How To Save Money Fast:
A Tale Of 16 NFL Football Stadiums

The Real Costs for an NFL Football Fan...
Embed code:
If you’re an average NFL football fan, and you want to know how to save money fast…

Then - at the risk of making it sound more complicated than it really is -

You need to understand two things:

  • Your real costs
  • How different those costs can be depending on where you live and the team you root for

Note: this is primarily for what I like to call “active” NFL fans… that is, fans that attend games, tailgate, or frequent the sports bars near the stadium.

If you’re a couch potato, well, your costs are going to be basically the same no matter where you are.

Real costs.   So you think you know how much it really costs to be a fan? Perhaps you’re thinking of the Fan Cost Index.

If you’re not familiar, the Fan Cost Index (FCI) calculates what a family of 4 would spend on a single game by totaling the costs of 4 average-price tickets, 2 beers, 4 soft drinks, 4 hot dogs, 2 caps, and parking pass.

But for the vast majority of fans, the FCI, as a gauge for the total and actual costs, is useless.

For one thing, it’s based on the face value costs.

Most of us average NFL football fans will rarely, if ever, get to see face value. Instead, we’re relegated to paying secondary market rates for tickets and parking, which are mostly much, much higher than face value.

So if you substitute resale prices for face value, the FCI for the 2015 season (why am I using data for 2015?*) goes from a manageable $481 to a very unmanageable $900. This, my friends, is the real cost index.

*Costs, and cost of living, vary by region. To measure the true impact of a fan’s expenses, I refer you to the adjusted real cost index which is simply real cost index ÷ monthly income. Median household income figures for the 31 NFL cities are derived from, whose latest data is for 2015.

Enter your household salary below and choose a team. Then click the button towards the lower center of the form to see how much of your monthly income is needed to attend one game:

Real Cost Index Calculator
Weekly gross salary
(Do not include “$”)
Select team:
        Adjusted real cost index:
 Based upon 2015 data

YOUR team.   Of course wages, expenses, etc., are different depending on where you live, so yes, $100 will get you considerably more in Minnesota than it will in New York. But it’s more than just that - each NFL team brings a unique set of rules when it comes to the factors that determine price - namely, supply, demand, and logistics.

So, for example, while the difference in average face value ticket price for 2016 between the Cleveland Browns ($69) and the New England Patriots ($131) was “only” $62, the difference in the initial average cost on the secondary market was $300 (!).

And using the Browns again as example, their 2017 initial average cheapest parking pass price of $154 was 6th-highest, which makes zero sense when you consider that their initial average ticket price ($165) was the 4th-cheapest.

Decision time

You just got your last paycheck for the month, and now you have to decide if you want to pay the rent or go to a football game.

While that doesn’t really happen (does it?), consider that:

  • Most people allocate 25-30% of gross monthly income towards the rent. In 2015, the second-highest real cost ratio was 31.7% of a month’s pay.
  • Sports, while not a necessity per se, is a way of life for many people and as such, figures heavily into cost of living decisions.

But not many people can afford to pay the equivalent of an extra month’s rent, even if it is just a few times a year.

The good news is, you don’t have to choose between necessities and NFL football. By deciding when & where you buy your NFL tickets, as well as taking advantage of the available options in and around NFL stadiums, you can be a fan’s fan and still have enough money for rent and groceries.

Will you always have a premium, VIP experience? No… do you fly first-class all of the time?

Will you have lots of fun and learn how to save money? You bet you’re a**.

How to save money fast at…

New! Comments

Have your say about what you just read! Leave me a comment in the box below.

Home > How To Save Money Fast on NFL Football | Top of page | Last page visited

NFL Cheapskate

Stay up to date!


Dallas Cowboys Stadium
AT&T Stadium

Lambeau Field
Lambeau Field

CenturyLink Field
CenturyLink Field

Buffalo Bills Stadium
New Era Field

MetLife Stadium
MetLife Stadium

How to save money at Gillette Stadium
Gillette Stadium

How to beat rising prices at Arrowhead Stadium
Arrowhead Stadium

Soldier Field
Soldier Field