The Cost of Attending an NFL Game Has Risen around 4x the Rate of Inflation Over the Last 30 Years

nfl ticket prices vs inflation

If it seems like NFL ticket prices have skyrocketed over the years, it’s not your imagination. While just about every consumer good has gotten more expensive over time, few items have risen in price as drastically as NFL tickets.

If the cost of NFL tickets had increased consistently with the U.S. inflation rate over the last 30 years, fans would be paying about $57.70 on average for a single ticket, and it would cost around $300 to take a family of 4 to a game while enjoying some concessions.

But as we all know, that’s certainly not the case.

According to SeatGeek, the average NFL ticket now goes for $151 in 2022, compared to just $27.32 back in 1992.

While SeatGeek is a ticket reseller and that might influence their data slightly, Team Marketing Report’s annual FanCostIndex verified the trend of high prices when it found that the price of taking a family of 4 to an NFL game in 2021 was $568.18 (data isn’t available yet for 2022). 30 years ago it only cost $151.55 to take that same family of 4 to a game.

Regardless of which pricing index you use, the fact is the cost of attending an NFL game has risen between 2.8-4.1 times the rate of inflation over the last 30 years.

While the league did experience 3 consecutive years of decline in average per-game attendance from 2017-2019, there was an uptick in attendance last year over the pre-pandemic 2019 season. In all, 18.29 million fans attended an NFL game in 2021.

So, despite the rapidly increasing costs of going to a game thanks to bigger athlete contracts, expensive new stadiums, and high demand, fans have still been attending in droves. After all, there’s nothing like the in-person experience of going to a pro football game.

But with the current uncertain economic climate and the fact that wages haven’t been keeping up with inflation, many Americans are beginning to spend less on unnecessary goods, which could lead to another dip in attendance for the upcoming 2022 NFL season. For the price of taking a family to a game, you can afford nearly a full season’s worth of a subscription to a live streaming service that will let you stream NFL games and still have money left over.

Only time will tell if more fans opt to skip going to the stadium and watch the games at home this season.

The 2022 NFL season kicks off on Thursday, September 8th when the Buffalo Bills visit the Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams in what’s sure to draw a max capacity crowd. The game will air on NBC at 8:20 pm ET (see the NFL TV schedule for more info).

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