Leaving the comfort of one’s home and attending an NFL game is an investment. Not only do fans have to endure the traffic, noise and sometimes horrific weather, they also have to deal with ever increasing prices. According to Team Marketing Report the average ticket price jumped 2.5%, to more than $78. Along with ticket prices, the price of beer has risen from 42 cents an ounce to 43 cents an ounce throughout the league. That doesn’t sound like much, but it is. The average cost to take a family of four to a game, park a car, have a beer, hot dog and soda and go home with a program and a team hat increased 4%, to $443.93.
The focus of this article is on the prices of beer at NFL stadiums. Ten stadiums with the most expensive beer prices per ounce are ranked. While the league average for beer is 43 cents an ounce there are nine teams in the league that charge more. Some of these teams play in relatively new and state of the art stadiums while others play in relative dumps. Some teams have consistently provided a great product on the field while some of these teams have been consistently bad. The top ten stadiums with the most expensive beers include those nine teams that charge above the league average and one team that recently raised prices significantly. The prices listed in this article are from the 2013 season and have been compiled using data from The Street and Team Marketing Report.
10. Detroit Lions : Ford Field – $8.50 for 20 ounces or 42¢ per ounce
Kicking off the top ten is Ford Field, the home of the Detroit Lions. The cost of a beer at a Lions game actually costs below the league average of 43 cents an ounce. The cost of beer at Ford Field was well below league average until after the 2011 season. In 2011, the Lions made the playoffs for the first time since 1997. The following season the Lions raised beer prices by a full $1. Raising those prices seemed a little premature since the Lions were not far removed from posting a 0-16 season. While the Lions have a lot of star power on their teams they have underachieved and have not made the playoffs since.
9. Buffalo Bills: Ralph Wilson Stadium – $9 for 20 ounces or 45¢ per ounce
The Buffalo Bills raised the prices of their beer by 50 cents before the 2013 season. This was a shameless act considering the Bills have not made the playoffs or had a winning season since 1999, the longest such drought in the NFL. In addition, the Bills play one home game every season in Toronto and black out home games when Ralph Wilson Stadium is not filled to capacity. The Bills are also often rumored to be one of the teams that may relocate. Given the putrid product that has been on display since the turn of the century and the relatively expensive prices for beer, it is no wonder Bills fans stay away from Ralph Wilson Stadium on Sundays.
8. San Francisco 49ers: Candlestick Park – $7.75 for 16 ounces or 48¢ per ounce
According to Expatistan, which ranks cities according to their cost of living, San Francisco is the second most expensive city to live in the US. Despite the cost of living and the emergence of the 49ers as one of the best NFL teams over the past three seasons, the price for beer at Candlestick has remained constant. Along with beer prices, ticket prices have remained relatively constant as well. One reason may be that the 49ers are moving into a new stadium in Silicon Valley beginning the 2014 NFL season. If the 49ers continue to consistently challenge for a Super Bowl in their new stadium, it is a good bet that ticket and beer prices will rise.
T6. Seattle Seahawks: CenturyLink Field – $8 for 16 ounces or 50¢ per ounce
CenturyLink Field is the loudest outdoor stadium in the NFL. The noise generated by Seahawks fans has resulted in Century Link field being one of the toughest places for opponents to play in the NFL. While the Seahawks fans have enjoyed a great product on the field the last two seasons, culminating in last seasons Super Bowl victory, they have also had to endure some of the highest beer prices in the league. The beer prices at Century Link Field have stayed the same as the prices before the Seahawks emerged as an NFL powerhouse. Now that the team are defending champions beer and ticket prices may rise.
T6. Oakland Raiders: O.Co Coliseum – $7 for 14 ounces or 50¢ per ounce
The Oakland Raiders have probably been the NFL’s most dysfunctional franchise over the past decade. The Raiders have not had a winning season or made the playoffs since losing in the Super Bowl in 2002. They have one of the worst stadiums in the league, which they share with the Oakland Athletics, and they usually put forth one of the worst products as well. Their home games are regularly blacked out since the stadium is not always sold out. Raidesr fans, who are considered amongst the best in the NFL, are not only subjected to bad football, but they also have to pay some of the highest prices for beer in the league.
T4. Dallas Cowboys: Cowboys Stadium – $8.50 for 16 ounces or 53¢ per ounce
While the prices for beer at Cowboys Stadium are amongst the highest in the league, they may be the most affordable item at the state of the art stadium in Arlington Texas. The cost for a program at Cowboys Stadium is $10 which is more than twice league average. There is no public transport to the stadium and the average cost of parking is $75 which is nearly three times the league average. While Jerry Jones provide some respite to fans with the prices of beer, the product on the field has not been worthy of the stadium. The Cowboys have only won one playoff game in 17 years and have finished with an 8-8 record in three consecutive season.
T4. Chicago Bears: Soldier Field – $8.50 for 16 ounces or 53¢ per ounce
Tied with Cowboys Stadium as the stadium with the fourth most expensive beer prices is Soldier Field, home of the Chicago Bears. Not only did Bears fans have to endure yet another season where their team missed the playoffs, but they also had to pay 50 cents more for a beer as compared to the previous season. Despite the sometimes frigid conditions at Soldier Field and the expensive beer prices, Bears fans would have been content if their team could have clinched a playoff berth with a victory over the Green Bay Packers on the last day of the season. Instead, the Packers emerged victorious at Soldier Field with a last minute drive.
3. New York Jets/Giants: MetLife Stadium – $8.75 for 16 ounces or 55¢ per ounce
MetLife Stadium is the newest stadium in the NFL and the second most expensive stadium constructed to date. Both the Jets and the Giants play in the shadow of the most expensive city to live in the US. Given these facts it is no surprise that the beer prices at their home games are amongst the most expensive in the league. Their ticket prices are also pricey with the Jets having the most expensive and the Giants being fourth on the list. Giants fans have at least witnessed their team win a Super Bowl twice since 2007. The Jets on the other hand, have not won a Super Bowl since Joe Namath was under center and their fans still pay some the highest prices for their beers.
2. San Diego Chargers: Qualcomm Stadium – $9 for 16 ounces or 56¢ per ounce
Qualcomm Stadium has hosted three Super Bowls, the most recent of which was in 2003. That Super Bowl is likely the last, as the NFL has said the stadium is no longer suitable for another Super Bowl. Attendance has declined for San Diego Chargers home games and games are regularly blacked out. Chargers ownership has intimated that they would be willing to move the team if a city would provide a new stadium. Surprisingly, given the level of uncertainty surrounding this franchise, Qualcomm has the second highest beer prices in the NFL and has raised prices by $1 and reduced the size of beer by four ounces since last season.
1. Indianapolis Colts: Lucas Oil Stadium – $7 for 12 ounces or 58¢ per ounce
The most expensive beer prices at an NFL stadium can be found at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. The Indianapolis Colts charge 15 cents more per ounce than the league average. The beer prices were palatable when the team regularly won their division and contended for a Super Bowl. The Colts appeared to be headed for trouble when following a 2-14 season Peyton Manning departed for Denver. However, after drafting Andrew Luck with the first pick in the 2012 draft, the Colts have made two straight playoff appearances. Still, $7 for 12 ounces of beer does seem excessive.