How so? Well, as an NFL fan, instead of having an abundance of food, drink, & entertainment options nearby - this is, after all, what you’d expect from the 5th most visited U.S. city -- you get a Walmart, a few chain restaurants, and oh yes, a casino.
And then there’s the tickets… while the average face value Dolphins ticket cost just $65.16 in 2015¹ (5th lowest), the initial secondary market price of $274 represented 28% of the average weekly paycheck of local area residents, a figure that was 3rd highest in 2015².
|2Based upon latest available data from deptofnumbers.com|
With the lack of options around the stadium and sky-high resale costs, what’s a fan to do?
Get Dolphins tickets for less. How much less? In a comparison of 11 major ticket broker sites*, the best available price for all 2017 Dolphins home games at Hard Rock will save you 14%, on average:
Sample the Hard Rock Stadium food. I usually recommend avoiding stadium food, but with the dearth of choices nearby (there is one sports bar within 3 miles) you might as well. The stadium has upgraded its offerings since getting a C+ grade from Bleacher Report in 2012, so if tailgating is not an option, you can get decent value at these concessions:
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Have a craft beer or two. Beer prices are average to below average, but it’s not the cost that’s noteworthy here, it’s the fact that there are over 50 varieties of craft brew to swoon over. And at 8 bucks a pop (bottled), you can have more than one.
Uber Tailgate. If you really want to save and have a great time, then tailgating is the way to go at Hard Rock Stadium, just don’t Uber tailgate.
What is Uber Tailgate? Well for a mere $250, Uber will drive you to & from the game (max. $15 one-way fare) and then set you up with a tailgating space and supplies.
What does it include? In addition to car fare, you get a tailgate tent, a table, grill, & a cooler with ice. Refreshments are on you, and they’re more than happy to sell you overpriced food & beer from their own store.
You’ve got to be kidding…
Here’s what an Uber tailgate party for 4 Miami Dolphins fans would cost if you bought their provisions:
For the non-Uber tailgate, I did not include the cost of the grill, table, & cooler because those are items that most people already own. The cost of provisions and parking passes will naturally vary.
For example, substituting a six-pack of Funky Buddha Beer (from Publix, of course) for the Yuengling is only $2.70 more. On the other hand, if you replace the pork subs with a bucket of Publix fried chicken, the total dips to $212. And if you buy a generic tailgate tent instead of one with the Dolphins logo, that’s another $76 off. Aaaand, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that the $250 Uber Tailgate price tag isn’t for every game. For certain opponents, it’s $350.
As far as I can see, the only advantage that Uber Tailgate offers is that you and your friends are chauffeured to and from the stadium, but that’s hardly worth the $106 - $232 difference in cost, don’t you think??
And if driving is the issue, Rally Bus is considerably cheaper than Uber. A round trip fare from Boca Raton is just $30*, which is less than a one-way fare using UberX. From Bonita Springs, it’s only $40* (UberX: $130 one-way)
|*Until June 12|
Get discounted parking with SunPass. The face value cost of a Sun Life Stadium parking pass is $40, but SunPass users pay only $25. At $4.99 (plus $10 minimum balance), it’s well worth it.
Or, you can pay about the same price, depending upon the opponent and such, right here.
Bargain hotels. Would you believe that hotel room prices for the Miami area could be more expensive than even Hawaii and New York City? That’s right - the average daily rates in Miami were the highest in the nation in 2016, but relax… you can find 3- or 4-star hotels near Sun Life Stadium for under $130 per night.
Here are five that are within 11 miles of Hard Rock, with an average cost of $112* and an average rating of 76**:
* Rates are for a 1 night stay (11/19 - 11/20/17 were the proposed dates in this case) as of Nov. 3, 2017.
**Ratings are based upon cumulative scores from at least 2 of 4 sites (Expedia, hotels.com, booking.com, & priceline) - a 3 (out of 5) rating on Expedia = 60, 7 (out of 10) rating on booking.com = 70.
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