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Kicking Off Football Spending Season

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The NFL's preseason is upon us and for-real football kicks off in a few weeks. Are you ready to spend some money?

Like an all-pro cornerback waiting for his team to pay him and end a salary holdout, the NFL knows it's only a matter of time until fan spending hits midseason form. This year, however, a slight wane in financial uncertainly has the league and its teams ready to reverse pulled-back prices and launch an all-out blitz on the big spenders in the best seats.

With ticket prices on the rise, beer prices still bloated and a certain video game franchise still expecting fans to pay a bit more for the latest installment nearly 22 years into its lifespan, football's economic indicator is on the upswing. Will fans buy in? TheStreet looked at seven points that the NFL and its ancillary businesses hope will add up to a touchdown this season, and while some seem as certain as a completion amid blown coverage, there are others that are a bit of a Hail Mary:

SEASON TICKETS

Average price: $600

Brett Favre could finally retire and it would still be more of a surprise than finding out NFL ticket prices rose again. According to Team Marketing Report's Fan Cost Index, the average NFL ticket price last year was $74.99 -- up 3.8% from the year before after rising 7.8% between 2007 and 2008. The Fan Cost Index -- or the cost of a family of four to attend the game and buy beer, soft drinks, hot dogs, parking, a program and a team cap -- soared 4.1%, to nearly $420. Spread across eight home games, that's almost $3,400 for the entire season. That doesn't count one-time purchases of "personal seat licenses" used as capital for new facilities such as the New Meadowlands Stadium in New Jersey, where the New York Giants and Jets charged $500 to $20,000 just for the right to buy tickets.

According to USA Today, the average cost of attendance is on the way up as 18 NFL teams have raised ticket prices -- including reigning Super Bowl champion the New Orleans Saints. How can a consumer avoid getting blindsided by such increases? By switching allegiances and rooting for a terrible team, such as the cellar-dwelling Detroit Lions and the geographically jinxed Jacksonville Jaguars, which both decreased prices this year.

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