If you plan to go to a NFL or major college game this year, stop by the bank for a significant withdrawal — and perhaps a loan application if you like premium seating. The NFL has never been more popular, while major college football received a boost from the demise of the BCS and the initial college playoff, so ticket prices can be sky-high.
Tickets may be available through box offices at face value, especially for college games, but for NFL games, the secondary market is usually the way to go. The NFL Ticket Exchange, StubHub, and other vendors have plenty of supply for almost any game.
The Seattle Seahawks tops the league with most expensive ticket. According to the 2016 TicketIQ State of the NFL Report, to see the Super Bowl XLVIII champions play at CenturyLink Field it will cost you $466 per ticket on the secondary market.
The New England Patriots will play in four of the ten most expensive games this season. A pair of tickets at the Gillette Stadium (because who goes to a football game alone?) is $1,674 for the Patriots matchup against the Bengals or $715 each against the Seattle Seahawks.
Other teams with high average ticket prices on the secondary market include the the New England Patriots at $461, the Denver Broncos at $454, and the Chicago Bears at $377.
What team is a bargain? The team with the cheapest tickets are the Jacksonville Jaguars. Average tickets for the EverBank Field are $141. The Jaguars join the Cleveland Browns ($145) and the Kansas City Chiefs as the only teams with average ticket prices under $150.
These prices are likely to rise as the season progresses, so get your tickets early.
For you college fans, the TiqIQ Top 25 keeps track of pricing for the 25 highest-priced college football teams. Far atop the list is the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame, with an average ticket price of $332 as of this writing. The best current deal available is for $33 to watch the Irish crush the University of Nevada's Wolf Pack, while the cheapest price to see the special meeting between Notre Dame and Michigan State University is $194 per ticket.
Only two other schools have average ticket prices above $200. They are in the SEC, but it is probably not the schools you are thinking of. Georgia comes in second at $235 and Texas A&M is third with $201. Alabama is 11th at $164. The SEC claims nine of the top 25 expensive ticket spots, followed by the Big 12 with six, the Big Ten with four, the PAC-12 with three and the ACC with two.
If you are priced out of your preferred game, consider games with lesser opponents. Ticket prices for the most desirable game matchups skyrocket based on demand, but they also fall for horrible mismatches. If you just want to watch your favorite ranked college team in action and don't mind watching them beat up on Middle Southeastern Nowhere State College, tickets for that game will be quite reasonably priced. For NFL teams, if your favorite team is likely to be good, you may be out of luck, but for teams competing for the top draft pick late season bargains are usually available — especially in colder outdoor stadiums.
With some planning, you can find relatively inexpensive tickets to see your favorite team and enjoy the live football experience. Don’t forget to enjoy the tailgate experience as well. Have fun, and load up in the parking lot to avoid stadium concession prices. They are skyrocketing, too.