Watching your local NFL team from the comfort of your own couch isn’t all that difficult. In fact, now that the NFL has suspended its blackout rules, which blacked out broadcasts if your local team’s stadium didn’t sell out 72 hours prior to the game, every local matchup is available to watch for free if you have a TV and rabbit ears.
But NFL owners don't want you to sit at home to watch your team play. To motivate fans to see games in person, NFL teams have invested millions in their stadiums, which now have unimaginable amenities such as poolside cabanas, world-class art collections, on-demand cheerleaders, apps that tell you bathroom wait-times, food that’s literally local, and much, much more. All these new features and experiences come at a cost to stadium-goers (and tax-payers.)
Average ticket prices across the league rose 2% this season, according to Team Marketing Report, which released its 2015 NFL Fan Cost Index recently. The firm reported that the average NFL ticket costs $85.83 — and that’s for a non-premium seat. The annual report prices out tickets, concessions, parking, and merchandise across the NFL’s 32 stadiums. (For a sortable table of the Fan Cost Index, click here.)
From beers and hot dogs to parking and ticket prices, here are some of the most outrageously priced NFL stadiums, as well as the places where you can find relative bargains.
Most Expensive Ticket
Sure, Odell Beckham, Jr.’s one-handed catches are incredible, but is it worth paying $123.40, on average, to witness the action in person? Apparently so because that’s how much the average New York Giants fans pay for each non-premium seat, according to Team Marketing Report. Giants fans can’t seem to catch a break either: The team finished with only 6 wins last season and the franchise still raised ticket prices in 2015 by $10. But once inside MetLife Stadium, Giants (and Jets) fans enjoy some of the league’s cheapest sodas and beers.
Least Expensive Ticket
The Jacksonville Jaguars have really struggled to get fans to the stadium. Part of that has to do with the team's horrendous record: the Jags haven't won more than five games in a season since 2010.
So the organization decided to do something drastic. Last season the team removed 9,500 seats from EverBank Field and replaced them with a two-level party deck featuring pools and party cabanas. The stadium also added a fantasy football lounge and a giant scoreboard. After all these grandiose renovations, you'd expect ticket prices to skyrocket, but that's not the case. A non-premium seat at EverBank Field costs an average of just $57.65, according to Team Marketing Report, which is the cheapest ticket in the entire league.
Biggest Ticket Price Hike
The Cleveland Browns are constantly rebuilding for next year. But the Browns' actual stadium hasn't been renovated since the team rejoined the NFL as an expansion team in 1999. This season, the franchise finished $125 million worth of renovations to "modernize" FirstEnergy Stadium with new suites, LED video boards, and a new menu of food offerings that feature celebrated local chefs like Michael Symon, according to Cleveland.com.
The timing couldn’t be much better. The Browns completed their first season with more than five wins since 2007 last year and look like they might be able to improve in 2015. Because of all these improvements, Clevelanders saw average non-premium ticket prices jump $15 this season to $69.13, according to Team Marketing Report. That's the league's highest ticket price increase, and the first price increase the Browns have had since 2008. Even so, the Browns still have one of the league's lowest average non-premium ticket prices (#26 out of 30).
Most Expensive Beers
Sorry Oakland Raiders fan. For the second year in a row, O.co Coliseum (formerly Oakland Coliseum) tops the league for the most expensive beer. A 20-ounce cup of beer will set you back a whopping $10.75, which is roughly the same price as a 6-pack of craft beer at your local supermarket.
But Raiders fans have it pretty good when you look at the cost per ounce of beer. At $0.54 per ounce, unit prices for beer at O.co Coliseum aren't much worse than the league average of $0.46. Philadelphia Eagles fans, on the other hand, pay a league-high of $0.71 per ounce, according to Team Marketing Report.
Least Expensive Beers
What do the Panthers, Bengals, Browns, Texans, Giants, Jets, and Seahawks all have in common? At every one of these teams' stadiums, you can score a beer for a measly $5. Bengals fans have an extra reason to toast: a whole 2 more ounces of beer. Only at Paul Brown Stadium can you score 14 ounces (rather than the standard 12 ounces) of beer for $5. Who dey!
Weirdly, parents buying a soda for the little Bengals fan have to shell out $5.25 for a 21-ounce drink, which technically means that a beer is less expensive than a soda, according to data from Team Marketing Report.
Least Expensive Hot Dogs
Every single NFL stadium still offers this one American classic. And while some stadiums mark up their hot dogs at ridiculous prices ($6.75 is steep, Oakland), the Vikings and Seahawks have their priorities right when it comes to selling tubed meat. Hot dogs at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis and CenturyLink Field in Seattle cost just $3.
Not only does CenturyLink Field offer inexpensive franks but also last season the Seahawks offered a gourmet hot dog called The DangeRuss Dog. This foot-long weiner was inspired by Seahawks’ quarterback Russell Wilson’s “love of mac ‘n’ cheese.” The dog was topped with Beecher’s mac ‘n’ cheese, carmelized onions, Sriracha honey hot sauce, diced jalapeno peppers, and crispy “Seahawks Strips” (which are just fried blue and green tortilla chips). Unfortunately this discontinued frankfurter cost a lot more than $3.
Everything about the Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, is expensive. It cost an estimated $1.3 billion to construct, making it one of the most expensive NFL stadiums to build (New York’s MetLife Stadium and San Francisco’s Levi’s Stadium cost an estimated $1.6B and $1.3B, respectively). According to Team Marketing Report, AT&T Stadium is the second-most expensive NFL stadium overall to take a family of four. "America’s Team" also has America’s most expensive parking lot. Fans pay an average of $75 to park at AT&T Stadium, nearly triple the league average of $31.21.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, Detroit Lions fans can expect to pay just $11 on average for parking at Ford Field.