When looking at this post you will see that it has been given a rating of only 9% original content. I can assure you that the content in this post is 100% mine and it is merely coming up because I posted much of it before. I did not realize that cross-platform promotion of your own work would create a problem but with the new update, we will need to ensure to use Scorum first of make the content different. When I realized this happened I tried to delete it but it was too late. I have since gone back in and changed most of the post, even though it is my content to begin with. I hope this does not change your view of me as a writer. I sincerely did not plagiarize anything. I love that the platform has taken this stance on plagiarism and respect that completely.

I was listening to the local radio last week and there was lots of discussion about the huge drop in ticket sales for Ottawa Senators games. There have been reductions in both season ticket sales and single-game sales over the past few years, a trend that is becoming more visible across many different sports. I love attending live sporting events and to watch the pros in action is an absolute treat. When you are there you get to see just how fast and skilled the players are and you see the game from a different perspective than you get on television. To be perfectly honest though, I rarely ever attend a live sporting event anymore, at least not the professional leagues. I only went to one Ottawa Senators game last year and that was because my favourite team, the Edmonton Oilers, was in town. It is not that I don't want to go to more games and yes, I am a huge sports fan. I just simply cannot afford it. Realistically, not many people can.

The only reason I was able to go to the game last year was because I got a fantastic deal on the tickets. I got the tickets for $80 each. This was a great deal because the price of these tickets is usually $235 each. The cost of professional sports has gotten to a point where the average fan is now having a hard time attending games. Sports is no longer about the sport being played. The game has transitioned into a money making machine and an industry that rakes in billions and billions of dollars every single year. Spectators are more than just fans now. They are dollars and cents and every single dollar matters.

The sports market in North America was worth $60.5 billion in 2014. It is expected to reach $73.5 billion by 2019. The biggest reason for such growth is projected increases in revenue derived from media rights deals, which is predicted to surpass gate revenues as the sports industry's largest segment. [Source]

These profits for teams and leagues have translated into bigger players salaries. Everyone wants their piece of the pie. The more talented you are as a player, the more you are worth. Fans are coming to see you and as the driver of the audience, you can command a bigger piece of the revenues. There really is no adjustment on the fans side other than a transfer of cost. As salaries go up, costs go up and the team owners and media companies continue to rake in the cash.

These are just the average salaries. The best players make much more money of course. Often this creates a disparity on some teams. Some players make up to and more than 10 times the league average. Some of the highest paid players in the world are:

Player - League - Salary

Connor McDavid - NHL - $12,500,000

Steph Curry - NBA - $32,642,550

Cristiano Ronaldo - UEFA - $58,000,000

Clayton Kershaw - MLB - $35,571,428

Aaron Rodgers - NFL - $33,500,000

[Source 1], [Source 2]

It doesn't stop there. These salaries grow every year and as more money is being spent by media companies, the league get richer and shares more money with the teams. Sports agents are uber aware of all of this new incoming cash and are on the hunt for their clients share. Everytime a star player has their tie to sign a new contract, the averages go up. It is obscene the amount of money players are receiving in annual salary these days and there is no end in sight.

As more and more money is being made by these teams and leagues, there is a push to have the biggest and newest stadium. The stadiums and arenas are no longer just about housing a sporting event. They are now about providing the biggest and best entertainment product possible. Much of that having nothing to do with the game at all. Some of the newest stadiums have cost as much as $1 billion dollars. This is creating a level of fixed costs that are soaring for team owners. Where can they recoup these costs? Fans.

The new US Bank Stadium in Minnesota (over $1 Billion) Source

With all the money being shared by the big players in the industry and the chase for profits, the average fan is being left without a voice. Ticket prices are soaring and fans are finding it more and more difficult to afford games. I know that I can't afford to go to many games on my own let alone take my family.

The FCI is designed to somewhat mimic what a family of four would pay to take in a sporting event. For each club in a given sport, Team Marketing Report creates the FCI which comprises the prices of four (4) adult average-price tickets, two (2) small draft beers, four (4) small soft drinks, four (4) regular-size hot dogs, parking for one (1) car, two (2) game programs and two (2) least expensive, adult-size adjustable caps.
Below shows the average FCI for each of the major leagues in the most recent season:
Major League Baseball - $212.46
National Basketball Association - $326.60
National Hockey League - $359.17
National Football League - $459.65                                                                                            Source

This has made it very difficult for the average family to attend sporting events these days. It requires a large amount of disposable income in order to be able to afford to pay for these events. It is possible to reduce the cost a little but even just the price of a ticket and parking can be overwhelming. Parking alone can cost upwards of $30 or more. Just to buy a beer at a Canadian Hockey game can cost $11 and a soda can cost up to $5. With prices so high, fans are being forced to choose where they are going to spend their entertainment money more wisely. For me personally, the only reason I was able to attend the game last year was that I was able to get a great deal on the seats. I could never afford to pay full price for those tickets. The costs above are average costs. A premium ticket can more than double the cost just to get in the door.

Canadian Tire Center during an Ottawa Senators game last year.  Source

The cost of attending a game is starting to impact attendance. Fans are now looking more closely at where they are spending their entertainment dollar and are now being forced to choose between sporting events and more affordable choices. The evolution of television and HD quality television fans can watch the games in the comfort of their own home for much less. Often, what you are able to see at home is even better than at the game because there are some seats that don't have access to all angles of view. Ever pay $200 for low-level hockey tickets and not be able to see the corners?

As long as the cost of running teams continues to grow at an exponential rate, I see no way that the cost of tickets, parking, concessions and merchandise will ever reduce. Watching live sports is becoming an event for those who are considered wealthy or higher middle class. This is an unfortunate shift because watching a game live has a tremendously different feel than watching it on T.V. The emotional connection with the team and the other fans. Being part of special moments. This can be where a young athlete's dreams are born. I am a huge fan of attending live events but I can no longer afford to attend the professional games. I couldn’t just give up attending live sports so I have shifted my live sports viewing to minor leagues and amateur sports. The quality of the games can still be very good and in many of these leagues, the players are fighting to get to the pros. They are giving their best efforts every single night to prove just how good they are. It can be a very entertaining product and for a fraction of the cost to attend a professional sporting event. Next time you are itching to attend a sporting event, head out to see some o the amateur talent out there. You won’t regret it.

Junior hockey and high-level amateur sports are lots of fun to watch Source

Thanks for reading. I would love to hear your thoughts on watching live sports. Do you attend games often? Has the cost become too much for you? What do you think of the amounts of money being paid in player salaries and ticket prices? I look forward to hearing your opinions.