Attending a soccer game in person can be one of the best sports experiences you can have. But how deep will you have to dig into your pockets to get in the door? The cost of going to a soccer match varies wildly depending on what kind of game, and where, you are interested in.
Getting to the game
To narrow down the cost of heading out to a game, first we must decide on which game.
If it is not a local game, you’ll need to think about travel costs before even worrying about how much your seat on the ground will run you.
This could include nothing more than a tank of gas, maybe a train or bus fare, or perhaps a few hundred bucks (or more) for a hotel stay. Longer distances will require airfare which can easily up the cost into the thousands.
When you get to the match, if driving yourself, parking is a big consideration. This is especially true for fans and games in the USA. Some large suburban stadium complexes have vast parking lots. Downtown or neighborhood venues usually require finding a smaller lot or street parking space in the area. Either way, be prepared to fork over cash to park your vehicle. This can run from just $5-10 to sometimes extortionary fees upwards of $50 or more per car. It is a good idea to research your venue’s parking situation beforehand, so you know what you are up against.
So now you know where you’re going – now to secure your ticket!
Pick your tix
These days you’ve got a multitude of ways to purchase a ticket to a match. Most people choose online methods, either directly from the club or venue or via a third-party service.
Usually, by purchasing directly from the club, you will get a better deal and avoid various fees. You can do this online, by phone, or the old-fashioned way at the stadium box office. But for popular games, purchasing ahead of time is the only way to make sure you will get a seat.
Browsing the secondary, resale market can net you a cheap ticket at the last minute, but this is a gamble – sometimes you can be stuck paying more than face value or get no ticket at all.
How much will a ticket to a soccer match cost? It could be just a few dollars, or even nothing at all, for a grassroots or lower-level match. Tickets to professional games usually cannot be found cheaper than $10 or $15. But depending on the circumstances it can range significantly.
For example, a Premier League ticket for a Liverpool game at Anfield starts at just £9, or about $11. However, the majority of tickets there are £30/$37 and up. A spot in Dortmund’s famed “Yellow Wall” will run you about $20- if you can get one of the handful of the 80,000 seats in the building that don’t sell out immediately.
Closer to home, MLS single-game tickets usually start in the $20-$30 range for many seats.
High-profile games, like continental competitions or playoff finals, and even summer friendlies, can cost much more even for nosebleed seats.
Finding value with season tickets
If you plan to make a habit of going to games, consider getting a season ticket. The per-game price goes down if you buy season tickets to your local club, but of course, this requires a larger investment overall. The low end in the USA for top division soccer is in the $200-$300 area for supporters’ section season tickets. If your team happens to have Lionel Messi on the roster, however, you can expect to pay substantially more.
Your local amateur club, such as those in NPSL or USL League Two, often offer season tickets for as little as $75 or less, however. This is a great way to get your live soccer fix and have some fun without spending a ton of money.
The additional cost of attending a soccer match
So, you’ve made it to the ground and you have your ticket. Great! You can leave your wallet in your pocket now, right? Well…
There is a quintessential part of the live sports experience that goes beyond the game itself, though it is technically entirely optional.
Whether before, during, or after the game, it’s almost impossible to resist grabbing food, drinks, and souvenirs. Be it the pub, concession stand, or team shop, there are plenty of opportunities to turn a $20 ticket into a $200+ experience.
While there is a recent trend, started in Atlanta by Atlanta United and the NFL Falcons, to offer “value menu” items like hot dogs and popcorn at reasonable prices, most offerings still cost a pretty penny at venues. You can figure a minimum of $10-$15 for a single food item and a (non-alcoholic) drink.
The Bottom Line
So how much does it cost to attend a soccer match? Let’s assume you’re attending local and don’t need special travel accommodations.
For a non-premium, but also non-standing area, ticket to the average game, you are looking at the $25-$40 range. Throw in a basic meal (food item plus a soft drink or water), and that’s $10-$15 in the best case. So, in total, the per-person cost, not counting travel or any parking fees, will be between $40-$55.
If you can manage to avoid the temptation to pick up the latest kit at the team store, that’s not too bad.
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