The National Football League kicks off their 2021-2022 season on September 9, and with it will come the return of fans to the stands. While NFL fans still watched in great enough numbers to make NFL games 69 of the 100 most-watched broadcasts of last year, for many, the game just wasn’t the same with empty stadiums.
With fans allowed back into stadiums for this season, things can return to normal. For many NFL diehards that includes spending money on things like food, drinks, and merchandise while cheering on their favorite squad in person.
But which fan bases will be shelling out the most and least money while supporting their teams this year? To find out, we surveyed over 1,500 fans representing every team in the league to see how much they spend on food, alcohol, fan apparel, and more.
Read on to find out which fans are most likely to open their wallets in support of their squads and which fans keep their money locked up tighter than a shut-down defensive back.
- NFL fans who spend the most money on stadium concessions
- NFL fans who spend the least money on stadium concessions
- NFL fans who spend the most money on alcohol at games
- NFL fans who spend the least money on alcohol at games
- NFL fans who spend the most money on team merchandise and gear
- NFL fans who spend the least money on team merchandise and gear
- Full team-by-team survey results
- Ways to save while supporting your favorite NFL team
NFL fans who spend the most money on stadium concessions
One of the primary things our survey focused on was how much fans of different teams spend on food and beverages. We found out how much people typically spend buying concessions for themselves as well as for people they may attend a game with. We then added those totals together to find the total amount of money fans spend on stadium snacks.
They say that everything is bigger in Texas, and that includes spending at the stadium. The two fan bases that spend the most money on in-stadium food on game days support the two Lone Star State franchises — Houston Texan fans are the top spenders while Dallas Cowboy fans are second. The Texans are also the only team with fans who spend more than $150 on average on game day.
Texans and Cowboy fans are also two of three fan bases that spend more than $50 over the league-wide average of $95.03. The other team with free-spending and hungry fans is the Baltimore Ravens. Cleveland Browns fans are also worth mentioning as they are less than $2 away from meeting that threshold.
NFL fans who spend the least money on stadium concessions
On the other side, we also found the teams with fans who spend the least amount of money on game-day treats. We found that fans of the Carolina Panthers are the most frugal at the stadium, spending less than half what the average NFL fan does.
One interesting team that made the bottom ten here is the Green Bay Packers. Packers fans are some of the most dedicated in the league, and demand for season tickets is so high it takes decades to get seats. Yet, Packer fans spend very little money once they are inside Lambeau Field, according to our survey.
At first, it seems odd that such a passionate fan base would cheapen out once they get to a game, but that low spending makes a lot more sense once you consider that the tailgating scene at Lambeau Field is one of the best in the entire NFL, meaning many Packer fans fill up on food and drink well before they ever step foot inside the stadium.
NFL fans who spend the most money on alcohol at games
We also dove into the specifics to determine how much different fan bases spend just on alcoholic beverages while at the stadium. Our survey found the average NFL fan spends $41.36 on alcoholic beverages when they attend a game.
New Orleans Saints fans blow by that total, letting the good times roll in the Big Easy and dropping nearly $65 each when they attend a game at the Superdome.
Another fan base that finished in the top three has a reputation for rowdiness (including regularly smashing up tables in the parking lot). We’re talking about the Bills Mafia. The Buffalo Bills fans join followers of the Saints and New England Patriots as the only fan bases that average more than $60 spent on in-stadium alcohol.
NFL fans who spend the least money on alcohol at games
We found that Panther fans are once again the least likely to splurge on game day. Carolina supporters spend the lowest average amount on general food and drink when they go to games, so it isn’t surprising to see their alcohol-specific spending is so low too.
Panther fans average less than half the league average when it comes to alcohol spending, shelling out just $15.04 per game. The second-place finishers on this list, the New York Giants fan base, spend over $11 more than that on in-stadium alcohol purchases.
NFL fans who spend the most money on team merchandise and gear
Of course, attending games and spending at the concession stand is not the only way to support your team. Wearing team gear and merchandise is the most visible way to display your allegiance in everyday life. So we also asked our survey respondents to tell us how much they spend on team-branded clothing and accessories for themselves and their families.
Once again, Texans fans lead the pack, spending an average of $380.17 on team gear annually. That is well over double the league-wide average amount spent on merchandise, which comes in at $153.55.
Two other fan bases join the Texans by spending more than twice the average amount on merch — fans of the Los Angeles Rams and Cleveland Browns also hit that mark.
NFL fans who spend the least money on team merchandise and gear
In terms of teams that spend the least on team-branded clothing and accessories, only two fan bases average less than $100 annually spent on these kinds of purchases. Those are the fans of the Indianapolis Colts and the Detroit Lions, with Denver Bronco fans being less than one dollar away from joining them.
Interestingly, 75% of the teams in the NFC North appear on this particular list. Fans of the Lions, Chicago Bears, and Minnesota Vikings are all among those who spend the least. In fact, those three fan bases make up half of the top six when it comes to the lowest average annual merchandise spending.
Full team-by-team survey results
For those interested in the full data set, we put together this chart showing how each team did in all three categories we evaluated through our survey. Teams are grouped by division.
|Team||Average $ spent on all food and drink when at game||Average $ spent on alcoholic beverages when at game||Annual average $ spent on team merchandise|
|New England Patriots||$137.18||$60.81||$156.40|
|New York Jets||$77.47||$38.68||$113.16|
|Kansas City Chiefs||$87.11||$36.02||$170.45|
|Las Vegas Raiders||$129.07||$51.48||$226.49|
|Los Angeles Chargers||$74.49||$31.49||$193.61|
|New York Giants||$108.16||$26.25||$158.32|
|Washington Football Team||$106.08||$45.11||$103.77|
|Green Bay Packers||$77.07||$38.79||$125.19|
|New Orleans Saints||$115.00||$64.81||$160.99|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||$112.45||$45.45||$144.58|
|Los Angeles Rams||$99.47||$55.00||$332.08|
|San Francisco 49ers||$111.69||$49.24||$210.31|
Ways to save while supporting your favorite NFL team
No matter who you root for this NFL season, here are some ways to save money while supporting your team:
- Save on team gear while shopping online. Outside of the team store, there is nowhere better than the internet to find team clothing and apparel. Be sure to check out our review of Capital One Shopping to see how it could help you save money while filling up your digital shopping cart.
- Get rewarded for online purchases. Not all credit cards are created equal when it comes to online shopping. Our breakdown of the best credit cards for online shopping can help you maximize points when buying things like team gear and game tickets online.
- Earn things like tickets and special experiences. Some credit card reward programs can earn cardholders things like tickets to see their favorite team. If that’s something that interests the fan in you, be sure to check out how to use a Chase Sapphire Preferred or Sapphire Reserve card to earn unforgettable experiences.
FinanceBuzz surveyed over 1,500 NFL fans, including a minimum of 20 fans of every single team in the league, between May and July of 2021. Respondents were asked to outline their spending and fandom habits during a typical NFL season, such as those prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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