One of the most-used buzzwords in today’s National Football League is “parity.” Salary caps and revenue sharing have ensured that every team, in theory, can compete for Super Bowls. It’s the most American of ideals (well, other than the revenue sharing and whatnot - socialism!); with gumption and hard work, any team - even the Cardinals! - can reach the pinnacle of the sport.
(What is Jerry Jones smoking?)
At least, that’s the storyline the NFL wants you to believe. The truth is that not every NFL team is created equal, and some teams have a hell of a lot more cash than others. In Jacksonville, the recession has wiped out their fans so badly they can’t even fill the stadium or get on local TV. Every team manages differently in these troubled times. Take the Cowboys, in comparison. They’ve reacted to the worst economy in decades by…jacking up ticket prices 90% over last year. And a happy recession to you too.
Team Marketing Report has released their annual Fan Cost Index report, ranking teams in all sports by cost of attendance. According to the report,
The Fan Cost Index™ comprises the prices of four (4) average-price tickets, two (2) small draft beers, four (4) small soft drinks, four (4) regular-size hot dogs, parking for one (1) car, two (2) game programs and two (2) least-expensive, adult-size adjustable caps. Costs were determined by telephone calls with representatives of the teams, venues and concessionaires. Identical questions were asked all interviews.
Down at the bottom? Buffalo Bills, at a FCI of $303.96. Not exactly pocket change, especially in Buffalo, but it’s not mortgage-the-house expensive, either. And how does that compare to our money-loving friends down in Dallas, who have a wee little billion-dollar mortgage of their own to pay off? $758.58, which a 74% increase over last year in the old place. What recession? You’ve gotta really love your little rugrats if you’re going to treat them to a Cowboys game.
Tickets themselves are up, as noted earlier, a whopping 90% over last year, with the average ticket jumping to $159.65. The New England Patriots have the second-most expensive ticket in the land with the average ducat running $117.89. Unless the new Cowboys Stadium experience comes with coming from behind for a happy ending (and I may or may not be talking about football at this point), it’s hard to imagine a Cowboys game being worth $40 more than a Pats game. After all, we’re coming up on 15 years since the richest team in all the land has actually won a Super Bowl.