The Rising Cost of Being an NFL Fan
Summary: Do NFL season and game ticket prices mirror what NFL franchises spend in free agency? In times of rising inflation, why do some fans have to pay more?
The Jaguars Splashed the Cash in Free Agency, But Which Fans Will Fork Out the Most on Tickets?
The Jacksonville Jaguars became only the seventh team in NFL history to commit over $100 million in guaranteed salaries via free agency. In fact, the Jacksonville Jaguars are now contractually obliged to pay out $175.3 million to their recruits, according to ESPN. That’s $12.3 million higher than the New England Patriots this time last year who went on a spree – only to fall at the first hurdle in the playoffs.
Despite the Jaguars' lavish spending, Jacksonville still have more than $11 million remaining in their salary cap. In terms of active cap spending, the Jaguars are now the fourth biggest spenders in the NFL behind the Kansas City Chiefs, the Los Angeles Chargers and the biggest spenders, the New York Jets. The latter is currently spending $199.2 million. Bizarrely, the Jets are one of the least successful NFL franchises in the modern era of the sport, last winning the Super Bowl in 1968.
With this in mind, which NFL fans are getting the best value for money in the 2022-23 regular season? We looked at the cheapest home game tickets across the board to find teams who are charging a fair price relative to their chances of success next season.
Raiders Fans Will Spend the Most on Tickets in 2022
Fans of the Las Vegas Raiders, AKA Raider Nation, will be required to fork out the most money if they want to buy tickets to every Raiders home game in the 2022-23 NFL regular season. The average cost of the cheapest tickets at the Raiders’ Allegiant Stadium is set to be $182.59 per game. This equates to $3,104 throughout the entire home game schedule next season.
While this data covers home and away games, cost of tickets at Allegiant Stadium were a huge factor behind the Raiders finishing as the most expensive franchise to watch.
There are a couple of reasons why the Raiders are likely to be the most expensive NFL franchise to follow in the foreseeable future. First, Las Vegas is one of the biggest tourist destinations on the planet, let alone in the US. The Raiders’ owners will be understandably keen to tap into that tourist demographic, many of whom are keen to catch an NFL game in ‘Sin City’.
Second, the 65,000-seater Allegiant Stadium came at a significant cost to the franchise. At $1.9 billion, it is the second most expensive sports stadium on the planet after the SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles.
It's also the second newest NFL stadium, proving to be a stunning addition to the Las Vegas skyline. Although $750 million was provided in public funding, the Raiders had to fund the remaining $1.1 billion – hence the extortionate ticket prices to help cover the multiple loan repayments to the Bank of America and the NFL.
Their sky-high ticket prices are at odds with their active salary cap spending, which is well below the league average, putting the Raiders as the fourth-lowest spenders in player salaries.
The Green Bay Packers will be the second most expensive NFL franchise to watch this coming season, with the cheapest tickets per game weighing in at $144.65 apiece. That’s followed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers ($133.24) and the New England Patriots ($124.94).
Aside from the Raiders, ticket pricing trends are often based on the calibre and likely success of each franchise, i.e. the best teams can demand the highest ticket prices. Although the Raiders may be an outlier, the likes of the Packers, the Buccaneers and the Patriots are all expected to compete for the Super Bowl next season.
The Packers can also lean on the brand of their star quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Meanwhile, the Bucs are also indebted to having legendary quarterback Tom Brady on their roster. The Patriots are also still riding off their immense success during the era of former quarterback star Brady and former head coach Bill Belichick, which saw New England clinch three Super Bowls in five years between 2014-2018.
Jaguars Fans Have the Lowest Total Spend on Tickets in 2022
Although the Jacksonville Jaguars have spent hundreds of millions of dollars on upgrading their roster ahead of the 2022-23 season, their fans will pay the least out of all the NFL franchises to watch their team this year.
With the cheapest tickets starting from just $47, this works out at just $799 for an entire season. This may not be a surprise considering the Jaguars have reached the postseason playoffs just once in the last 15 years.
However, loyal Jags fans will also have to factor in the cost of their team's involvement in next season's NFL International Games. Their 'home' game with Denver Broncos at Wembley Stadium sees the cheapest tickets weigh in at around £60 ($69), but that's small fry compared to the cost of flights and accommodation over to the UK.
Historically, Jacksonville has played the most International Games in London to date, with long-standing rumours that the Jags could relocate their team to the English capital, giving London its first NFL franchise and the first ever overseas NFL franchise.
The trend of ticket prices aligning with the calibre of the NFL franchise seems to continue at the bottom end of the ticket spectrum. During the upcoming NFL season, the Washington Commanders ($48.88) and Houston Texans ($50.41) are the cheapest teams to watch at home. The Commanders haven’t won a Super Bowl since 1991 and the Texans have never won an NFL championship.
If you want to catch an NFL game this season there is a huge disparity in ticket prices, so it's a good idea to find the best value franchises to watch if you're an American Football neutral. It’s clear that successful teams demand big-name players. To afford those big-name players, ticket prices are just one metric that can help a franchise afford these astronomical salaries.
It will be interesting to see how the average ticket prices change in the coming seasons at Jacksonville given the unprecedented sums invested by new coach Doug Pederson to bring “impact players” into the roster that can help the team “right away”.
To calculate the cheapest NFL tickets for the 2022-23 season, we scoured the likes of NFL UK, NFL Deutschland and SeatGeek to discover the best value tickets for each team’s home and away games throughout the 2022-23 NFL regular season.
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