Sports Fan Spending: Which fans are willing to shell out the most?

By Harrison Miller
Nov. 09, 2018

There’s nothing more American than going to a professional sporting event, snacking on stadium or arena food, and sipping drinks that are too expensive. Baseball may have been “America’s Pastime”, but other professional sports have their fair share of American fans who are devout.

So devout, in fact, they’re willing to shell out top dollar to see their favorite team in action.

A handful of factors contribute to the expense of a ticket for a particular team. Location is incredibly important to factor in - whether the team is playing at home or at an away game. The location of the game will always factor in to the ticket price. What’s more is that it’s likely the team’s record will boost ticket prices, too. A winning record boosts ticket sale demand which, in turn, increases the price of the tickets. Ticket prices are not the same in all cities, states, and especially different across the four major league professional sporting leagues in the United States: the MLB, NFL, NBA, and NHL.

A recent study compared the prices of a night at a sporting event, combining the price of tickets, parking, a beer, and food at each of the stadiums or arenas. The study found and ranked the most expensive professional sporting events to attend, naming the NFL as the most expensive for fans.

#1 - The NFL

While some might say the MLB is still America’s game and favorite pastime, football fans wouldn’t agree with that statement. They would be far more likely to claim the title for the NFL. It’s widely known tickets to football games aren’t cheap, especially when teams have a solid record that season. For instance - a game at Gillette in Foxborough would cost fans an average of $925.80. Few are the Patriots fans who might say the price was too high, but in comparison with the rest of the league, the Patriots’ tickets are expensive.

#2 - The NHL

Going to a hockey game is a different experience. It is a fast paced game where the nitty gritty details matter - including whether or not there was true slashing or not when the ref called a penalty. Hockey fans are die-hard with a penchant for rowdy games, especially on team and division rivalry nights. Tickets to a hockey game can range from very inexpensive nosebleed seats to an average of $600.66 to see winning teams like the Vegas Golden Knights.

#3 - The NBA

Although the average price of a night at an NBA game is typically lower than the NHL and NFL, tickets to the NBA Championship Finals can cost up to $2,800 to attend. In comparison with price of tickets to the Superbowl which can range from $2,400 per seat to $11,000, that is fairly inexpensive. The most expensive NBA team for fans to watch live is the New York Knicks at $176 for the evening.

#4 - The MLB

Surprisingly, going to a baseball game isn’t very expensive. Even tickets to see winning teams like the Red Sox and the Yankees, ticket prices aren’t very high for fans (and otherwise). The Cubs are the most expensive MLB team to see live - but the evening would be affordable at $170 for parking, one ticket, a beer, and a hotdog.

Ticket prices likely won’t stop fans, especially when they’re devout. What’s the highest price you’d pay to see your favorite team?