Stock photo of empty stadium seats. 

Owning season tickets for your favorite NHL, NFL, NBA or MLB teams are a common dream for many fans and their families. Particularly with NFL fans, we've all heard stories of families that have had season tickets and the exact same seats passed down through a number of generations. I've even met a sports fan in Detroit that is a season ticket holder for the city's four professional teams. However, the stark reality for many of us is we either just don't have the money to purchase season tickets or the time to justify the purchase. Is becoming a season ticket holder worth the hassle?

It depends. Becoming a season ticket holder for an NFL team makes the most sense compared to the other three leagues. Home games take place over only eight Sundays each year (plus those two meaningless preseason games they make you purchase). Owning NFL season tickets also gives fans the opportunity to make an entire day out of the outing via tailgating. Some NFL franchises will include the tailgate pass with your purchase of season tickets or you may have to purchase one separately if you want one. At Nissan Stadium (Tennessee Titans), for example, tailgating is only available for season ticket holders. 

Unfortunately, many NFL franchises make their fans purchase personal seat licenses or "PSL's", which are according to Forbes, one of the riskiest investments an NFL fan could make. Personal seat licenses are an upfront fee the team requires you to pay just to have the option of purchasing season tickets. In fact, you're obligated to purchase season tickets every single season if own the license or until you're able to sell the license. During years when your team sucks and no one wants to purchase season tickets, you're going to have a very tough time getting rid of the license. However, many professional sports teams pamper their season ticket holders as you'll see in the video below.

It's not uncommon for organizations to throw luncheons and similar events for season ticket holders. Many organizations will also have meet and greet events with the players and coaches, exclusively for season ticket holders. Some stadiums and arenas will have private entrances for season ticket holders only which eliminates a lot of the headache endured when entering the venue. Other perks often include free tours of the venue and locker room on non game days or discounts at the team store for the duration of the entire season.  

Another perk that goes widely unrecognized is the amount of friends that you make when you're a season ticket holder. When you become a familiar face among those that you share a common interest with, you make connections. And when you're a season ticket holder and tailgater for many years, you form bonds with people you'll never forget. 

The primary downside to becoming a season ticket holder has lessened over the years and that is needing to get rid of your tickets when you can't attend games. With websites like Stubhub and Ticketmaster's Ticket Exchanges, fans now have the ability to unload their tickets and make their money back within minutes. These websites and apps are especially helpful for fans that purchase Major League Baseball season tickets where it is virtually impossible to attend all 81 regular season home games during a season. Other common downsides include the multiple deposits you're sometimes asked to pay or the frequent solicitation phone calls from the team's ticket office. Historical data also suggests that ticket prices for a team are more likely to increase than decrease, especially in a day and age when brand new stadiums and arenas are being constructed frequently.

Stock photo of a baseball fan holding a ticket stub to a San Francisco Giants game at AT&T Park.

Image Credit: Jondoeforty1 - Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Should you become a season ticket holder? For Major League Baseball, the NBA and NHL, we wouldn't suggest it to the average fan. Attending games for the entire season for these leagues is a huge time commitment and financial burden. You're much better off purchasing 5 game ticket plans, 10 game ticket plans, etc. Smaller ticket plans allow the fan to choose exactly which games they want to attend and don't require as much time and money. Some NFL teams will have partial season ticket plans as well. Purchasing season tickets for your favorite NFL team makes much more sense but only if you're OK with the idea of not being able to unload your personal seat license (PSL) in the near future. If you're a fan of teams like the Green Bay Packers or Pittsburgh Steelers which have extensive season ticket waiting lists, it would be wise to go ahead and put down your deposit and hope that you get a call from the ticket office over the next few years. 


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