Photo of Denver Broncos fans cheering at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.

Image Credit: Heath Alseike (CC BY 2.0)

Today, the most expensive sport to see in person is the NFL. There are only 8 home games, which makes buying season tickets a fairly easy commitment compared to the other 3 major sports (NBA, MLB, NHL). We often hear of fans complaining about the high price of NFL tickets and how it is too expensive to go to games, etc. Fans, however, cannot point the finger at the NFL if they're unable to afford tickets to see their favorite team in person.

Instead, point the finger at the fan that chooses to pay the outrageous prices to attend an NFL game. Which NFL team would you guess is in the highest demand to see in person? Hopefully you answered "America's team". The Dallas Cowboys. Seemingly everyone loves those Cowboys. In 2009, the average Cowboys ticket costs $160; a league high. The Cowboys also had the highest fan cost index at $759 (how much it costs to take a family of four to a game). The cost of Cowboys tickets simply reflects demand, they have more fans than any other team, even though they haven't made much noise in the playoffs since the mid 90's. Interestingly enough, the Cowboys also have the highest supply of tickets. AT&T Stadium holds more than 100,000 people!

Which team would you guess has the lowest demand for tickets? I guessed the Detroit Lions. Turns out, the best bargains in the NFL can be found in Buffalo and Jacksonville. Not too surprising. The average ticket to a Buffalo Bills game in 2009 was $51. The average ticket to a Jacksonville Jaguars game in 2009 was $57. The fans in Buffalo and Jacksonville just aren't showing up to the stadium to see their teams (who have been mediocre for quiet some time). Unlike many of you, I personally quarrel with fans that complain of the high salaries of not just NFL players, but professional athletes in general. The players are paid large salaries because people like me and you go to the games and purchase the jerseys, pennants, game programs, autographed photos, etc.  It's silly to be angry at the NFL for capitalizing on your demand.

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