Inflation Blitzes Football Season, Raising Tailgating Costs


Friday, September 23rd 2022, 8:32 am

By: CBS News


Touchdown drives and goal-line stands aren't the only thing football fans have to worry about this season. Americans could face sharply higher prices during the 2022-23 season as ticket, food and travel costs soar, according to a new report.

The findings, released Monday by Wells Fargo, show that inflation has driven costs around attending football games into the red zone, as the consumer price index hit 8.5% in July — a nearly 40-year high. 

"Fans are dealing with some of the fastest inflation we've seen in decades," Michael Pugliese, an economist at Wells Fargo, told CBS News. "Prices have surged over the past year for gasoline, flights and many of the staple foods found at tailgates."

Travel expenses are expected to have the biggest strain on consumer wallets. 

"If fans are hoping to catch a flight to see their favorite team, airfares have catapulted 28% higher over the past year," he said. 

According to AAA, prices at the pump have continued to fall nationwide, with a gallon of regular falling below $4 in August for the first time in five months. Yet football fans may still feel the pinch as prices are up 25% compared to last year. 

"The big takeaway? If fans are able, taking mass transit may be the way to go as those costs are virtually flat year-over-year," Pugliese said. 

Fans continue to face high prices once they arrive at the game, which could sack those pre-game parking lot parties for a loss. The cost of groceries jumped 13.1% in July from a year ago — the biggest one-year increase since March of 1979. 

Chicken, a fan favorite from wings to Buffalo dip, now costs 17.6% more than it did last year. Ground beef prices are also sizzling, up nearly 10%, pushing up burger prices. And pickles, relish, cheese, burger buns and condiments have seen double-digit price increases since July 2021.

Eager to fire up that parking lot grill? Firewood and gas propane tanks cost about 22% more than a year ago. 

However, it's not all bad news. Pork prices have risen 1.6% and hot dogs are up 5.3%, while beer has risen 4.6%, according to the report. Liquor and wine had nominal gains due to inflation, according to Wells Fargo. 

But don't expect the rising prices to keep football fans on the sidelines. The bank found that the average cost of attending an NFL game has risen every year since 2006. In 2021, it cost a whopping $568.18 to attend a game. 

If fans are really looking to save some cash, economists suggest saving that money at the ticket booth and investing in an upgraded TV. 

"TV prices have fallen 15% over the past year and cable/satellite prices have risen a relatively modest 3.6%," Pugliese said.

First published on August 22, 2022 / 5:10 PM

© 2022 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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