Hot Money Saving Tips For Soldier Field

How to save money at Soldier Field...
By John Picken (Flickr: Soldier Field, Chicago) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

So you want to go to Soldier Field and take in a Bears game, hmm?

Some facts that may interest you:

  • At $131.90 (highest in the NFL), the average face value price for a home game at the Chicago Bears Stadium in 2016 was 42% over the league average.
  • The initial average ticket price on the secondary market was 49% above average.
  • The (face value) cost of a parking pass ($49) was 50% above average.

Soldier Field can be crazy expensive!

Given the above numbers, you’d think we’re talking about a really good football team and/or a town where the average salary is six figures.

The reality though is that the Bears finished the 2015 season with a 6-10 record, and while the median Chicago yearly household income of $63,153 is above the national average, it is merely middle-of-the-pack when compared amongst NFL cities.

And so, the average cost for a Bears home game at Soldier Field at the start of the 2015 season represented 26.54% of the typical Chicago weekly household income, a figure that's 4th-highest in the NFL.

Team/City Weekly Income1 Avg.Ticket Price2 %
Green Bay $1055 $338 32.05
Seattle $1448 $438 30.21
Miami $970 $274 28.23
Chicago $1214 $322 26.54
Dallas $1185 $305 25.70
1U.S. median household income for 2015
2Secondary market initial average ticket price for 2015

Here’s what it comes down to - being a fan of Da Bears is neither easy nor cheap, so here are…

Some money saving tips for Soldier Field


Secondary market ticket prices are of course based upon demand, and two of the biggest factors that influence that demand are team success/performance, and weather. And since the majority of NFL teams don’t make the playoffs and don’t have domed stadiums, it’s a fact that collectively, resale ticket prices always decrease as the season wears on.

You should try:   Waiting before you buy tickets. On the whole this is not original strategy, but in the Bears case it’s a good - and safe, idea:

2010 11-5 +7.34%
2011 8-8 -11.52%
2012 10-6 +4.53%
2013 8-8 -3.58%
2014 5-11 -57.78%
2015 6-10 -16.24%
2016 3-13 -49.36%

The column on the right is the change in resale ticket prices from the start of the regular season to the end.

Predictably, the only 2 instances that the prices rose was the only 2 winning seasons on the list. But even then, the increase was no more than 7%, while prices dropped as much as 57% for the other seasons.

Why is this? My guess is that their resale ticket prices at the start of the season are not only high, they’re oddly high. Teams that had the top 5 initial secondary market ticket costs for 2016 according to TicketIQ, along with their won-loss record for the previous season:

Seattle $459 10-6
New England $447 12-4
Denver $399 12-4
Green Bay $371 10-6
Chicago $362 6-10

Like I said, odd. The Bears were the only top 5 team to not make it to the post season and have a losing record. And this is not a one-year oddity, either -- their initial resale prices have been among the top five for the last four years. The average record for the Bears over that period is 7-9. The other 15 teams? 11-5.

Basically it seems that the Bears home game ticket prices are so high at the onset that there is more room to go down than there is to go up.

More on NFL ticket prices.

Avoid like the plague:   Packers games. Sure, the Bears vs. Packers is one of the most historical rivalries in all of sports, but is it worth the cost? In 2014, the average ticket price for the week 4 game against the Packers at Soldier Field at one point was a mind-blowing, eye-popping $666.


Soldier Field parking passes are $49 at face value, and can easily go for 2-3 times as much second hand.

You should try:

  • ParkWhiz - Find prime spots close to the stadium for pennies on the dollar, some of which even allow tailgating. Talk about a no-brainer.
  • Street parking - There’s ample street parking within a mile of the Chicago Bears stadium for $2-$4 per hour.

For a full list of Soldier Field parking options, go here.

Avoid like the plague:   Buying parking passes from an online ticket broker. Like I said, they can typically charge $100 or more.

Food & Beer

Most NFL stadiums have overpriced food & beer. Soldier Field is no different”
Instead of paying $10.50 at the stadium for an imported (from Wisconsin, no less) draft beer, $9.25 for a Ditka Dog, or $18 for a prime rib sandwich…

You should try:
  • Timothy O’Toole’s - An 11 ounce, 8.19 ABV Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale is just 6 bucks. There are several good, moderately cheap sports bars near the stadium, but as far as I know, this is the only one that offers a shuttle ride on game day. The downside is that you’ll have to park on the street, but the $30 ($20 for 5 hours near 519 N Michigan Ave) you’ll pay for street parking & the shuttle ($10) is still a great deal compared to what a parking pass can cost you online.
  • Kim & Carlo’s Hot Dog Stand - $4 for a Chicago-style hot dog. Located on the north side of the stadium near the Field Museum.
  • Jim’s Original - A Pork Chop sandwich (fries included) is only $3.95, Vienna Beef Hot Dog is $2.60.

Avoid like the plague:   The Arena Club’s The Kickoff Tailgate Party. Ok, maybe not like the plague. And $59 ($79 for full bar upgrade) for this “high end” tailgate package isn’t all that bad. But this is something to consider if you’re hosting a corporate party or you want to impress someone, not if you have a budget to stick to.

Add your expert review

As a service to fellow Chicago Bears fans, won't you please review some of the places mentioned above? Or you can add your own, either by commenting here or editing the map.

2017 Chicago Bears Schedule

Date Opponent Time (EST) Venue
Sep 10 Falcons 1:00 PM Soldier Field
Sep 17 Buccaneers 1:00 PM Raymond James Stadium
Sep 24 Steelers 1:00 PM  
Sep 28 Packers 8:25 PM Lambeau Field
Oct 9 Vikings 8:30 PM  
Oct 15 Ravens 1:00 PM M&T Bank Stadium
Oct 22 Panthers 1:00 PM  
Oct 29 Saints 1:00 PM Mercedes Benz Superdome
Nov 12 Packers 1:00 PM  
Nov 19 Lions 1:00 PM  
Nov 26 Eagles 1:00 PM Lincoln Financial Field
Dec 3 49ers 1:00 PM  
Dec 10 Bengals 1:00 PM Paul Brown Stadium
Dec 16 Lions 4:30 PM Ford Field
Dec 24 Browns 1:00 PM  
Dec 31 Vikings 1:00 PM US Bank Stadium
  = Home game

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