How Much Money Do You Spend to be a Sports Fan?

In 2017, the US spent $56 billion on sporting events. (Compare that to the mere $27 billion spent on books – go sports!) The average US sports fan spends $725 per year to cheer on their favorite teams. That’s almost as high as the $765 the average household spends on annual water bills. 

Anyway, the spending on sports goes towards fan gear, cable packages, and occasional tickets. Of course, the average spending is way higher than $725 per year for those that have season tickets.

When it comes to watching sports on TV, the average fan spends around $240 per year on sports cable packages. This fee is just for the package itself, so it doesn’t include the increase in electricity bills from powering the TV and cable box. This price also doesn’t account for negative health impacts from the sedentary lifestyle that comes with watching TV for several hours a day.

You’d also want to consider the health impacts of a typical meal that is consumed while watching sporting events. If you eat one cheeseburger, three handfuls of potato chips, three chocolate chip cookies, a serving of baked beans, and two beers, that’s already over 1,600 calories! All that yelling at the refs through the TV can really work up an appetite.

Then you need to consider transportation and parking costs. For NFL games, fans can pay up to $100 for a parking spot, depending on who’s playing. But a lot of fans like to use their cars to tailgate before the game. The average tailgate party costs about $200.

How Can You Save Money as a Sports Fan?

Watch Less, Play More

A great way to avoid expensive cable packages and future healthcare costs related to sedentary lifestyles is to reduce how much time you spend in front of the TV. Instead of paying for cable packages, walk to the local pub to watch the game with friends. You can also spend more time playing sports with friends instead of watching sports on TV. 

Carpooling and Public Transportation

Carpooling and taking public transportation to watch games in person or at a restaurant or bar are great strategies for reducing or eliminating parking fees and gas expenses. It’s also best to travel to the stadiums and restaurants that are closest to where you live. Check out our episodes on transportation to learn more about these savings (Zoom Zoom, Time is Money, and The Long Haul).

Smart Tailgating

Eating at a tailgate is usually cheaper than eating inside the stadium. (Check out our What’s for Dinner? episode for tips on healthy and cheap meals.) A small beer usually costs around $10, and the average price of a hot dog is over $5. The margins on stadium food are unbelievably high. And when you learn that fans consume over 20 million hot dogs per year at MLB games alone, you realize how quickly those margins add up. 

But be careful about how much alcohol you consume at the tailgate. 10% of all tailgaters don’t make it into the game, which may or may not be related to their alcohol intake. So if you don’t make it into the game, that means you spent all that money on tickets for nothing!

Check out our House Party episode to learn how to save money on tailgating expenses by buying in bulk, bringing reusable dishes, and maybe even buying a keg instead of beer cans, depending on how many people will be at the tailgate.

Share and Rewear

For fan gear alone, the US spends over $8 billion per year. This expense could be drastically reduced by purchasing second hand gear, swapping jerseys with your friends, and rewearing gear from year to year.

Disclaimer: Please consult with a professional before making any changes to your diet, transportation, or home. Any and all changes should maintain proper health, safety, and sanitation levels within your daily lives and homes. It All Adds Up and its affiliates are not responsible for any household damage or personal injuries that should occur from following any suggestions from It All Adds Up.


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