Where Does Your Ticket Money Go?

So you just bought your tickets for the next Seattle Seahawks game. How much did you end up spending? Maybe $75 if you are lucky, but most likely anywhere from $100-$300 based on current tickets available on Craigslist right now. Where does all that money go? Obviously it all goes to the Seahawks, but have you ever wondered, in more depth, what it really goes towards. Every team and sport is going to be a bit different, but the general concepts are pretty universal among any sports team. For this article and to keep math simple, I am going to assume you bought a ticket of some sort to some sport for $100.

The first and probably most obvious place to look first is the players. Between signing bonuses, performance bonuses, regular salaries and also benefits, you are actually seeing about 60% of the price of your ticket go towards player costs in some form. $60 goes towards player costs.

Stadium costs the second largest culprit in your ticket price with roughly 15%. This percentage can vary greatly depending on your stadium. Obviously if you have a newer stadium, a larger percentage may go towards stadium costs to help pay for it. Just like a new house, if something breaks, it tends to be expensive. On the other hand, having an older stadium means more up-keep and when something breaks, can mean even more money because your facilities are not exactly brand new. So lets chalk up $15 of your ticket to the stadium.

In third place we lump a couple different things together under the general administrative areas. These are things like sales office, front office, legal team, President, General Manager, etc. In any sport and on every team, these costs can vary greatly. Usually your more established and successful teams have general staff that is paid more. Including in this category are league costs as well. For instance, the NFL front office generally takes 2-3% of total revenue for their operations from every team. In general though, you can count on at least 13% of your ticket money going to this, so that’s $13.

In fourth place, you have team costs. This would include things like your favorite loved or completely hated coach, day-of-game costs, travelling on a jet plane to away games, bus travel for short trips, fancy new uniforms unless you are in tight with Phil Knight and you get uniforms for free in any color and crazy design the ducks think they can get away with according the NCAA. These costs, although can seem high, only account for about 5% of your ticket price. That means $5 goes towards team costs.

Taxes and Interest round out the top 5 with anywhere from 0-7% of your ticket money. This topic really depends on where you are and when your stadium was built. If your stadium was built with “public {taxes} money” then you are probably paying at least a couple dollars towards paying that debt off. If your team has an already successful owner, you could just be paying some miscellaneous debt that your team has incurred over the years. So lets call that $7 of your ticket for taxes and interest.

Now you have reached your $100 give or take a few dollars here and there. So when you go to buy your next ticket at the Moda Center for $148, PGE Park for $78, or a Seahawks game for $225, now you can impress your friends with a little deeper knowledge of the business side of sports. If you see me at a game though, don’t even get me started on $8 for a medium coke. That’s at least $7.80 of pure unadulterated profit.

About Arran Gimba