The True Cost of Being a Football Fan

September 17, 2013

Football season is well underway and I can’t find a better way to spend a Sunday afternoon than sitting on the couch glued to my TV. I’ve been a huge Denver Broncos fan for as long as I can remember and I never miss a game.

One afternoon during a particularly pathetic second quarter, I decided to try to multitask by updating my budget. This got me thinking -- how much money does it really cost to be a dedicated football fan?

Here is my breakdown:

Football Team Apparel and Other Items

You aren’t a true fan if you don’t have a vast collection of t-shirts, sweatshirts, hats, gloves, socks, coats, pajamas, and underwear covered in your team’s insignia. Officially licensed apparel isn’t cheap, but because you love your team, you are willingly to spend $45 on a pair of socks or $300 on a jersey with your favorite player’s number (only to have him traded to a rival team the next season).

Clothes aren’t the only thing a football fan needs. They need logoed beer cozies, flags/signs, serving ware, and other miscellaneous decor. If you aren’t surrounded by and dressed in your team’s logo, then you are, without a doubt, jinxing your team. Any football fan knows this fact, so spending tons of money on apparel and other items is an absolute necessity.


You cannot watch football, either on TV or in the stadium, without chowing down on a variety of snacks and guzzling your favorite beverage. It’s just another rule of football. Sometimes it’s as simple as a bag of chips and a can of soda. Other times, nothing will suffice except for a platter of hot wings, hot dogs, an extra-large pizza, and three pitchers of beer. Oh, and if your team is playing in the frozen tundra of Green Bay or Buffalo, then a bowl of chili is another must-have.

Since most football games last at least three hours, you need to be prepared for multiple refills and trips to the kitchen or concession stand. Also, if you are entertaining other crazed football fans at your home, be ready to feed an army.

Keep in mind that this is a weekly expense for 16 weeks (not including pre-season or the bye week) and if your team goes to the playoffs, then the expense continues and the quality of food should increase as your team advances.


Single and season tickets are probably the most costly expense in a football lover’s budget. Single tickets to a Denver Broncos game start at about $55 per ticket in the nosebleed section and go all the way up to $360 per ticket for club level seats.

If you’re lucky enough to be able to purchase season tickets (there is currently a waiting list), you’re spending anywhere from $450 to $3,500 for 10 home games. If you add in the cost of parking or bus fare, the cost is even higher.

But is there anything like cheering on your team with 70,000 other raucous fans after an amazing tailgate party? Nothing really compares so, again, this cost is most definitely worth it.

Cable Subscription

If you happen to live in a different town or state than where your favorite team is, then you know how hard it is to catch every game on TV.

Without a premium sports package, you will most likely miss most of the games unless they are nationally televised. If you happen to like multiple teams or simply enjoy watching nothing but football for hours on end, then an upgraded cable subscription is a must. These premium packages come at, well, a premium, but if it’s the only way to catch every game, then sign up today!

Heartache and Stress

There is nothing worse than watching your team take a beating. It causes serious pain when your team begins to crumble with numerous turnovers or struggles to even complete a pass. Then there is the stress of being down two points with three seconds left in the fourth quarter and your kicker has to attempt a 55-yard field goal…in the snow.

All this heartache and stress certainly takes a physical toll and could perhaps translate into paying for anger management classes and depression therapy.

Fantasy Football

If simply watching football isn’t enough for you, you may choose to participate in a fantasy football league. There are a lot of free fantasy football options, but if you want to monetize your favorite pastime, then signing up for a fee-based league with a cash prize at the end may be for you.

These fees can range anywhere from $1 to over $100 and some people choose to participate in varying types of leagues. Couple this with the amount of time spent researching players and building a roster, and fantasy football can get quite costly.

Getting Nothing Done for the Three Hours the Game is On

Unless your team is losing abysmally, there is simply no way to do anything else while you are watching the game. During this time, your family and friends should understand that you cannot and will not function on any level other than gluing your eyes to the TV screen.

Being a super fan takes more than time -- it can also put a serious dent in your wallet.  When you add up all that you’ve spent on enjoying football over the course of a season, the cost may surprise you.

Yet, when your team is taking a victory lap around the stadium hoisting the Lombardi Trophy over their heads, you can be proud that your dedication and hard-earned cash helped them get there.

How much do you think you spend on being a football fan? Give us your estimated expenses in the comment section!