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The Real Cost of Going to a Sporting Event

Published June 5, 2014

the cost of going to a sports gameTaking the family to the game is a great way to have fun while spending some quality time together. However, while you go for the competition, camaraderie, and to root for your favorite team, you may not realize just how expensive sporting events can actually be. So, before you plan your next big outing, take a look at how a few hidden expenses can really add up.

Ticket Prices

Ticket prices aren’t cheap, and if you’re planning on taking the whole family, well, that’s another expense you need to account for. You could spend as much as $100 or more on ticket prices, depending on how many people you plan to bring with you. And that’s the price you pay before you even go to the event!

Football games are known to be more expensive, with an average ticket sometimes costing over $80.00. Basketball tickets are usually a bit cheaper, with average prices around $30-50 a ticket, and average baseball tickets usually fall between $20-40. (Of course these are rough numbers; the average ticket price varies depending on the popularity of the team, venue size, how far you’re planning to sit, etc.)

Gas and Parking Prices

In addition to the price of admission, you should also keep in mind how much it’ll cost to drive to the event, as well as whether or not you have to pay for parking once you get there. Most sporting venues charge extra for parking, as this gives the venue hosting the event a chance to make additional money. Since a lot of parking meters only take cash, be sure to plan ahead and bring a few extra dollars just in case.

Concessions

Look, we get it: Eating a juicy hot dog, having a nice beer, or enjoying an ice cold soda while you watch the game is all part of the fun. It’s no secret that concessions at sporting events are notoriously overpriced. And while two thirds of a concession’s revenues come from stadium staples like hot dogs and boiled peanuts, it’s the drinks—with profit margins up to 90%—that are by far the most expensive.

Unfortunately, many stadiums don’t allow any outside food and beverages.
So, if you are thirsty, hungry, or just want a snack while you watch the game, you’re pretty much forced to buy overpriced food from the overpriced concessions stands.

Memorabilia and Fan Merchandise

Planning on buying a souvenir at the game? Since sports memorabilia is one of the biggest ways a team makes its money, you’re sure to encounter dozens of vendors selling t-shirts, hats, bumper stickers, pens, souvenir game balls, and other merchandise to avid fans like yourself.

Since sports memorabilia is branded, it’s definitely going to cost more. So if you’re planning on buying a little souvenir at the game, plan ahead by being prepared to pay a little extra.

Hotel Rooms

Thousands of people travel to attend national sporting tournaments and conference games all year round. If you are lucky enough to get tickets to these national events, you may also need to pay for a hotel room or two for you and your family.

Unfortunately, most hotels near popular sporting events often raise their prices during peak times. When you are determined to attend and need to reserve accommodations, you should take this added expense into consideration while you are budgeting for the trip.

A Sample Breakdown:

In order to see just how much these extra expenses add up, take a look at this infographic. The graphic added up the average cost of different sporting events (including ticket prices and buying both food and beverages) for a family of four.

Here are the results:

Football game: $443.92
Hockey game: $354.82
Basketball game: $301.06
Baseball game: $207.68

While soaking up the sights and sounds of the game is all part of the fun, it’s important to keep in mind how much these outings actually cost. Plan ahead, and bring a set amount of money with you. That way you’ll be able to enjoy yourself while sticking to a budget.

Been to a game recently? How much did you end up spending? We’d love to hear from you! Share your experience in the comments section below.

Maria Rivera

Maria Rivera

Maria has spent the last 13 years helping people overcome their financial hardships. She currently manages CreditGuard of America’s credit counselors and helps prepare individuals who are seeking their credit counseling certification. A resident of Boca Raton, Florida, Maria is always on the lookout for great new recipes and beauty tips. She's also a self-admitted pop culture junkie.
Maria Rivera

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