ASHBURN, Va. (AP) - As salaries and new stadiums continue to rise, so does the cost of taking the family to an NFL game.
A family of four will pay an average of $221.17 to see the pros in person this season, according to a survey by Team Marketing Report, a sports industry newsletter.
That's a 6 percent increase over last season, a trend that shows no signs of slowing.
"Even at these prices, we haven't seen any resistance with fans," Team Marketing Report editor Sean Brenner said Friday. "You look at most of the stadiums in the NFL, and in particular the ones with higher priced tickets, and there's some basic economics at work - supply and demand - driving prices."
The league's new most expensive team to watch, the Washington Redskins, is a good case in point. The team is raising ticket prices 48.3 percent this year as it moves from the smallest facility in the league, 56,454-seat RFK Stadium, to the new, $175 million, 80,116-seat Jack Kent Cooke Stadium in Landover, Md.
The average cost for a general admission seat - not including club seats or luxury boxes - at the new stadium is $52.92, which rockets the Redskins from 13th place to No. 1 in the league. Yet, with 40,000 people on the season ticket waiting list, there was never any doubt that the team would sell out for the season well before the inaugural home game Sept. 14.
The Redskins also will have the NFL's highest "fan cost index" - an estimate of the cost for a family of four to attend a game, purchase four hot dogs and small sodas, two small beers, two programs, two caps and parking. The Redskins' index is $275.67, a 35 percent jump from last year.
In a statement, the Redskins attributed part of their price increase to a 10 percent admissions tax payable to Prince George's County, Md., compared to the 5 percent tax the team paid to the District of Columbia. The team said that when tickets are not included, its fan cost index ranks behind teams such as Carolina, Baltimore, Philadelphia and the two New York teams.
The NFL's average ticket price this year is $38.09, an increase of 6.4 percent. Only one team, Seattle, significantly lowered its prices this year, with new owner Paul Allen overseeing an average decrease of 4.4 percent.
"Something that was somewhat surprising to us, 40 percent of the seats included in our survey cost $40 or more," Brenner said. "Four years ago, in 1993, the percent of tickets $40 or more was only 1.8 percent."
Oakland, which extensively upgraded its stadium after the Raiders moved back from Los Angeles, has the second-highest average ticket price at $51.41. San Francisco, Philadelphia and Dallas round out the top five.
The cheapest average ticket price belongs to the New York Jets at $30.16. The New York Giants, who play in the same stadium, are ninth at $40.59, something Brenner attributes to the Giants' "richer tradition of football history."
Average ticket prices charged for NFL games at the 30 home sites over the past two seasons:
x-Tennessee played as the Houston Oilers in 1996.
Source: Team Marketing Report
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