Survey: What’s the Score on Consumer Spending This Football Season?

Quick Answer

Fans will spend an average of $743 on football-related purchases throughout the 2023 football season, according to an Experian survey.

Three football fans sitting on the couch watching the game with beverages and snacks.

Experian surveyed 847 Americans on their football-related spending. Survey conducted August 21-22, 2023. The sample was collected using a third-party company and was not from Experian's consumer credit database.

You may not have to worry about the cost of adding another streaming subscription if you tailgate on game day, but have you considered how much more the beer and brät will set you back this season?

To learn more about game day purchasing habits, Experian asked football fans for details on what they spend for both the pregame experience and during a football game, which could include anything from chips and salsa on the couch to season tickets on the 50-yard line.

Fans Say They Will Spend an Average of $743 Watching and Attending Games This Season

For many, the stats added up quickly. Experian found that fans expect to spend an average of $743 on football purchases throughout the 2023 season, whether it be college, pro or under the Friday night lights.

Most survey respondents said they'll probably spend about the same amount that they did during the 2022 football season, though there's evidence more fans will be playing financial defense in 2023 versus last year. Nearly a third of those we asked (32%) said they'll be spending less this season.

Question: Thinking of what you plan to spend on football expenses this year, is it more or less than you spent last year?

Cutting back is understandable: Although overall inflation has subsided to 3.7% as of August 2023, according to the consumer price index, admission to sporting events have climbed by 7.2% over the same period. Adding to the financial pressure, credit card interest rates have climbed to an average above 22% APR.

About 1 in 5 (21%) said they anticipate that they'll overspend on football this year, with 12% of fans saying they're likely to go into debt this season to finance their football fandom. Some fans say they've gone into debt for the sport in the past, and a few admitted that spending on football has had a negative effect on their credit score.

Some Football Fans Have Gone Into Debt Due to Football Spending in the Past

In a separate Experian survey of 3,200 consumers fielded in August, 1 in 5 football fans said they'd be willing to take on a $5,000 debt to get to see their team win a championship this year. A higher percentage, 33%, would sign up for a different football Faustian bargain: They would eliminate their outstanding debt in exchange for their favorite NFL team not winning a championship for another 20 years.

On the other side of the ball, nearly one-third (32%) of fans will exclusively use cash or debit cards when it comes to spending on football, versus 21% who will use credit cards exclusively for tailgating, tickets and other football costs this year. The rest say they will use a mix of both (44%) or don't expect to have any football-related expenses (2%).

Most Fans Keeping Spending on the Ground This Year

Although inflation has slowed in recent months, its impact on all prices is affecting the financial play calling of many fans, at least for the next set of downs.

Question: In what ways will inflation impact what you plan on spending during football season?

Most say they'll watch more or all games at home this season (thankfully, TV blackouts are largely a thing of the past), while only 14% of fans say rising costs won't affect their football-based spending.

We may be seeing fewer sold-out games this season as well. As many as 30% of fans expect to curtail their attendance, either by purchasing cheaper or fewer tickets or forgoing game attendance altogether. Cutting back on the live experience will potentially help fans realize savings, as well as save more than a few folding tables in Western New York.

No matter how much or little fans plan on spending, keeping your spending in-bounds may help put some extra points on your credit score. By making on-time payments and keeping their credit utilization low, fans can take some credit when their team wins.

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Methodology: The analysis results provided are based on an Experian-created statistically relevant aggregate sampling of our consumer credit database that may include use of the FICO® Score 8 version. Different sampling parameters may generate different findings compared with other similar analysis. Analyzed credit data did not contain personal identification information. Metro areas group counties and cities into specific geographic areas for population censuses and compilations of related statistical data.

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