One of the perpetual complaints about Redskins games at FedEx Field is that they cost too much. The price of everything from the tickets to the parking to the beer and hot dogs come under fire throughout the NFL season (although the objections are diminished somewhat when the team is doing well as is the case this year).
No doubt about it, it is costly to go to a Redskins game, but the NFL is an expensive proposition these days. The cost of attending a game at FedEx Field is slightly higher than the national average but relatively low when consider that the Washington area is among the most affluent in the country.
According to research by Mint.com, a personal finance website, the average cost of attending an NFL game for a family of four is $427.42. This included an average price of $77.36 per ticket, $25.92 for parking, $4.03 for a game program, $7.13 per beer, $4.40 per soft drink, $4.78 per hot dog, and $16.55 per adjustable hat.
It costs $441.43 for a family of four to attend a Redskins game, about 3.3 percent more than the average. The cost of going to a game at FedEx Field is within range of the cost in cities like Indianapolis ($452.34), San Francisco ($440.56), and San Diego ($435.20).
There are two cities where the cost of taking that family to the game exceeds $600, or $150 per person. Seeing the Jets at Met Life Stadium sets you back $629.90 (47.4 percent more than the average) and taking the family to Jerry World in Dallas costs $613.80.
The numbers provided by Mint.com do not include the cost of personal seat licenses (PSLs) that some stadiums charge for the right to buy season tickets. It would be tricky to try to calculate them into the equation, since they are not a factor in single-game ticket sales and since PSLs can be resold they are not a sunk cost when you buy the season tickets. Still, a PSL can add $5,000 to $35,000 per seat to the total cost of being a fan. The Redskins do not have PSLs. There is some sort of PSL requirement in Dallas, the Meadowlands (Jets and Giants), Cleveland, Charlotte, Nashville, Philadelphia, Cincinnati, Seattle, Houston, St. Louis and Pittsburgh.
The cost of seeing the Redskins is a relative bargain when you consider that the Washington area has the second-highest income level in the country behind the San Francisco area. According to the Census Bureau, the median household income in the Washington-Baltimore area is $57,291. If the mythical family of four at that income level gets Redskins season tickets and attends all 10 games (eight regular season plus two preseason), they will spend $4,414 or 7.7 percent of their income. In only seven other NFL cities does attending a season of NFL games set a family back a lower percentage of its income.
The smallest bites out of family income come in Oakland (5.9 percent), San Francisco (7.0) and Minneapolis-St. Paul (7.3). There are nine NFL cities where a season of attendance costs more than 10 percent of the median family income — Tampa, Miami, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Boston, New York (Giants and Jets), New Orleans and Dallas, which has the dubious honor of topping this ranking at 12.9 percent of household income. (Wait, I thought the most expensive was supposed to be the best.)
This knowledge may provide solace when you are writing out a check equal to a few months’ mortgage payments for your season tickets or getting no change back from your $20 bill when you buy a couple of beers.
Well, maybe not. But it could be worse. You could be in Dallas.
COST OF BEING A FAN
Average cost of attending 10-game NFL season as part of the home city’s median household income. Teams with PSL programs are marked with *; PSL costs are not included in the cost figures.
Source: Mint.com and U. S. Census Bureau