The 9 Biggest Rip-Offs for Sports Fans
Word came down from high atop the mountain (the Internet) yesterday that the price tag for the Manny Pacquiao Floyd Mayweather fight would be a record-setting $99, and if for some bizarre reason you didn’t want an HD broadcast, congrats. Your price is only $89. Whee! Ten dollar savings!
It’s no surprise that the price of the fight is so high, given the public’s anticipation, but where does this rank among the biggest rip-offs for sports fans? We went through a roster of them (there’s no shortage), and this pricing wouldn’t even make the list, if only because it’s a one-time hit, and many of the entries here are repeated hits to sports fans’ wallets, making them the biggest rip-offs.
Take a look as we navigate the crasser, greedier side of sports. The side that’s engineered to take your ticket money, then your beer money, and your parking money, then have the nerve to charge you for a seat license before we even get to those.
9. ParkingI’m not going to go all Andy Rooney and contend that beer should be a nickel. I know that a lot of money comes from concessions, and stadium operations are actually pretty damn expensive to run. I also understand that if you don’t raise prices, the guy that spent $300 on his playoff tickets will treat $6 beers like a rounding error and drink like John Bonham until he gets behind the wheel, passes out, or starts a fight. But there’s no excuse for watering down beer, offering lower-alcohol beer (this one’s debatable, but notify the customer), or misrepresenting the size of the beers. I don’t need to go further, do I? This is just common sense and common decency.
8. Crappy Beer Practices at EventsWhat a racket. No one should have to submit themselves to preseason sports under any circumstances, let alone be forced to buy tickets to a slug of preseason games at far above market price. Here’s a novel idea: If you can’t people to voluntarily pay for a product (preseason games), then maybe consider dropping the price of the product or increasing the quality. Since the latter is a pipe-dream, maybe just kill preseason games or drastically reduced the number of games we’re subjected to.
7. Preseason Games with Season TicketsUgh. These are tantamount to a fan tax. You know what works just fine as a seat license? A ticket. They’re like little seat licenses for every game. No need to be redundant by charging fans tens of thousands of dollars to get dibs on seats that they’re buying tickets for anyway. Maybe they should also be assessed a fee for looking at the field, or sitting in their seats. I’m sure that Dan Snyder is already working on some sort of special field that’s only visible with $50,000 glasses.
6. Seat LicensesI can’t speak to the sports world at large, though I understand the rationale for standing room only tickets at say, a golf tournament, but if you can’t put a person in a seat inside your football stadium, JERRY JONES, then maybe don’t sell them a ticket. Sure, they’ll pay for them, because fans are loyal and devoted to the point of being irrational, but that doesn’t make an owner any less of a slumlord for packing fans in with no sight lines. If anything, it can turn dangerous when these fired up goofballs are left with no game to watch and access to lots and lots and lots of alcohol.
5. Standing Room Only SeatsThis might not be universal (Sunday Ticket seems to be pretty strong so long as you are willing to buy into DirecTV), but the NBA League pass is a nightmare for cord-cutters. This will be a rant, so stay tuned. You don’t get local games, which means, as an LA resident who really doesn’t care about the Lakers or Clippers, I’m prohibited from watching any game those two teams play in. Also, I get no nationally televised games (aka “the best games”), and no playoff games. So if I want to watch my Mavs, I better hope that the game I paid for isn’t on TNT, ABC, ESPN, or even NBA TV. And they can’t be playing either of TWO teams (Lakers and Clippers) in their conference. That leaves…not a lot of games I paid almost $200 for.
4. TV Sports Packages
I can’t really blame the owners for trying to get public assistance here, but I’m VERY comfortable blaming politicians, lobbyists, and citizens who think that a good use of public tax money is to help take a sports from “very profitable” to “insanely profitable.” I won’t deny that a sports team can be a cultural touchpoint for a city, but it doesn’t need a $1 billion stadium to serve that purpose. It’s not a museum, it’s not a school, and it’s not new roads. It’s a luxury that should be borne by the rich owners.