The NFL is the most popular sport in the USA by a considerable margin. In 2023, the average television viewership of an NFL game was around 17.9 million. On top of that, the Super Bowl is consistently the most watched broadcast of the year, every year, in the US with Super Bowl LVII attracting an estimated 113 million viewers. This year’s big game is likely to be just as big with Super Bowl Odds listing the San Francisco 49ers as favorites at the time of writing. Live attendances are also on average higher in the NFL than any other sport. In 2022 there were on average 69,442 attendees per game with a total attendance of 18.8 million for the season. This made it the highest ever, aided by the expansion to a 17-game season.
However, the cost of watching the game is also considerably more expensive than other sports whether it be from home or live and in person. Let’s break down the cost of watching the NFL.
Attending the game
Ticket prices for the NFL are on average higher than any sport in the US. The average price of a 2023 NFL ticket is $377, according to TicketSmarter data. This was a major jump from the previous season where that figure stood at around $235. These numbers can potentially be misleading however as resale tickets are often listed at a high percentage markup. Some of the higher brackets also tend to skew the averages and many teams offer tickets for as little as $49. It is of course not just the ticket that you have to pay for when attending a live game though. You must also think about the cost of parking if you are driving. This averages around $40, though again varies widely from team to team. The average concession stand prices have dropped for some refreshments in recent years however. In 2022, you would be looking at around $8.79 for a beer, a drop of around 50 cents. A hot dog will set you back on average $5.87 and a soft drink $5.21. The price of attending an NFL game is certainly not cheap, though the experience is unlike any other. There are some of us who will be lucky enough to live close to a team who offer a more affordable gameday experience however, with the Arizona Cardinals and Jacksonville Jaguars both offering NFL Tickets, Parking, Hot Dogs and Beer for a very affordable overall total of $117 and $118 respectively in 2022.
Watching from home
Although there is nothing quite like attending an NFL game in-person, watching at home is a pretty good second best. In the age of streaming, there are now a plethora of ways to watch from the comfort of your couch. Cord cutters have been treated more and more over the last decade, to the point where it is now possible to watch TV using streaming services and miss next to nothing. Let’s break down both the major services and NFL-specific options.
Cutting the cord and streaming NFL games can be a cost-effective option compared to traditional cable packages, but navigating the options and understanding the total cost can be confusing. Here’s a breakdown:
Major Streaming Services:
Hulu + Live TV: All local NFL games along with ESPN and NFL Network as well as Disney+ and ESPN+. Cost $70/month. RedZone available for additional $10/month.
YouTube TV: Local NFL games, Sunday ticket provided as well as ESPN and NFL Network. Base plan is $72.99/month. RedZone available for an additional $11/month.
Sling TV: Package for NFL coverage is limited with just ESPN and ESPN+ available for $35/month. NFL Network and Local Games not offered with any package.
Amazon Prime Video: Exclusive home of Thursday Night Football. Included with base Amazon Prime Video plan for $8.99 month or $139 for the year.
NFL+: Offers a tiered service that allows you to watch out-of-market preseason games, live commentary, exclusive programming and post-game, ad-free highlights for $6.99/month or one off payment of $49.99 for the year. Upgrade to be able to watch NFL+ Premium with full game replays on the whistle, coaches film and the NFL RedZone for $14.99/month or $99.99 for the year.
DAZN: In select countries outside the US, DAZN offers NFL Game Pass, letting you watch all out-of-market regular season and postseason games for a monthly or annual subscription fee.
There are of course additional costs when watching from home such as broadband costs and a device capable of streaming whichever service you are using.
While the overall cost of watching the NFL may be relatively costly, be it in person or from your comfort of your own home, the product is exhilarating and well worth the money for all fans. There is nothing more exciting than watching your team and many of us will pay whatever we need to, to watch on.