams are the most “fun” for fans. Winners and losers in each of the four major sports:

Baseball
Best: St. Louis Cardinals
Worst: Philadelphia Phillies

Football
Best: Atlanta Falcons
Worst: Los Angeles Rams

Basketball
Best: Utah Jazz
Worst: Denver Nuggets

Hockey
Best: Dallas Stars
Worst: Carolina Hurricanes

Look over the data and let us know what you think of how your home team is rated and what you think of the cost of being a sports fan.

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