NFL is back; can you afford it?
It's definitely not cheap to love your team, especially if you want to flaunt your devotion.
This post comes from Lynn Mucken at MSN Money.
Pro football has been saved. Has the average NFL fan saved enough money to enjoy it?
The National Football League's owners and players have been bickering over a few billion dollars for some time and reportedly are just a few hours away from returning to the field after a months-long lockout.
But where are those billions coming from? The paying public, of course. Love affairs do not come cheap. Here's a quick rundown on the true price of being a real fan:
Television. Yes, all the games of the hometown team will be televised, free and in high-def. But what if you grew up wishing you were former Seattle quarterback Dave Krieg -- it must have happened -- but now live in Omaha. You get to watch the Seahawks once, maybe twice, a season.
A solution is DirecTV's Sunday Ticket, which will allow you to watch just about every Sunday game of every NFL team. But it's spendy, especially if you are interested in watching only one Sunday game. Post continues after video.
First of all, you have to subscribe to DirecTV's satellite service, which begins at $30 a month. Then you have to add Sunday Ticket, a mere $335 a season (spread over five equal payments).
For the weekday games -- excepting Monday Night Football -- you have to get the NFL Network, which is free on DirecTV and costs about $5 a month on other satellite and cable services that carry it (cable giant Time Warner does not).
If you are willing to watch the games on a 17-inch or smaller screen, DirecTV will sell you, for $350 a season, streaming video of all its games for your computer, iPad or smartphone.
Tickets. NFL football is perfect for TV, but there is still nothing like going to the game, being with the crowd, sitting too far away to read a player's number, stuck next to some guy who has been drinking beer since 9 a.m., and missing most of the plays because the people in front of you leap up at every 2-yard off-tackle run.
Such joy doesn't come cheap. According to Team Marketing Report, the average NFL ticket in 2010 cost $76.47, with the New England Patriots topping the list at $117.84 and the Jacksonville Jaguars the cheapest at $57.34.
Of course, you can buy better seats. "Premium" seating costs an average of $566.67 for the Patriots, but only $139.93 if you belong to Raider Nation.
Parking. Location, location, location. You will spend $150 a game to leave your car in Lot 10 at Cowboys Stadium, just a short post route from your seat. Parking is $22 at a private lot 0.7 of a mile away.
Parking costs in the NFL are based on distance and demand. Everyone drives to Cowboys games, and they pay about $75, but in New York, where tickets to the Jets and Giants are among the league's most expensive, availability of mass transit has kept parking to $25. Parking for the Carolina Panthers, who won just two games last season, was $20.
Concessions. Ah, stadium cuisine. While a great hot dog will cost you $1.50 (including drink) at Costco, a wiener will run you $6 or $7 in most NFL stadiums and another $5 for a soda. A 12-ounce domestic beer? $8. No wonder folks fill up by tailgating before the game.
Team wear. Nothing says you're a fan like a team jersey. OK, you can paint your house a tasteful black with gold trim in Pittsburgh, but clothing is much cheaper.
Jerseys come in three varieties. "Authentic" costs the most because it is made of the same material the players wear. "Replica" is cheaper because it is, well, cheaper: lighter material with the numbers painted on instead of sewn. "Customized" is generally the least expensive because it comes with your name on it instead of a player's. It usually is given to you by a relative who doesn't understand the game.
Prices vary greatly, depending on the popularity of a player, the success of a team and the time of year. A jersey will cost you a bundle during a Super Bowl season, but will be worth it in prestige 20 years later, and not just because it still fits.
According to the NFL Shop, you have buy the authentic jersey of Dallas quarterback Tony Romo for $225, but pay just $65 for a replica. A Buffalo QB Ryan Fitzpatrick replica is $85, and the NFL Shop doesn't even offer an authentic.
Overall cost. Taking your family of four to a NFL game can cost you a month's car payment, or maybe a house payment if you live in the rural Midwest. According to Team Marketing Report, it cost $617 to go to a Cowboys game in 2010, an awful lot of money for a team that won just six times.
The best bargain was an Atlanta Falcons game: $378 for a team that won 13 games. The league average cost was $421.
Fantasy football. If you don't care who wins or loses, but only how they play the game, you can participate in competition based on players' individual performances. Your team is an amalgamation of players from different teams, and you field the players you think will produce the best statistics -- usually passing, receiving and rushing.
Fantasy leagues can be free -- CBS Sports, for example, offers one with a $10,000 first prize -- but in most cases, either in those sponsored by organizations or played just among friends, everyone throws money into a pool and you split it up on a game-by-game or season basis. CBS, for instance, also offers leagues with $40, $100, $200 and $500 buy-ins for season-long competition.
More on MSN Money.
What a waste of $...I feel bad for the spouses and children, who may be going without something important because of the selfishness of the fan in the family.
Wish I could find a guy like my dad, who wouldn't waste a moment's time or $ on sports. He was no pansy either - from depression-era 1st-generation farm family, fought WWII (after joining at age 17; family couldn't afford for him to continue & finish H.S.), worked in coal mines & steel mills
When my CD comes out I do hope some people make me rich though.
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