Update, 9/8/2014: Numbers from Team Marketing Report updated to reflect accurate 2014 beer prices.
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.
Watch the video below for a look at which NFL teams offer the cheapest beer:
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.
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: Chicago Bears/Buffalo Bills/San Diego Chargers/Washington Redskins
Price of a small draft beer: $9 for 20
Price per ounce: 45 cents
That's a whole lot of nerve, Bills concessions folk.
We'd 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. We’d expect it from Chicago, which isn’t cheap by any stretch. We’d even expect in in San Diego, where the Spanos family of owners wants to wring every dime it can out of last year’s playoff appearance if it can’t get a new stadium deal done by year’s end.
But 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.
9. Green Bay Packers
Price of a small draft beer: $7.75 for 16 ounces
Price per ounce: 48 cents
They somehow managed to win a division with an 8-7-1 record, managed to lose to the 49ers in cold playoff weather that Packers fans routinely rave about and still managed to make a bad thing look good.
The 12-ounces of beer the pack sold for $6 last in 2012 looks cheaper on the surface, but that's 50 cents an ounce. Fans at Lambeau Field are paying $1.50 more upfront, but a whopping eight cents less on the unit price. So, yes, in Green Bay a $7.50 beer is actually a better deal than $6 suds.
Even if you're still feeling ripped off, the best part of being a Packers fan is the team's community ownership. If you're a shareholder and hate the price you're paying for what's essentially the life's blood of Wisconsin, make some noise about it.
8. Detroit Lions and Atlanta Falcons
Price of a small draft beer: $7.50 for 16 ounces
Price per ounce: 47 cents
The Falcons already got their new arena out of Atlanta, so what's a few more dollars for beer?
Detroit's situation is a bit more dier. This beer price wouldn't hurt nearly as badly if the team hadn't gone 4-12 and 7-9 in the two years since making its first playoff appearance since 1999. Or if it wasn't just the latest losing campaign for a team that's only had winning seasons twice since 1997. They also haven't won a playoff game since 1991, which was their only playoff win of the Super Bowl era. Last year's stumble was particularly special, however, as 6-3 optimism was dashed by a 1-6 end to the season that included a last-minute loss on a 61-yard field goal by the Baltimore Ravens' Justin Tucker. Not surprisingly, coach Jim Schwartz was fired for leading the whole mess.
The Lions' concessions people can get as angry as they'd like, but beer served at Ford Field at any price is only numbing fans to the continued pain inflicted by their team.
7. Seattle Seahawks
Price of a small draft beer: $8 for 16 ounces
Price per ounce: 50 cents
The Super Bowl champion pretty much has free rein to do whatever it wants with beer prices, and Russell Wilson, Marshawn Lynch, Richard Sherman and company gave Seahawks concessionaires license to raise prices to the roof with their domination of the Denver Broncos in February.
That they opted to do nothing and leave beer prices flat is nothing shy of miraculous.
Forget that this is a town where there are countless small breweries and brewpubs that will give you pints of great beer for about half the price you'll find at CenturyLink Field. Forget that this is a town where, for the rest of the year, soccer outdraws baseball and hiking and biking outdraw just about any summer sport that keeps you seated and indoors. This is Seattle, and football season brings back the cold and rain. In that environment, a winning Seahawks team is about the only bright spot you can find. There will be a time to complain about high stadium beer prices, but this isn't it.
6. Tie: Baltimore Ravens/San Francisco 49ers
Price of a small draft beer: $8.25 for 20 ounces in Baltimore, $10.25 for 20 ounces in San Francisco
Price per ounce: 51 cents
The 49ers moved into their new home in Santa Clara just a year after losing the NFC Championship game by the length of Richard Sherman's fingertips and opened this season as one of the first NFL teams to charge more than $10 for a beer.
With much of last year's supporting cast back and new weapons like wide receiver Anquan Boldin in the mix, the 49ers are feeling pretty good about their chances for some payback against the Seahawks this year. They're also feeling pretty great about squeezing some of their new Silicon Valley neighbors for some extra beer money while adding insult to their longtime San Francisco fans' injury by tacking a huge bar bill onto a long game-day commute.
Even with that lofty beer price, however, San Francisco head coach Jim Harbaugh still has to feel more comfortable among NFL fans that his brother. Though he beat his brother in the Super Bowl just two years ago, Baltimore head coach John Harbaugh has a lot more weighing on his mind this season than high beer prices this season.
5. Tie: Dallas Cowboys and Kansas City Chiefs
Price of a small draft beer: $8.50 for 16 ounces in Dallas
Price per ounce: 53 cents
It's not easy being a Chiefs fan. In spite of playing in one of the loudest, most historic stadiums in the league, the Chiefs haven't won a playoff game in 20 years.
Also, despite playing in two of the first four Super Bowls, the Chiefs haven't made it to a Super Bowl or won one in 44 years. Coach Andy Reid and quarterback Alex Smith are trying to change that, but a crushing playoff loss to the Colts last year isn't exactly instilling confidence as beer prices rise.
Meanwhile, in owner Jerry Jones's stadium wonderland of giant screens at midfield and dancing girls in the cages around the stadium, Jones sits aware that the Cowboys haven't won a Super Bowl since 1995, have won one playoff game since 1997 and haven't made the playoffs since 2009, though, and he's held the line on prices for much of the life of his new stadium.
The team even gave AT&T naming rights to Cowboys Stadium to generate more cash. Meanwhile, the Cowboys just finished their third-straight 8-8 season, the defense is leaky, special teams are nothing to write home about and the offense hinges on the health of 34-year-old Tony Romo — who has been sacked 35 times or more in each of the past three seasons. Head coach Jason Garrett is a depressing 29-27 since taking over the team in 2010, which has only made JerryWorld's bells and whistles more welcome distractions amid the disappointment.
Holding the line of beer prices is great and all, but keeping Romo healthy and finishing atop a very winnable NFC East would make fans in Big D far happier.
4. Oakland Raiders
Price of a small draft beer: $10.75 for 20 ounces
Price per ounce: 54 cents
Man, what happened to the kinder, gentler Mark Davis?
The Raiders' owner was seen as a benevolent respite from his late father, Al, but has turned O.co Coliseum into the House Of No.
Want to accept the 49ers' offer to share a stadium in Santa Clara? No. Want to let baseball's Oakland A's sign a 10-year lease at the new Coliseum while you make up your mind? No. Want to hear reasonable offers from anyone before jetting off to San Antonio and pretending you have any concrete plans to move the team there? No.
Nope, instead the Mark Davis Raiders are going to continue the “Commitment To Excellence” his father began by continuing to lose and have home games blacked out on television. Only in Oakland were two 8-8 seasons in 2010 and 2011 considered steps in the right direction. The Raiders walked back expectations quickly with two straight 4-12 campaigns played in a building so decrepit that the sewers back up into the locker room.
In the meantime, it's making fans shell out $3.75 more for its smallest beer than it did two years ago. Yes, that's more expensive than a beer in the newer, far more plush Levi's Stadium that Davis said no to. If new pickups Matt Schaub, Maurice Jones-Drew, Justin Tuck and Khalil Mack don't come through, it could be yet another bleak year in the Black Hole.
3. New Orleans Saints
Price of a small draft beer: $9 for 16 ounces
Price per ounce: 56 cents
There's nothing big nor easy about this beer.
Last season, the Saints offered one of the cheapest beers per ounce in the league. Its 24-ounce, $8.50 "small" beer clocked in at 35 cents per ounce and was the second least-expensive beer in the NFL. Then the Saints went 11-5 only to lose to the eventual Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks on a flubbed lateral.
In a booze-soaked city like New Orleans, where the pre-game drink options are both reasonable and ample, providing some beer value doesn't hurt. Giving fans a franchise quarterback like Drew Brees and that 2009 Super Bowl win certainly don't hurt, either. Jacking up the prices after disappointing seasons, however, is just going to keep most of fans' beer money on Bourbon Street rather than inside the Superdome.
2. Arizona Cardinals
Price of a small draft beer: $9 for 16 ounces
Price per ounce: 56 cents
Yet another warm-weather team with no idea of what the term "consolation prize" means.
The Cardinals have made the playoffs only three times since 1994. Last year's Cardinals' 10-6 record last year would have been good enough for a playoff berth in 2009, but fell short for 2014. Meanwhile, the franchise posted exactly four winning seasons in the last 30 yearst: All after moving to Arizona in 1988.
You'd think that would be enough to encourage management to throw fans a cheap cold one for their troubles, but no. Ownership has raised average ticket prices more than 20% from 2012 season based on just about nothing. The front office also saddled taxpayers with $308 million of the $455 million cost of building University of Phoenix Stadium in 2006. There are no deals in Arizona: Only dry heat and evaporating beer money.
1. Philadelphia Eagles
Price of a small draft beer: $8.50 for 12 ounces
Price per ounce: 71 cents
Somehow, the Eagles managed to make their beer price the most obscene thing you'll experience at Lincoln Financial Field.
Not the language, fists and bodily secretions hurled at fans in opposing teams' jerseys. Not snowballs whipped at opposing coaches. Not the boos rained down on anthem singers and Santa Claus. Not even the D batteries smuggled over from Citizens Bank Park after the Phillies' season comes to a merciful end.
No, it's a beer price that starts at $8.50 for the equivalent of a can of Bud. For the budget-conscious Philly fans wondering if their money is better spent on some roast pork and broccoli rabe before the game or a small beer during it, just keep in mind that a six pack of cans at that unit price would sell for $51.
— Written by Jason Notte in Portland, Ore.
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