Team Marketing Report, the ORIGINAL sports business intelligence source, continues its rebirth with the publication of our 2018 NFL Fan Cost Index®!

Launched in 1988, TMR is built on identifying and sharing best practices to empower sports business professionals. We not only impart great ideas and break down impactful solutions, but work to connect people – you with your fans, your peers, your mentors.

We began producing our annual TMR Fan Cost Index in 1991 for the four largest US pro sports leagues: Major League Baseball, National Football League, National Hockey League and National Basketball Association. The FCI measures the cost of a family of four to attend a game factoring ticket prices with typical food, drink, souvenir and parking costs.

We are working non-stop at building on and improving TMR’s incredible 30-year legacy. In April, we published the 2018 MLB FCI. Today we publish the 2018 NFL FCI as another step in the process. And soon we’ll have the 2018 NBA and NHL FCIs for you as well.

Also in the coming weeks, you will be invited to experience an all-new TMR. Uniquely “Fan-centric,” we will once again regularly report and empower you with the who, what, where, when, why and how teams, leagues, sponsors, brands, properties, agencies are finding success in sports business.

Specifically we’ll focus on success in finding, engaging and keeping fans engaged. We’ll talk about real numbers, real measurement, clearing real hurdles and making real money.

In the coming weeks, look for ALL NEW:

  • TeamMarketing.com with news (newsletter and breaking), info, tips and 30 years of TMR news archives plus ALL 28 seasons of FCI data for NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL
  • SportsSponsor FactBook™ with contact info for teams, leagues, sponsors, brands, properties, agencies and the people doing the work at each
  • 2018 FCIs for NBA, NHL and the inaugural MLS FCI
  • Ways to connect, exchange ideas and find your success in sports business and MUCH, MUCH more

Have questions or ideas to share? Email us at Help@TeamMarketing.com.

Stay Tuned!

Chris Hartweg

Publisher

Team Marketing Report

Team Marketing Report’s 2018 NFL Fan Cost Index® Shows Slight Increase

League Average Up Less than 1% to $536.04; Chargers most expensive; Browns least expensive

By Chris Hartweg, Publisher

Oct 3, 2018 (Chicago) – The cost for fans to attend a National Football League game in 2018 increased just .7 percent from 2017, according to the Team Marketing Report Fan Cost Index®. The average NFL FCI checks in at $536.04, $2.45 more for a family of four than in 2017.

FCIs were flat for five teams, down for 10 teams and up for 17 teams, when compared to 2017.

The TMR Fan Cost Index calculates the cost for a family of four to attend a game. TMR staff compile costs for all 32 NFL stadiums using the price of four tickets combined with four sodas, four hot dogs, two beers and two souvenir caps, plus a parking spot. (For FCI purposes, ticket prices are the average weighted price of non-premium seats. Non-renewal season ticket prices are used wherever applicable.)

Ticket prices, the biggest driver of FCI costs, rose 1.5 percent to an average of $100.26, marking the first time a league’s average ticket has surpassed the $100 mark in the 28-year history of TMR’s FCI.

Overall, ticket prices were unchanged for 13 teams, down for six teams and up for 13 teams.

CHARGERS ALONE AT THE TOP, THANKS TO THEIR NEW (TEMPORARY) HOME

The most expensive team to see play in their home stadium for the second year in a row is the Los Angeles Chargers with their Fan Cost Index of $953.38.

The Chargers adjusted some capacities and pricing for the 2018 season and with an average ticket of $199.10, they trimmed .6 percent, or $1.21 per ticket, from 2017. The Bolts took over the top spot in the FCI last year at $957.22, due to their move from San Diego’s 70,560 seat Qualcomm Stadium to LA’s 27,000 seat StubHub Center. This is a temporary home for three seasons (2017-2018-2019) while they await the completion of the new 70,420-seat LA Stadium at Hollywood Park. They will be joined by their fellow recent LA transplants, the Rams, who are currently playing at the LA Coliseum.

The Chargers claimed the FCI title from the Washington Redskins who were most expensive in 2016 with their FCI of $672.58. The priciest team has regularly changed hands as the San Francisco 49ers -- and their move to Levi’s Stadium -- put them at the top for two seasons ($630.92 in 2015, $621.42 in 2014), with the Dallas Cowboys the leader for two years prior ($614.78 in both 2013 and 2012).

Before the Chargers moved, they typically fell smack-dab in the middle of the NFL FCI. In 2016, they were 17th at $504.86. The steep decline in ticket supply – particularly the loss of thousands of cheap upper deck end zone seats that all 31 other NFL teams offer and which significantly lower a team’s average weighted price – drove the Chargers’ average ticket up a staggering 115 percent for 2017 (2016 -- $93.22; 2017 -- $200.31). That in turn rocketed their FCI up by 90 percent last season.

This dearth of low-priced seats opened a huge drop-off of $310.24 to the next highest FCI club, the New England Patriots. The Pats’ FCI stands at $643.14. Rounding out the top five are the similar FCIs of the Chicago Bears ($625.76), Redskins ($623.50) and Cowboys ($623.18).

On the other hand, the Cleveland Browns check in as the most affordable team for the second year in a row with their FCI of $381.34. They are now the only NFL team with an FCI under $400, as the next lowest priced Jacksonville Jaguars saw their FCI climb to $410.14, up six percent from $386.94.

After the Browns and Jags, the rest of the NFL’s “Affordable Five” are the Buffalo Bills ($428.12), Cincinnati Bengals ($429.92) and Tennessee Titans ($430.68).

WHO ARE THE BIGGEST FCI MOVERS?

The New York Jets own the largest decreases for 2018 with an FCI decline of 11.3 percent, thanks in large part to their 14.8 percent drop in average ticket price. They are the only team with double-digit declines in either category.

Bengals fans received a 4.5 percent FCI decline, with tickets falling 5.9 percent. Beyond the Jets, Bengals and the aforementioned slight changes by the Chargers, three other teams show lower ticket prices: the Kansas City Chiefs (-1.9%), Arizona Cardinals (-1.5%) and Rams (-1.4%).

Five teams kept all pricing flat resulting in no change to their FCI: the Atlanta Falcons, Cowboys, Indianapolis Colts, Titans and Redskins. By comparison, not one team remained flat from 2016 in last year’s FCI.

Of the 13 teams who increased ticket prices, the biggest ticket jumps were the Jaguars (up 11.2%) and New Orleans Saints (up 10.1%). They were the only two with double-digit increases. The next most sizeable ticket increases came with the Minnesota Vikings (up 8.8%) and the Miami Dolphins (up 8%)

Not surprisingly, those four teams owned the largest FCI increases. The Dolphins’ FCI was up 7.6 percent, then the Saints at 7.2 percent, the Vikings at 6.4 percent and the Jaguars at 6 percent.

HOW DID AVERAGE FCI HOLD STEADY? FAN-FRIENDLY CONCESSIONS

The biggest reason NFL teams were able to hold prices in check? Concessions price cuts. The average beer price fell slightly from $8.20 to $8.17, soft drinks decreased from $5.09 to $4.71 and hot dog pricing dropped from $5.46 to $5.23.

This marks the first time in the history of the TMR’s NFL Fan Cost Index that all three food and beverage items decreased in the same year. In fact, only twice have even two of the three declined in the same year: 2013 (beer and soft drink) and 2015 (beer and hot dog).

The Falcons earned wide acclaim after slashing concessions prices with their move to the new Mercedes Benz Stadium in 2017. Fans were welcomed by prices slashed by 50 percent compared to Georgia Dome. Thankful fans rewarded Falcons owner Arthur Blank’s AMB Sports & Entertainment company, and AMB’s concessionaire Levy, by spending 16 percent more per fan.

These price rollbacks helped Atlanta thoroughly dominate the NFL’s most recent “Voice of the Fan” survey, taking first in all five categories: Value, Quality, Variety, Speed of Service and Quality of Service. In response, Blank and Co. did not sit still. Instead, they extended “Fan First Pricing” for 2018, dropping the price of six more items $1 each. Because FCI items were not among the price cuts, however, their FCI remained flat.

This success generating more revenue while also improving fan experience has sparked teams to reevaluate the time-honored tradition of gouging fans at the concession stand.

In fact, four teams followed suit with substantial concessions cuts of their own for 2018.

Looking solely at FCI F&B costs, the Carolina Panthers can stake a claim as 2018’s “Best Belly Value” with new pricing of $2 soft drinks and $2.50 hot dogs (note: prices must be offered in game, at multiple locations; special early bird deals are not included).

Not surprisingly, the Falcons do the least damage to fans’ bank accounts at the concession stand at a reasonable $26 total of only FCI F&B items – beers, soft drinks and hot dogs. But now they have more competition.

The Panthers’ move drove a 55 percent drop in their combined FCI F&B total to $29.

The other three aggressive F&B price slashers this year: Baltimore Ravens (FCI F&B of $34, down 41.4% from 2017), Detroit Lions ($42, -39.1%) and Houston Texans ($49, -12.5%).

Adding in the Cardinals ($46) and Titans ($48), two teams who reduced their FCI F&B pricing in 2017 and remained flat for 2018, there are now seven teams with an FCI F&B composite below $50 per game compared to just three last year.

At the other end of the food and drink spectrum, the coveted, ketchupless Chicago dog and its top dog price tag of $7.25 at Soldier Field games boosts the Bears to the league’s highest FCI F&B spend ($71).

The rest of the five most expensive concessions experiences finds the Bills just behind the Bears ($70), followed by both LA teams (Chargers and Rams are both at $67), the Chiefs ($66) and a tie between the Minnesota Vikings, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Redskins ($65).

An interesting year to be sure for the NFL. Will concession cuts continue in 2019? Will fan friendly pricing options surge across ticket pricing, caps and parking? We’ll be following it all at TMR.

More information is available at www.teammarketing.com or by emailing editorial@teammarketing.com.

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ABOUT TEAM MARKETING REPORT: Team Marketing Report was first published in 1988 as the “only publication devoted to reporting innovative and successful ideas to increase revenues for sports teams.” The first Fan Cost Index® was published in 1991 and the “sports industry contact bible,” Sports Sponsor FactBook™, followed in 1993. Recently acquired by Anodyne Ventures, LLC, TMR will relaunch during Q4 2018 rolling out all new website, newsletter, archives and industry contact portal.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Team Marketing Report reserves the right to make updates, including retroactive changes, to the Fan Cost Index® as deemed necessary. This may include updating the official FCI chart after publication.


Fan Cost Index® Details 2.4% Increase to Attend MLB Games

Cubs Climb to Top Spot for First Time; Teams Looking to Get Creative to Reduce Costs for Fans

By Chris Hartweg, Publisher

April 23, 2018 (Chicago) – The cost to attend a Major League Baseball game increased by 2.4 percent for the 2018 season, according to the Team Marketing Report Fan Cost Index®.

Average ticket prices rose by 2.7 percent to $32.44. The average FCI now stands at $230.64.

The TMR Fan Cost Index represents the cost for a family of four to attend a game. TMR staff compile costs for all 30 MLB ballparks using the price of four average weighted non-premium tickets combined with four sodas, four hot dogs, two beers and two souvenir caps, plus a parking spot.

The most expensive team to watch at the ballpark this year is the Chicago Cubs with their Fan Cost Index of $368.28. This marked the first time since 2009, and only second time since 2000, that the Boston Red Sox were not at the top of the list. They came in at second most expensive at $345.88 with the New York Yankees next at $301.46. Rounding out the top five were the San Francisco Giants ($271.70) and the Los Angeles Dodgers ($268.02).

Fans can certainly reduce costs quickly using public transportation, or by parking further from the ballpark for free. Teams including the Cubs offer free shuttles for a fairly brief ride to the ballpark.

On the other end of the spectrum, the most affordable ballgame once again belongs to the Arizona Diamondbacks, with their FCI of $145.58. They’ve had a stranglehold on the lowest FCI since 2009, also boasting the least expensive average ticket price of $19.65.

Diamondbacks President & CEO Derrick Hall was thrilled to learn his ballclub came out at the top of the value end of the FCI, telling TMR in a statement: “Once again ranking first for Fan Cost Index is a true point of pride for this organization. We challenge ourselves to remain as affordable as possible for all customers each season, as we know that is a large part of the overall fan experience. We are committed to providing the best fan treatment in all of sports, and we believe it begins with a cost snapshot that will not break a family’s budget or willingness to return.”

The next best deal according to FCI belongs to the Tampa Bay Rays at $156.40 for the third straight year. The rest of the “Affordable Five” are Pittsburgh Pirates ($178.72), Baltimore Orioles ($187.80) and Cincinnati Reds ($191.06).

On the increase side of the ledger while looking specifically at tickets, the largest average non-premium ticket increase belongs to the reigning National League Champion Dodgers at 14.5 percent. The Toronto Blue Jays are next at 9.9 percent (Toronto’s costs are represented in US$ but the percentage change is measured using the team’s native CA$), followed by the Houston Astros. The World Champs come in with an 8.1 percent increase.

Taking into account all costs, the largest FCI jumps are the Blue Jays at 15.7, Minnesota Twins at 9 percent and Milwaukee Brewers at 8.9 percent.

In positive news for fans, the largest average non-premium ticket decrease was notched by the Philadelphia Phillies, who shaved 2.9 percent from $37.12 to $36.04, dropping for the second straight year. They’ve in fact dropped 5.1 percent since the 2016 season.

Meanwhile, the biggest FCI decrease was the Red Sox who saw their FCI fall 6.1%.

The Red Sox can thank their partnership group, who essentially turned a “triple play.” Not only did they strike a new deal with ParkWhiz as a team sponsor, but they enhanced their fans’ return on investment. And by creating $10 parking spots during games at numerous garages near Fenway Park, that in turn knocked $30 off the cost of parking – and their FCI.

The next largest FCI declines came from the Kansas City Royals (-3.9%) and Phillies (-1.7%). In all, fifteen -- exactly half of MLB teams -- were below the Adjusted Cost of Living rate of 1.5 percent.

The Yankees, a team frequently near the top of the list, have been very conscious of increasing offerings for families. Looking to boost their fan-affordable options, they designated a large number of single-game tickets at $15 or less for the second straight season.

“With our introduction of the Pinstripe Pass and $10 Grandstand single-game ticket offers in 2017, an additional 200,000 single-game tickets priced at $15-or-less became available to fans,” explained a Yankees’ spokesman.

In 2017, the Yankees could boast the second largest percentage FCI decrease at -5.3 percent, next to the Detroit Tigers’ -5.6%, thanks to the Pinstripe Pass and $10 Grandstand offerings.

Across the league, teams have upped both the number of value seats and promotion of those offerings. The “Family 4-Pack” concept is available at numerous ballparks, including the Cleveland Indians, Oakland A’s, Tigers, Royals and Pirates.

The Orioles have earned kudos from their fans for their “Kids Cheer Free” offering of two free child tickets (ages 9 and under) for every adult, available in the upper deck for every game (except Opening Day).

“Major League Baseball Clubs offer a large assortment of ticket options which allow fans to choose the kind of ballpark experience that they want and can afford. The teams provide creative and fan friendly choices that include subscription models, family of four packages, theme nights, concerts, firework displays and tickets as low as $10,” explained Noah Garden, MLB Executive Vice President, Commerce. “In addition, many of the ballparks feature unique interactive areas and special exhibits that give fans added value to the ballgame. We’re proud of the one-of-a-kind experience and affordable options that our Clubs offer to fans.”

More information is available at www.teammarketing.com or by emailing FCI@teammarketing.com.

CORRECTION: This version updates pricing for the Philadelphia Phillies cap from $24.99 to $19.99, affecting the Phillies’ FCI and FCI Change as well the MLB FCI Avg Cap, FCI Avg and Avg Change.

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>ABOUT TEAM MARKETING REPORT: Team Marketing Report was first published in 1988 as the “only publication devoted to reporting innovative and successful ideas to increase revenues for sports teams.” The first Fan Cost Index® was published in 1991 and the “sports industry contact bible,” Sports Sponsor FactBook™, followed in 1993. Recently acquired by Anodyne Ventures, LLC, TMR will be completely relaunched later in 2018 with an all new newsletter, website and industry contact portal.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Team Marketing Report reserves the right to make updates, including retroactive changes, to the Fan Cost Index® as deemed necessary. This may include updating the official FCI chart after publication.