NFL FAN COST INDEX (TM) 2012
JON GREENBERG, September 6, 2012
The New England Patriots failed to win the Super Bowl last year, losing to the New York Giants for the second time in the past five years.
For the second straight season, the Patriots lost to the other team that plays in New Jersey for the highest average ticket price in the 2012 Fan Cost Index (TM) rankings.
Maybe that's one contest in which the Patriots are comfortable coming in second.
The Jets lowered some ticket prices this year, but their average, non-premium ticket is still tops in the NFL at $117.94. The Patriots are second at $117.84. Yes, it was that close.
The average NFL ticket is $78.38, a 2.5 percent increase from last season, according to the exclusive FCI (TM) survey. The average FCI, the cost for a family of four to attend a game, is $443.93, a 3.9 percent increase.
The top five teams as ranked by the FCI formula all have ticket averages of more than $110. The Chicago Bears have the biggest percentage increase at 9.2 percent, according to TMR research, and now have an average ticket of $110.91.
While the Bears and Jets missed the playoffs, the Super Bowl champion New York Giants kept prices stagnant, with an average of $111.69.
The Bears, who finished 8-8 last season and have the smallest seating capacity in the NFL, also drastically changed their single-game ticket pricing structure, essentially making each single-game ticket $25 more expensive than a season ticket. Previously, all tickets were priced the same. Chicago has raised ticket prices in nine of the last 10 years.
The Dallas Cowboys are atop the FCI rankings at $634.78, a 3.4 percent increase from last season, and nearly $200 higher than the league FCI average.
Dallas' average ticket price remained flat at $110.20.
The FCI number is comprised of four non-premium tickets, two beers, four soft drinks, four hot dogs, parking, two programs and two adult-size hats. Premium tickets (club seats) are calculated but not included in this average.
The Cleveland Browns have the cheapest average ticket at $54.20, while the Jacksonville Jaguars provide the cheapest option to take a family of four at $342.70, just $1.10 cheaper than Cleveland.
While the Patriots are always high atop the ticket rankings, it should be noted the Patriots never instituted personal seat licenses when they opened Gillette Stadium. Other teams charge season-ticket holders an exorbitant amount for their seats as a means to finance stadiums or stadium improvements.
With a new merchandise deal in place, hat prices were up around the league to an average of $21.38. (TMR only used full-price hats in research, and did not include sale priced Reebok hats.)
The average beer is up 15 cents from last year at $7.28. Interestingly, only two teams are reporting $5 beers and both are in Ohio. The Cleveland Browns have limited stands selling a $5 "small draft beer," while the Cincinnati Bengals started selling 12-ounce cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon for the same price. San Diego also serves a 12-ounce $5 beer, but only before kickoff.
During the game, the Chargers' cheapest beer is $9, which is tied with Buffalo at the top of the beer rankings.
After a lockout-threatened 2011 saw prices go up 1.1 percent, NFL teams were still pretty cautious as a whole in 2012. Last season, nine teams raised prices by 1 percent or higher. In 2012, that number was 10.
In 2011, two teams had decreases of more than 1 percent. In 2012, there were six such teams.
NFL attendance was down slightly in 2011, and several reports noted it has dropped more than 4.5 percent since 2007. Of the six teams with decreased averages, only two, Cincinnati and Buffalo, had lower attendance in 2011.
In the NFC North, three of the four teams increased average ticket prices: The Bears (9.2 percent), Detroit Lions (8.3) and the Green Bay Packers (5 percent). All three teams are considered playoff contenders, with Green Bay a Super Bowl favorite.
The premium average ticket, which includes the pricey club seats but not luxury suites, went up 0.6 percent to 243.70. The Patriots still have the top premium ticket at $566.67, with premium seats selling between $525 and $800. The Giants are second in the premium category at $464.75.
Team Marketing Report is expanding its research with a fan-fueled iPhone application called the Fan Cost Experience (TM). Past FCI reports and related information can now be found at fancostexperience.com. Check this site during the season for regular updates.