The Cost Of Being A San Francisco 49ers Fan
(And What To Do About It)


How to save money at Levi's Stadium
By Arnie Papp (Flickr) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

If you’re a San Francisco 49ers fan, I’ve got good news & bad news…

The good news is that your real cost ratio (real cost index ÷ monthly income) of 11.94% in 2015* was only 23rd-highest.

The bad news? It’s mainly that low because the median monthly household income of $680* for that year was by far the highest out of the 31 NFL cities.

 *Based on latest available data from deptofnumbers.com

So for fans not in that income bracket it can be tough, when dealing with prices like…

  • $10.25 for a beer (highest)
  • $60 parking (2nd highest)
  • $10.25 steamed buns (about 8x what you’d pay at San Francisco’s Chinatown)



To be fair, the 49ers are not the only team to build a new stadium designed to attract and accommodate corporate accounts, celebrities, sponsors, & investors, only to put the squeeze on working class fans.

To be fair, there are also teams that have forsaken profits in their new homes in favor of good will (publicity?) toward customers with limited budgets.

The Dallas Cowboys, for instance, offer a standing-room “Party Pass” ticket for just 30 bucks. The New York Yankees added $5 obstructed-view seating (discontinued as of this season).

And the Atlanta Falcons will achieve their goal of having the lowest concession prices in major team sports by offering $2 hot dogs and $5 beers when their new facility debuts later this year.

The 49ers? They give you a season tailgate pass for $5000 (that’s $625 per game).

Are they trying to alienate the average fan? It would be silly to think that any pro sports franchise would have that intent, yet the team, on top of building Levi's Stadium an hour away from the town they’re supposed to represent, have pulled stunts like this and this.

So while it won’t be easy, there are…


A few ways for the average San Francisco 49ers fan to save

Tickets.   The average face value price of $117 for 49ers tickets was the 5th highest in 2016. And while secondary market prices have dropped since the San Francisco 49ers stadium opened in 2014, the average initial resale ticket cost of $267 for the upcoming year is the highest ever for a team coming off a 2-win season.

Well believe it or not, you can save 21% simply by comparison shopping:

Date Opponent Best Price Broker(s)
9/10 Panthers $72.50 Vivid Seats
9/21 Rams $60 Vivid Seats
10/22 Cowboys $184 TickPick
11/5 Cardinals $48.75 Vivid Seats
11/12 Giants $87.50 Vivid Seats
11/26 Seahawks $89 TickPick
12/17 Titans $35 Vivid Seats
12/24 Jaguars $36.25 Vivid Seats
Prices as of 6/10/17 are for the cheapest available tickets, minimum 2. Includes all fees

The average cheap seat price of $76.63 is $16 less than the rest of the pack.


Parking.   The face value cost of a Levi’s Stadium parking pass is $60, but you can pay $300 or more for a Premium Green Lot space online. Or, you can spend as little as $40 for a Blue Lot pass right here. But don’t wait - the dearth of private garages and street parking in the area leaves very few alternatives.

Parking pass prices Sept. 10 vs. Carolina (as of 5/20)
Ticket
Liquidator
Coast To
Coast
Ticket
City
Gold
Coast
Tick
Pick
$49 $53 $47 $72 $40

Local regulations make street parking prohibitive, but here’s an old Reddit thread that suggests there are spaces within 2 miles, from which point you can take the light rail to the stadium.

The best place to park near Levi’s Stadium if you need to save a few bucks?


Food & Drink.   Again, there are few options here. There are only 3 sports bars within 3 miles of Levi’s Stadium. Knockout and SmokeEaters offer typical pub grub at prices that are cheaper than the stadium’s. Characters Sports Bar (located inside the Marriot Hotel) is a bit more expensive - burgers start at $17 - but draft and bottled beers are 8 bucks, or $2.25 less than what you’d pay at Levi’s.

The benefit of going to Characters is that you can park in the hotel’s lot for the game for about $25.



3 Money-saving tricks to make games affordable that the 49ers & Levi's Stadium don't always tell you.


Tailgating.   A San Francisco 49ers fan basically has 4 tailgating options, ranging anywhere from free to the ridiculous…

  • 49ers Webzone Tailgate - The website invites you to “Bring some food or drinks if you can. If you can’t though, still feel free to join us…”. This doesn’t mean you should take advantage by freeloading.
  • Club 49 Tailgate Crew - This is another fan-organized “pot luck” type tailgate party, but it’s a bit more stringent than the 49ers Webzone. From the Club 49 Tailgate Crew’s “etiquette” page: “Do NOT show up empty handed.”
  • Red Zone Rally - At $850 for the season, this is the cheaper of the team-sponsored pre-game tailgate parties, and includes a roller coaster ride at nearby Great America. (Is that supposed to be a deal breaker?)
  • Michael Mina’s Tailgate - This is the aforementioned $5000 tailgate party. This article suggests that it’s “worth every penny”. If you can afford it, well, the team also has a luxury box or two to sell you.


Won't you help out a fellow 49ers fan?

If you have any comments, tips, or suggestions about the places mentioned on this page, or if you have a place of your own to add, we'd love to hear from you. You never know, your opinion might just make a difference for someone...



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