By Andres Trujillo
Ask any sports fan what it’s like holding a ticket to a home game to their favorite sports team and they’ll tell you there’s no denying the escape that a live sporting event can provide.
But that feeling doesn’t come cheap.
Major American sports rake in billions of dollars in revenue every year.
According to the Sports Business Daily the NFL’s projected revenue was more than $12 billion in 2015. And for the ninth straight year the Dallas Cowboys lead the NFL in individual team revenue by earning $620 million, which according to Forbes, is $125 million more than any other football team in 2015.
This incredible amount of revenue makes the Dallas Cowboys the second most valuable sports team in the world, second only to Real Madrid Football Club on Forbes Top 10 Most Valuable Sports Teams Rankings.
But does the focus on revenue and finding new ways to make money exclude the average, everyday fan from enjoying a game without taking their wallet to task?
Few things can bring people together like a sporting match, so it’s easy to understand why millions of people pour into stadiums around the world or huddle around television screens, all the while buying an added sense of relief in the form of beer, concessions and souvenirs at whatever price sports organizations deem sufficient to meet revenue goals.
The most expensive ticket in the NFL belongs to the New York Giants at an average ticket cost of $123.40, but not far behind from the Giants are the Dallas Cowboys single game tickets, which cost an average of $110.20.
“I’m a die-hard Dallas Cowboys fan,” said Michael Lozano, a senior at the University of North Texas. “Yet, I can’t go and support them as much as I want because I just can’t afford the price of tickets these days.”
Mr. Lozano isn’t the only one. Most of the Cowboys fans interviewed for this story said they would not be able to afford two tickets for a Cowboy’s home game unless they wanted to stand in the Party Pass area, which costs $29 per person.
But that price doesn’t factor in a few other variables like parking and concessions, which could easily push the cost of attending a game to $100 or $150 before the end of the first half of a game.
It also doesn’t factor the cost for the seat you are sitting in which Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys want some fans to pay for as well.
When Jones’s billion-dollar cathedral of opulence opened in 2009, 13 other teams in the NFL were selling their fans the rights to their seats. So if you are a wealthy individual or a corporate sponsor, you can buy your own Personal Seat License (PSL) for the next 30 years and get first dibs on home game tickets. The caveat? A PSL at AT&T stadium can cost anywhere from $16,000 to $50,000 before adding a yearly cost of $3,400 per year for the tickets.
But don’t worry, because according to article published by Bleacher Report in 2009, The Dallas Cowboys would be happy to help you pay for all of this by setting you up with a $16,000 loan or a $50,000 loan with eight percent interest over 30 years similar to mortgage payments people make for their homes. So throughout the duration of that 30-year period a buyer may actually pay $118,660 for seats to a football game over a 30-year period and that’s only if the ticket prices never go up during those 30 NFL seasons.
Scott Warren, a season-ticket holder of the Dallas Cowboys since 1994, said that he and eight of his friends paid $45,000 in PSL fees, the bulk of which was financed through the Dallas Cowboys Season Ticket Department.
But does the use of PSL services mean some fans are being phased out?
Generally speaking, Warren doesn’t think so.
“I think the majority of folks that want to go see a game will pay what they have to in order to see a professional football game especially if it is their favorite team,” Warren said.
That, it seems, is what NFL teams are banking on.
By providing its fans with state-of-the-art amenities on game day and plenty of entertainment, the Dallas Cowboys have “boosted the profile of the North Texas region as an entertainment and sports destination,” said Richard Dalrymple, VP of Public Relations and Communication with the Dallas Cowboys.
Dalrymple also said the Cowboys have made plenty of room for fans without PSLs.
“Through single game sales for every game and party pass opportunities, we have made a commitment to accommodate all economic levels of our fan base,” Dalrymple said.
Dalrymple also said that the Dallas Cowboys set aside a portion of its seats for sale on an individual game basis, which is something that not many NFL teams are doing. He added that having different price points is just part of the operational structure of any business.
By the end of 2017, more than half of the franchises in the NFL will be selling seat licenses at their stadiums.
It appears, however, that the revolutionary spirit of fighting back costs that seem unjust traveled back across the pond. In early January, the board of Liverpool Football Club of England decided to raise match day prices from £59 to £77 ($84 to $109) and their season ticket prices from £869 to £1,029 ($1236 to $1464) for the 2016-17 season.
The Liverpool faithful hated this plan, so they began to protest. This led to a 10,000 fan walk-out in February during a game against Sunderland that drew international attention.
They showed the ownership group that they would not tolerate any increase in ticket prices. After all of the bad publicity the protests had provided, Fenway Sports, which also own the Boston Red Sox, decided to freeze all prices for the next two seasons.
According to an annual study by BBC Sport, the average price of the cheapest Premier League ticket was £30.68 ($43.67) is still much more affordable compared to the $84.70-average cost to attend an American Football game.
But with the average ticket price for a seat at an NFL home game costing over $100, a family of four could end up spending over $400 to watch their favorite team play on any given Sunday. It might be better to just order in a couple of pizzas and avoid the traffic.
(Photo Caption: Fans wave as the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds fly over the stadium during the pregame ceremony. Source: Wikipedia)
Andres Trujillo is a journalism senior at the University of North Texas. He is currently an editorial intern for Latina Lista.