PORTLAND, Ore. (TheStreet) – There are many things NFL fans will forgive in the name of football.
They'll let the 49ers move out of San Francisco to Santa Clara and give their core fan base a headache of a commute to Levi's Stadium. They'll let the league squeeze Minnesota taxpayers for $500 million of the costs of a $974 million stadium for the Vikings, force fans to watch games outdoors in the depths of Minnesota winter for two years while the stadium is built and pretend it did everyone a favor when it awards the town a Super Bowl in 2018. They'll let the league pry $200 million in tax money out of Atlanta to replace a stadium that's less than 20 years old and then point to Minnesota to show Atlanta what a deal it got.
Increase the price of beer, however, and you're just asking for a boycott.
NFL fans are already being punished for leaving their cushy, screen-and-snack-filled game day caves, turning off DirecTV's NFL Sunday Ticket and actually attending games this year. The league's average ticket price jumped 3.5%, to more than $84, according to Team Marketing Report. That's nearly triple the cost of the average Major League Baseball ticket.Read More: 5 Biggest Beer Drinking States in the U.S. That isn't exactly doing wonders for the argument that the NFL is a family-friendly experience. The average cost to take a family of four to a game, park, have a beer, hot dog and soda and go home with a program and a cap also jumped 4.4%, to nearly $479. Even if you're a beer-swilling single, however, it's a bad year. After beer prices dropped from 43 cents an ounce in 2012 to 41 cents an ounce last year, they're up to 44 cents an ounce this year. That's $7.53 for little more than a pint, but that's not everywhere. In Ohio, fans of the Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals still enjoy $5, 12-ounce beers for 42 cents an ounce. That's still costly compared with the 39 cents per ounce paid by folks watching the Miami Dolphins (20 ounces for $7.75). The cross-state Cincinnati Bengals have easily the lowest per-ounce price in the league at 36 cents per ounce (14 ounces for $5), but the biggest surprise may be in New England. Despite having the league's highest average ticket price at $122 and making the AFC Conference Championship last year, the 37-cents per ounce the team charges for beer ($7.50 for 20 ounces) is tied for the lowest price of any team that made the playoffs last year with the Carolina Panthers (also $7.50 for 20 ounces). Other fans aren't nearly as fortunate. With help from Team Marketing Report's Fan Cost Index, we found the Top 10 beer prices in the league and the teams that keep tapping fans' wallets until they're kicked: 10. Tie: St. Louis Rams/Buffalo Bills/San Francisco 49ers/Washington Redskins.
Price of a small draft beer: $9 for 20 ounces in St. Louis, D.C. and Buffalo. $6.25 for 14 ounces in San Francisco.
Price per ounce: 45 cents That's a whole lot of nerve, Rams and Bills concessions folk. We'd expect this from the 49ers, who just lost the NFL Championship by a hair, play in one of the most expensive cities in the country and have fancy new digs in Santa Clara. We'd even expect it from Washington, where owner Daniel Snyder wants to replace 17-year-old FedEx Field and still seems to think that Robert Griffin III will be an elite quarterback despite a shredded leg and a rough supporting cast. But St. Louis? This town was built on beer, but that isn't going to make fans more sympathetic when the team hasn't made the playoffs since 2004, hasn't had a winning record since 2003 and has watched the team's owner stomp his feet for a new stadium and buy real estate in a Los Angeles sports complex just to show he's serious about potentially moving the team back to the home it left nearly 20 years ago. To top it off, the team jacked up the price of tickets 8.1% despite the fact that big ticket franchise quarterback Sam Bradford blew out his ACL again and will miss the entire season. And Buffalo ... seriously? Your starting quarterback is basically your last man standing, your front office just bilked the surrounding community out of $200 million to keep the team around for a scant eight years and you're still playing a home game a year in Toronto. People were just overcoming their fear of Y2K the last time the Bills were in a playoff game on Jan. 8, 2000, and the team has managed only one winning season since – a decade ago in 2004. Your fans have to brave lake-effect snow and sub-freezing temperatures just to keep the team on local television late in the season and you charge them more for beer. If anything, that fan base deserves a round of Labatt's on the house. But no. Instead, they've spent all summer wondering who'll take over for late owner Ralph Wilson, whether some aging hair rocker from New Jersey or some ill-coiffed loudmouth from New York City would move their team to Toronto and whether Buffalo Sabres owner Terry Pegula had the money and influence to keep the team around. Yes, all that deserves a beer that Bill's fans aren't getting.
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