INCREASE TICKET PRICES
It bothers me enormously that no longer can a family of four see a game.
What’s happened is the [player] salaries are so high, we have to keep raising
ticket prices. I don’t want to raise my prices again.
—Abe Pollin, former owner of the Washington Wizards and Capitals
If even an owner says it, shouldn’t it be true? No wonder fans bemoan what they think are the facts. First, fans bemoan that tickets are too expensive. The Fan Cost Index is a sort of CPI for live attendance at North American pro sports games published by Team Marketing Reports (www. teammarketing.com). Their “sports market basket” for two adults and two children includes tickets, refreshments, parking, and souvenirs. While not all fans incur all of these expenses every time they attend, the index is useful for comparison between teams and over time. We choose the NFL because it is the most expensive (the most recent Fan Cost Index data are for 2011). The New York Jets topped NFL average ticket prices for 2011 at $120.85, and the New England Patriots topped premium ticket prices at $566.67. Adding in the rest of the basket, the price of the 2011 sports market basket for the NFL ranges from Jacksonville at the bottom, $316.50, to the Jets at the top, $628.90 (the average was about $427). Taking the average family to some pro games looks more like a trip to Disneyland than the trip to the stadium their parents might remember as kids.
Second, what do fans observe at the same time? Players continue to enjoy huge salaries and salary increases over time. (As long—time observers of the player pay scene, we agree that this is true.) With the help of statements by team owners (see the epigraph), and laments by sportswriters/broadcasters