The price of watching sports live is too damn high. If you disagree, you either have a great deal of money or don’t buy your own tickets. If either of these is the case, kudos to you, but for the rest of us, the prices are through the roof and in some cases a tad insulting. Ticket prices, in conjunction with the price of a snack, beer (or soft drink) make regularly attending a financial nuisance.
Depending on the sport, tickets may well be over a hundred dollars (USD) and in some cases over a couple hundred. Adding beer, usually around seven or eight dollars for a small cup (not a pint) and a five dollar hot dog, and snacks for any kids tagging along, it’s more money than many make in a day and if one really splurges, a weeks pay can be tossed away in a matter of a couple of hours, watching one’s team suffer a loss, adding to the devastation.
Looking at it from another angle, here in Canada, a round of golf at a nice course can cost around $80-$100. Leave it to professional sports to make golf seem like an economically sensible pass time. With that said, however, there is always the option of the “nosebleed” section, where one can get a bargain on seat price but may have to deal with drunk/violent fans, an hour trip to actually leave the stadium at the end of the event and worst of all, poor visibility.
Here are some of the worst offending in terms of ridiculous seating prices at professional sporting events. We listed a few from each of North America’s favorite games, including the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL and of course MLS. The prices listed are for the average for a single ticket, so this will be the three most expensive teams to see live for each of the aforementioned sports. For some of these sports, 2014 numbers are used, as they are not in season and ticket prices are either not available or unreliable. Finally, obviously these tickets vary week to week, so no number is ever exact, and yes, all numbers are secondary market.
MLS: Three Most Expensive
New York FC: 87.21
This being their first year in the league, the team isn’t experiencing great success and is currently sixteenth overall and seventh in the Eastern Conference. With that being said, they are averaging about 30,000 people at each game and putting on an entertaining show. The tickets, however, are third most expensive in the league. This should come as no surprise because everything in New York is pretty damned expensive. Don’t believe me? Visit the place then. Helping their attendance is forward David Villa, who has eight of the team’s twenty goals on the season.
Houston Dynamo: $94.74
In their tenth year in the leaguem the Houston Dynamo have the second most expensive secondary market tickets in Major League Soccer; at just under $95.00. Their 2014 season was alright, but finishing fourth in the conference and ninth overall was not what the fans looked for, especially after losing in the finals back in 2011 and 2012. It has been an unsuccessful couple of years and 2015 is not treating them much better, as they are second last in the Western Conference.
American Will Bruin and English Giles Barnes are currently the leading scorers for the team with seven and six goals apiece; tied for the fourth and fifth highest totals at this point in the season. Unfortunately, the team is looking rough on defense, as one of three teams in the West who are negative for goal differential.
Seattle Sounders: $129.46
Everything on the West Coast is damn expensive, but most of them have gotten over it. They get paid a minimum of $15.00 per hour in the state, so everything else seems to have followed suit in terms of price and the soccer team’s tickets are just one example. Funny how that works. As of right now, the fans are happy as the Sounders are tied with the Vancouver Whitecaps for first in the Western Conference. Still, however, their tickets are thirty dollars more expensive than in Houston.
MLB: Three Most Expensive
Chicago Cubs: $112.69
As a general rule, baseball tickets are among the lowest in the world of North American sports. With that said, buying on the primary market (directly from teams) costs an average of about $30.00, while the secondary involves roughly a threefold increase. In short, the secondary market prices are nothing short of highway robbery. There is a special place in hell for secondary resellers, although, as any economist who knows sports will tell you, they do actually benefit the business.
While for a few years, the Toronto Blue Jays led the secondary market in terms of prices, but their price dropped around the start of the 2015 season and they now occupy fourth spot. The Cubs are in third this year in terms of ticket prices and currently third as well in the standings for the National League Central division.
Detroit Tigers: $116.68
As per usual, the Detroit Tigers cost quite a bit to see on the secondary market. They are one of those teams that has a significant fan base to begin with, but they’re also situated closer to the Canadian border, where plenty of fans like to visit the U.S. for a day, which drives up demand slightly. A bigger issue than the large fan base, however, is that the Tigers made some moves in the offseason, such as the acquisition of Yoenis Cespedes, that excited fans, while they still trot out Miguel Cabrera, one of the best players in baseball. They have disappointed to an extent, as fans hoped for something more than third in the American League Central, where they currently sit.
Boston Red Sox: $120.27
Seeing the Red Sox at Fenway is usually one of the more expensive tickets in the league but it is down from about $140.00 in 2014. The New York Yankees were just a dollar cheaper last year, but many attributed that to millions of extra fans trying to see Derek Jeter play in the pinstripes one more time.
This year, the Red Sox started the season as the most expensive home ticket to purchase and have pretty much stayed that way until this point, despite the fact that they are being dragged around the bottom of the American League East.
NBA: Three Most Expensive
Chicago Bulls: $199
Whether you like the Bears, Blackhawks, Cubs or Bulls, Chicago is a heck of a sports city and while these franchises all go through rough times, the fans remember the past and keep showing up. It helps that more often than not, the teams are at least watchable.
In the Central Division of the Eastern Conference, the Bulls ended up second, coming third overall in the conference in the 2014-2015 season. Jimmy Butler and Derrick Rose led the team in average points per game, as many assumed they would, and while they lost in the conference semis to the Cleveland Cavaliers, the fans still got their money’s worth, getting to see a good overall season of ball.
Cleveland Cavaliers: $258
If you have a guy names LeBron James on your team, tickets will be more costly. He’s probably the greatest in the game right now, and some are claiming he’e the greatest ever. No matter where you stand on these debates, he can sure draw a crowd. The team had a great year but were unable to best the Golden State Warriors after making it to the league finals.
Golden State Warriors: $327
For fans of the Cleveland Cavaliers and LeBron James, get a good laugh in here, because the only thing you can laugh at Warriors’ fans about is the fact that they pay more for tickets. The Warriors killed it all year, losing just 15 games and of course, winning the NBA Finals in six games. While they may not have had the flashiest team out there, those starters, most notably Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, were consistent and earned their championship.
NHL: Three Most Expensive
Chicago Blackhawks: $275.65
In the NHL, there are just six Canadian teams and five of them are among the six most expensive teams to watch. This can be blamed squarely on the economy, which is routinely mutilated and left in the gutter by the incompetent and over-involved Canadian government.
The most expensive American team to watch in the league is the Chicago Blackhawks. Given recent news (they won the Stanley Cup, for those who missed it) that’s money well spent! They are the league’s current dynasty and as comes with the territory, tickets are expensive.
Vancouver Canucks: $282.58
So for a fun fact of the day, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada has one of the most absurdly overpriced real estate markets on the face of the Earth. In much the same way their hockey team gouges their fans. As was expected in the 2014-2015 season, the Sedin brothers racked up stats that included over seventy points and veteran Radim Vrbata tacked up a pile too. The team looked solid throughout the season but was knocked out of the playoffs in the first round, losing 4-2 to the Calgary Flames.
Toronto Maple Leafs: $373.50
I used to be a Leafs fan but I’m okay now. In all seriousness, they are the most profitable team in the NHL, but goodness gracious, they cant seem to put together a winning season to save their lives. Oh wait, remember when they almost beat the Boston Bruins in the playoffs a couple of years ago? Yeah, that was a pretty painful almost.
It simply doesn’t matter how much money these guys make, they just don’t seem able to put a decent team together. I’d say God hates Leafs fans but I actually think the organisation does. One can say many things about this nauseating Canadian economy, but it’s a combination of that, the demand and the actual team that have led to such obscene prices to watch Dion Phaneuf fall down.
NFL: Three Most Expensive
San Francisco 49ers: $388.18
It’s too bad that the team looked poor in 2014 because the 49ers sure did gouge their fans. They’re the most popular team in California and even before the recent minimum wage hike, prices were high everywhere, for everything. Yes, I mentioned the minimum wage hike, it’s a tactic used by vote-hungry politicians to trick easily mislead voters.
Now back to football. Look for the 49ers to have slightly cheaper tickets in 2015, as they have adopted an interesting tactic of not actually fielding a defense this year. This will likely have some Californians shrugging their shoulders and putting on black and silver face paint…or baby blue and yellow. For those of you who got lost for a second there, the team is going to be awful this year and ticket prices may drop significantly. But still, I need to remain respectful, Colin Kaepernick’s arm tattoos do look great while throwing interceptions.
New England Patriots: $414.22
Number two are the New England Patriots; the NFL’s current dynasty and possibly the most vilified team in sports today. One would think that with ticket prices so high it would be possible to buy a machine that would measure air pressure in footballs. But then again, maybe not. Sorry Patriots fans, I could actually care less about that controversy; you have the best team in football, but a joke has to be made. While regular season average prices are fluctuating and difficult to calculate now, two months before the season, it will be interesting to see whether the Patriots end up with the most expensive tickets during the 2015 season.
Seattle Seahawks: $452.34
Well there it is, the Seattle Seahawks were the most expensive NFL team to see at home in 2014 and were the most expensive team overall in North America. They likely will be in 2015, but thus far it is unclear whether the Super Bowl victors will take that crown too this season. Whether you want to watch Marshawn Lynch eat Skittles and run people over, Richard Sherman talk trash and make picks or whether you just want to see Russell Wilson’s baby-face smile, you better sell your car and get a part time job. Look at it this way, everything on the West Coast is expensive, so obviously a winning team with charismatic (jury’s still out on whether Lynch is charismatic) players and a bandwagon fan base is going to have ticket prices through the roof.
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