If you’re a football fan living in New England, times are good.
For 11 of the past 12 seasons, the Patriots have dominated the AFC Eastern division and vied as a contender in the playoffs. Fresh off of last year’s Super Bowl XXXVIII victory, they’re off to a dominant 6-0 start in 2015.
But this success comes with a dark side: it’s incredibly difficult to get a ticket to a home game!
For the truly committed fan, however, there is a simple hack you can employ to see your favorite team play: travel to an away game. While doing this is generally pretty pricey (the average flight/hotel/game ticket total falls between $400-$900), some teams are more affordable to see on the road than others.
Previously, we took at look at how much it costs to attend various NFC away games; here, we’ll focus on the AFC.
As a refresher, in our prior post, we used our data to calculate the cost of seeing your favorite NFL team on the road.
Our analysis included three cost factors: 1) The cost of hotel near a given NFL stadium for a night during football season; 2) The average cost of flying into the major airports closest to NFL stadiums during football season; and 3) The cost of getting a last-minute game ticket.
Using this data, we ranked all NFL teams from most to least expensive to see on the road. Far and away, the priciest place to see a game was Green Bay, Wisconsin, where a very good team and a huge fan base boosts not only ticket prices, but the cost of airfare and hotels during home game weeks.
On this list, the New England Patriots’ Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, MA, is the most expensive place to visit in the AFC. Diving a little deeper into AFC teams only, let’s take a look at how they stack up against each other.
The Pittsburgh Steelers and Denver Broncos, both perennial football powers, round out the top 3 most expensive places to see a road game in the AFC. While the Steelers have surprisingly affordable tickets ($105, compared to the Patriots’ $185 and Broncos’ $219), the average flight into the city is among the list’s most expensive. The Broncos, on the other hand, have the most expensive tickets on the list, yet the cheapest average hotels.
If you’re looking for the best deal on any AFC game, the Buffalo Bills are your best bet. With hotels averaging only $78 per night and tickets priced around $69, a trip to Ralph Wilson Stadium runs roughly $453 — more than $200 cheaper than seeing the Patriots.
So, what about your team in particular?
Below, we put together a table of remaining road games for every AFC team, along with the total estimated cost to attend each game. Games that are expensive (top 20% percentile) are in red, games that are relatively cheap (bottom 30%) are in green, and those that are “medium-affordable” (middle 50%) are in yellow:
So, if you’re “cursed” by rooting for a team that is so successful it’s impossible to get a home ticket (we’re looking at you, Patriots fans), maybe you should try the road. Of course, if your team is doing really well right now, these prices could significantly escalate as the playoff race heats up. If you plan on taking a trip, it’s probably best to lock in your flights, hotels, and game tickets sooner rather than later.
Methodology: Hipmunk analyzed average nightly hotel prices at each stadium city location and average round trip airfare to nearest stadium airport during football season. Ticket prices were determined by analyzing the average prices of remaining away games starting in November, as provided by TiqIQ. Note that prices change daily depending on available inventory and in no way does Hipmunk guarantee the prices listed.