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 are the most expensive ticket at the moment, thanks to being an ill-chosen pass away from back-to-back Super Bowl championships. Seattle tops the league with current average prices on the secondary market of $397 per ticket, according to the TiqIQ NFL Power Rankings.
As of this writing, the range on TiqIQ for a pair of Qwest Field tickets (because who goes to a football game alone?) is $2,209 per ticket for the Seahawks matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers or $178 each for nosebleed seats against the Cleveland Browns.
Other teams with high average ticket prices on the secondary market include the Denver Broncos at $370 per ticket, the New England Patriots at $292, and the Dallas Cowboys at $284.
What team is a bargain? The potentially lame-duck St. Louis Rams. With a likely move to Los Angeles damping enthusiasm, average tickets for the Edward Jones Dome are $88. The Rams join the Oakland Raiders ($99) as the only teams with average ticket prices under $100.
Upper level seats to Rams games are currently selling for as low as $11 per ticket in a group of four for the December 17th game against Tampa Bay. Not even Famous Jameis can bring excitement to St. Louis. Hang on to those ticket stubs, because that game is likely to be the last pro football game played in St. Louis for years, and possibly forever.
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 two seats at $100 each to watch the Irish crush the Minutemen of the University of Massachusetts, while the cheapest price to see the special meeting between Notre Dame and Boston College in Fenway Park is $668 per ticket. It is possible to drop almost $2,000 per ticket for several Irish games.
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.