Tackle your finances to cheer on your college football team

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When it comes to spending on college football games, it’s go big or go home.

According to SunTrust-sponsored analysis by Wakefield Research, the average costs for college football fans in the Southeast this season will be $1,212. The average cost increases to $4,232 if hotel stays are included.

Still, fans are in it to win it! According to a SunTrust survey conducted by Harris Poll, 72 percent of self-proclaimed college football fans are willing to give up something to save for tickets, lodging, tailgating, team merchandise and other activities.

With a few savings tips, fans can build confidence to score victories on the field and in their finances. Here are a few tips to help you enjoy the season without racking up penalties:

  1. Build a game plan – When it’s third and seven, the right play can make all the difference. The same goes for your finances. Start by building a budget that’s based on the things you value most. Whether it’s saving for championship tickets or buying a new home, recognizing what is important can help you prioritize where your money should be spent.
  2. Down, Set, Save!Tackle your savings goals by setting aside money for your own “fan fund.” And to keep your savings consistent and on track, set up automatic transfers into your fan fund for an “Automatic First Down!”
  3. Go long! – Set up an investment strategy that will help you score lifelong touchdowns. These smart investments will help you achieve long-term goals like retirement savings while also enjoying home game season tickets in the meantime.

Research Methodology

The Southeast college football fan cost analysis was created by Wakefield Research using publicly available data. Each of the 14 teams included in the study were assessed across 14 variables (seven major and seven sub-variables). Unless otherwise stated, “ticketing” includes “ticket price” and “donation”. Data was collected between August 13-23, 2018. Ticket Price: The lowest priced season ticket providing access to 7 home games per team.

  • Donation: The lowest priced season ticket donation amount.
  • Parking: The sum of individual parking passes for each home game of the season, available through StubHub.
  • Merchandise: The average price of a jersey plus the average of the highest and lowest priced cap listed at the official store of each team.
  • Tailgating: The price of a single cooler and portable grill plus the price of seven purchase (one for each home game) of: a case of beer, a 10lb bag of ice, a bag of 50 plastic cups, and two packs of 10 hot dogs.
  • Stadium Concessions: The price of a hot dog plus a regular soda at each team’s home stadium.
  • Hotel: The average cost of a one-night stay in a minimum 3-star hotel within 3.5 miles of the stadium. Two games are used as a proxy for the season: The Saturdays when each team plays their second and third game in their home city against an SEC opponent.


Survey Methodology

This survey was conducted online within the U.S. by The Harris Poll on behalf of SunTrust from Aug. 21-23, 2018 of 2,035 adults ages 18 and older, among whom 916 are fans of college football. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.


This content does not constitute legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment advice. You are encouraged to consult with competent legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment professionals based on your specific circumstances. We do not make any warranties as to accuracy or completeness of this information, do not endorse any third-party companies, products, or services described here, and take no liability for your use of this information.