Is going to the game worth it?

Fans at M and T

You know I think I must be nuts. Maybe you are too.

I’m talking about my investment in the NFL.

My tickets are $120 each. Parking is another $40. So at minimum I invest $280 per game. But we all know it goes well beyond that.

There are tailgating and in-stadium food and refreshment expenses. On a smaller scale there’s the time invested in the commute and the accompanying tolls.

Then if you are as unfortunate as me, you have a couple of knuckleheads around you who complain whenever you stand up. And mind you, I only stand up on third down out of respect for the frequent snobbery around me, or if the person in front of me is standing.

During the last home game against the Steelers, there was a portly couple a few rows ahead dressed in all their black and yellow regalia, standing and waving the terrible rag. Of course that triggered a ripple stand up effect in our section.

Our seats are good, lower level on the 45 yard line. But you still don’t see what you see on TV so I’m often looking at the big screens for another look or to watch the path of field goal attempts. I find myself questioning the logic in spending all that money to watch a TV when I’ve got several at home.

And then of course there are the elements. Sometimes it’s too hot; too sunny; too cold or too wet. It’s then that my kick ass HDTV and home seem like a better option.

Speaking of home, the food and beer are better and much less expensive just like the parking; the bathroom lines are shorter; there’s no line to get into the stadium; there are no postgame traffic jams; and perhaps most importantly I see so much more of the game and I don’t even have to stand up to do so!

Ok so you can’t reproduce the atmosphere at the game or the tailgate lots but is that part of the experience so overwhelmingly better than being at home or over at a friend’s house that I’m willing to pay $8 for bad beer or miss exciting plays while waiting for the guy in front of me to stop shaking it?

For some I suppose that answer is yes but for someone who has attended nearly every Ravens game since 1996, I’m beginning to question the value, particularly as the price of tickets, food, beer and parking climb each season.

Maybe I’m just getting old.

Or maybe I’m just not as nuts as I used to be.

Are you?

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About Tony Lombardi

Tony Lombardi
Tony is 24x7 Networks, LLC's founder (the parent of and His work has been featured on various sports websites and he is a regular guest on 105.7 The Fan. A diehard Fab Four fan, Tony is a frustrated musician who thinks beating on the steering wheel is akin...more

13 Raves on “Is going to the game worth it?

  1. Dave on said:

    I owned season tickets for about four seasons. We loved the game atmosphere, but after a couple of years, the time and money really started to add up. We’d spend virtually the entire Sunday either driving to, attending, or driving home from the game. Throw in the occasional late-season game in 37-degree rain that we’d either leave early or skip altogether, and we decided to sell our PSLs and tickets. I can’t say that I’ve regretted it at all. Now we can watch the game comfortably at home, and if the day is beautiful, we go to the beach and record the game to watch later without commercials. I don’t think I’ll ever buy PSLs again. Bless all of you who go to the games, though.

  2. Sean on said:

    I feel the same way. This year, we started selling our tickets to half of the games (to friends & family). At home, I have both the Ravens & the Red Zone channel, a big screen HD TV, better food etc – it is a better experience. I like being at the games, but not 8 of them a year. I think this is a future problem for the NFL – how do you get fans to pay a lot of money to attend games when the home viewing experience is better?

  3. Nobi on said:

    I enjoy the hell out of the games, I love the atmosphere, and believe it or not I like the view (even from the nosebleeds) because you get to see more of the play develop. However, I could never afford to go more than once or twice a season. Even if I could, being the hardcore Ravens fan I am, I still wouldn’t be able to justify the expense.

  4. Bill on said:

    I don’t think it’s just you that’s changed. If you compare today to say – 2005, we watched our games in standard definition and the tickets were cheaper. Going to the playoffs 5 out of 6 years comes at a price – literally. The influx of fans is always appreciated but that means that prices at the stadium will go up as well when you consider 3rd party sales (stubhub, etc.) I enjoy going to a game or two a year but you’re right, having a house viewing party or going to a crowded bar can still be loud and fun and you’re going to get much better food.

  5. HB on said:

    I have been saying this for years. So many LINES. There is the line to get into the parking lot, the line to get the pat down to get into the stadium. The line to get beer, get food (they are usually separate stands now), the line to get to your seat, the line for the GIRLS bathroom (way worse than the guys), the line to get out of the stadium, lines out of the parking lot and then there is traffic. I spend most of the time in LINE.

    I don’t think it is a matter of “old” or “crazy” but what you prefer – or the ritual you grew up with. Football Sundays in my house were my father and my uncle screaming at the TV or on their knees during an important field goal kick. They would go to a few important games per year – the rival teams, the big games – that is all. It would be more exciting for them to go once or twice, they would spend all week figuring out what gear they were wearing – what food to make for tailgating. It was ‘special’ for them.

    For me for years, I would do a little of both. I would head down to tailgate for a few hours – then when people started to migrate into the stadium (sometimes at my benefit “Hey do you want the rest of these BBQ ribs?” – sure do!) My friends and I would head back to public transit to go home. I would walk into my warm apartment, reheat my homemade chili, put my nachos in the over and crack an imported cold tall bottle of beer and sit down on my comfy couch in my “Sunday clothes.”

    I know some football – but not enough to be able to see through the pile of players to see if they got that 3rd down or now. Instead I stand in my seat at the stadium looking around for validation asking “Did they get it? DID THEY GET IT??!!!!” – I like listening to the calls, I grew up listening to Merrill Reese’s voice – and even today the first few games of the season.. I LOVE being in the kitchen prepping ‘football food” and hearing the NFL theme song ‘dun dun dun, dun da da.. DA DA!!” It makes me much more amped then waiting in Line. any line. lol

    PS and hey if my team is playing like junk.. I can just change the channel!

  6. Tom on said:

    I don’t live in the area any longer, but I try to get to a home game and a road game each year. We make a big event of it and stay at nice hotels, etc. It is a huge expense but we all really enjoy it. On the other hand, I can see it becoming a grind doing it every home game. After making one of our football trips I admit I get extra satisfaction the week after watching from home.

  7. Alex on said:

    You do realize that if no one goes to the stadium then the team won’t be in Baltimore any more?? Does no one remember what happened with the Baltimore Colts? Say what you will about that team and the late owner, but the fans stayed away and the team moved.

    Yes the prices have gotten a lot higher then they were in 1996 but again, to be a play-off caliber team it takes money to pay the players. As a fan what do you want that will make you want to go the game? Affordable tickets – and I get it as $120/seat can get expensive but again, what do you want? You’re not going for $20/seat, the NFL won’t allow it. Shorter lines? Ok, this can be done…just open the stadium five hours before game time as the parking lots do now to allow those that want to get to their seats early can get there early. Lower the price for food and drinks? Actually, this is one they can and should do.

    I have to say that when I go to the game the only line I’m stuck in is at the restroom. I don’t have any problems getting into the stadium, getting to my seat, standing or sitting through the game, and watching my team play while enjoying the stadium atmosphere. Watching the game at home does allow you to “see more” but again…you stay home and the Ravens won’t be here too much longer. This goes for any team in the NFL and this is why they are trying their best to keep fans coming to the stadiums.

    • Tony LombardiTony Lombardi on said:

      All great points Alex. But I think that the fan experience relative to the cost is what we’re really discussing here. The experience from home is getting better with technology. The experience at the game needs to catch up in my opinion.

      Now I’m not suggesting that I won’t go to games. I enjoy them along with my wife and kids. I just don’t feel like I need to go to all of them given the experience relative to the cost.

      • Alex on said:

        Tony, have to agree on that the Red Zone and HDTV may be the best selling point on why staying home is better then going to the game. I’ve always stated that I’d love to see more out of town highlights during stoppage on the field. On top of that I’d really like to do away with the marching band halftime shows. How about showing us the Half-time show for the network that is covering our game that day. Again I’m sure the fans would like to see highlights of the other games going on…and don’t we get enough of “SCRIPT RAVENS” during the pre-game ceremonies??

        • Tony LombardiTony Lombardi on said:

          I agree Alex. I think the Ravens and all teams for that matter, need to improve the fan experience at the game because the improvements in home viewing are clearly outpacing them. That band, and no disrespect is meant to those fine people, but it is an obsolete form of entertainment for the demographic at the game. It’s like listening to music on AM radio IMO.

  8. Mike F. on said:

    I’ve been a season ticket holder since Day One. For my part, I love the experience. Now, I park for free (sorry, can’t say where), and I don’t drink at the games, so that saves a lot of money right there. And I am in the upper deck; no snobs. The one negative is that I live in Virginia, and have two small kids, and often get both barrels from the wife when I get home. Losing the Colts when I was 16 left a hole in me, so I don’t take our team for granted. I plan my vacation and travel around the Ravens schedule. But the fact that we are having this discussion shows that the League has a problem. HDTV and Red Zone Channel may be the things that kill that golden goose. Have you seen the stands in Miami lately? If fans HERE, in Baltimore, are staying home, the League has a problem. Ticket prices may have to actually come down, etc. The supply / demand curve lags; by the time prices come down, the demand is already soft.

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