Fan Cost Index chart.

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The fan cost index (FCI) is a sports statistic that has been around for several years now. Very few sports fans will be able to tell you what the fan cost index entails and how it affects the average sports fan. But don't you worry because our staff is going to break the term down to make it easy to understand. 

To put it simply, the fan cost index is the total cost of taking a family of four to a sporting event and in most cases, professional sporting events. So what does a family of four purchase when they go to a stadium or arena? The possibilities are endless really because nearly every sports venue has restaurants, bars, gift shops, etc. But according to the Team Marketing Report, the fan cost index takes into account the following purchases by a family of four.

  • Four tickets (calculated with average ticket prices for that venue)
  • Four small soft drinks
  • Two small beers
  • Four hot dogs
  • Two game programs
  • Parking
  • Two adult-size caps (the least expensive)

Every stadium will vary in how they rank on the fan cost index but you can typically bet on the franchise with the highest ticket prices to also have the highest fan cost index. So which franchises were the highest on the list for the 2011 season?



How To Beat The Fan Cost Index

  • Purchase upper level seating. Those seats will fall well below the venue's average ticket price.
  • If the stadium you're going to allows fans to bring food or drinks thru the gates, take advantage. Most Major League ballparks allow fans to bring in food and drinks as long as they're in preapproved containers.
  • Take the family out to a dinner before the game;it's still going to be cheaper than buying food on the inside. Surely they can go two or three hours without eating or drinking unless it's a day baseball game.
  • Do not purchase alcohol. Alcohol is extremely overpriced at most professional sports stadiums.
  • Some stadiums, for example, Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, has one concession where $1 hot dogs are sold. I would recommend purchasing food and drink items specifically from that location if such a place exists at the stadium you're visiting.
  • Buy just one game program. Who buys two game programs? Everyone can split time looking at it. Some stadiums and arenas even give game programs away for free before the game.
  • If you're watching a professional team, chances are you're in a big city with public transportation. Why deal with the headache of parking? Ride the trolley, subway, taxi or use Uber to get to the stadium. 
  • Chances are, you already have your team's hat on when you walk into the stadium. Do you really need another one?

Most importantly, remember that the fans control the pricing of the market. If you don't like it that beers are $8, tickets are $300, don't pay it. As long as the fans continue to purchase items at market price, teams will continue to raise their prices.