With the average baseball ticket costing $25.40, NBA ticket at $48.83, an NFL ticket at $72.20, and NHL seats at $48.72, it's no wonder sports fans have a difficult time making it through the turnstiles at stadiums and arenas across the country: Their wallets and purses are being picked.
Some teams such as the New York Yankees are giving fans a break at a few exhibition games, and the Golden State Warriors last month offered seats for $10 for one game. But those deals are just the beginning of good things to come in 2009, predicts The New Republic, not your typical sports publication. It calls 2009 the Year of the Sports Fan.
With the recession and foreclosures hurting blue-collar fans, and companies unable to afford luxury boxes as their profits drop, professional sports team owners are looking for cheaper ways to lure average fans back to the seats.
In the past, NBA ticket packages were a way for owners to dump tickets that didn't sell well, The New Republic points out. The Milwaukee Bucks, for example, are selling a plan where if you buy a ticket to six games, you get to see the Los Angels Lakers for free. Buy 10 games and the Lakers and Boston Celtics games are free. The Bucks advertise that the plans cost as little as $60, or $10 per game, but finding tickets at those prices may be difficult. Still, with a little wiggle room in your budget, you could still get a deal and see the Lakers, Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers -- all top teams.
The Atlanta Hawks are offering up to 75% off season ticket plans and are guaranteeing the right to buy playoff tickets to fans who buy seats for the rest of the regular season. The Hawks are also offering four-game packs starting at $80, and they throw in free aquarium and zoo tickets and a $20 concession voucher.
Every Major League Baseball team has some type of deal for the coming season. For $49, the Colorado Rockies include four tickets, four hot dogs, four sodas, parking permit and team magazine. The Oakland A's offer a similar deal for $50, but without the parking pass and magazine, on certain Friday nights.
Professional sports aren't the only areas to get price breaks. Prices are dropping at college bowl games, StubHub reports. The average ticket selling price for this year's Jan. 8 BCS National Championship Game, $704, is nearly half the price of the matchups during the past two years, according to StubHub.
The Cotton Bowl, which has sold more tickets than any other bowl game this year, has a lower average selling ticket price of $122 than the $141 average last year. Average ticket prices for the Sugar Bowl and Fiesta Bowl are also down from last year, and the $66 average Orange Bowl price is the lowest in StubHub's history.
Being a sports fan may still seem like a lot of money out of your pocket, but there are deals out there. Buying a beer at a concession stand, however, is another story.
Aaron Crowe is an unemployed journalist in the San Francisco Bay Area. Read about his job search at www.talesofanunemployeddad.blogspot.com