'Winflation': Breaking down higher costs for fans of successful sports teams

The unveiling of Liverpool Football Club’s new soccer jersey, priced at a steep $160 for the shirt alone, is more than just a product release—it’s a clear sign of the "Winflation" impacting fans globally.

This phenomenon, where the cost of being a fan rises as teams perform better, highlights a troubling trend in sports. Amidst an already challenging economic climate, this sharp increase in fan expenses is a stark reminder of the growing financial burden facing sports fanatics. 

This trend, however, is not limited to soccer and has broad implications for sports enthusiasts across the U.S., sparking discussions about how escalating prices are pushing sports away from their working-class origins.

Here's a detailed breakdown of the expenses fans can expect when attending games across different major sports in the U.S., emphasizing how these costs can accumulate to a significant sum.


Attending an NFL game has become costly, especially in recent years. According to a 2023 report by Bookies.com, the average cost for a family of four to attend an NFL game last year climbed to $646.88, marking a 17% increase from the previous year. 

This spike is part of a broader trend in which ticket prices have surged as fans quickly returned to stadiums post-pandemic, seeking the full game-day experience. Notably, teams that are performing well see even higher costs due to increased demand.


Taylor Swift celebrates with fans during the AFC Wild Card Playoffs between the Miami Dolphins and the Kansas City Chiefs at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium on January 13, 2024 in Kansas City, Missouri.

  • Most expensive gameday: The Las Vegas Raiders hold the record for the priciest NFL game day, with costs for a family of four averaging $1,381.96.
  • Least expensive gameday: In contrast, attending an Atlanta Falcons game is considerably more affordable, with costs averaging just $293.10 for a family.
  • Ticket prices: Ticket prices are the major contributor to these costs. For example, the average ticket price for the Raiders is now over $300, while Eagles tickets are just over $250.
  • Parking costs: Parking also varies significantly, from $24 at Falcons games to $100 for Raiders games, reflecting the range of game day experiences across different stadiums.
  • Concession costs: While general concession prices have remained relatively steady, they still contribute to the overall expense. For instance, two beers at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles can cost nearly $30, showcasing the high end of NFL concession pricing.


Taking your family to a Major League Baseball (MLB) game remains a cherished tradition in America. However, according to a January 2024 report by MoneyGeek, the financial commitment to enjoy this pastime can be substantial. Here’s a detailed breakdown of the costs involved:

  • Average cost for a family of four: A day at the ballpark costs an average of $140, but this figure varies depending on the team and the game.
  • Ticket prices: The cheapest average ticket across MLB is $17.67, but this can soar to $35.90 for popular teams like the Boston Red Sox. Conversely, fans can attend a Miami Marlins game for as little as $7.43, showcasing the wide range in ticket pricing.
  • Parking and concessions: For a family of four attending a Los Angeles Dodgers game, the total cost can reach $218, including $127 for tickets, $27 for parking, and $65 for food and drink.
  • Game day variations: Attending games on weekdays can save a family an average of $25 compared to weekend games. Furthermore, games involving less popular or 'buzzy' teams can significantly reduce costs, with a family saving about $61 on average by choosing games with teams like the Arizona Diamondbacks over more popular teams like the New York Yankees.


The cost of attending an NHL game varies significantly depending on the team and their current standing, yet it remains a considerable investment for families. 

A 2022 report from Axios highlighted the Fan Cost Index (FCI), which measures the cost for a family of four to experience a game. 

This index includes four non-premium tickets, two beers, two sodas, four hot dogs, two souvenir hats, and parking.

  • Average NHL FCI: The average cost for a family of four is $462.58, reflecting a 5% increase from the previous year.
  • Most expensive: The Toronto Maple Leafs top the list with the highest FCI at $697.75. Their high costs are primarily driven by the league-high average ticket price of $145.60.
  • Best value teams: Despite their costs, the Maple Leafs are considered to provide good value, especially when their performance is factored in, as they consistently rank high in the league standings.
  • Least expensive: Surprisingly, the four first-place teams during the season—Panthers, Hurricanes, Avalanche, and Flames—all rank among the ten least-expensive nights out, demonstrating that high performance does not necessarily equate to high costs.


Attending an NBA game to witness the league's renowned star power firsthand is an exciting but increasingly expensive experience. 

According to another 2023 report from Bookies.com, the cost of attending an NBA game has notably increased, impacting how families and fans engage with the sport.

  • Average cost: Attending an NBA game costs $304.64 for a family of four, covering the cheapest tickets, parking, and concessions.
  • Comparative costs: This represents a 5.3% increase from the previous year, much less than the $646.88 average for an NFL game.
  • The most expensive venue: The New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden, will cost $745.18 for a family of four, despite their rare postseason appearances.
  • Ticket prices: Prices vary significantly; Charlotte Hornets tickets are a bargain at just over $22, whereas Knicks tickets average $619.10.
  • Parking costs: There is a wide variation, with Brooklyn averaging over $66 for parking, compared to about $10 in New Orleans and Dallas.


As seen with Liverpool's $160 jersey, Major League Soccer (MLS) is witnessing similar surges in fan costs, highlighted by Lionel Messi's arrival at Inter Miami, according to a recent report from Lucky Gambler, a sports betting odds and insights outlet. 

Messi's star power has not only escalated the demand for jerseys but also significantly increased the ticket prices for games.

RELATED: Messi in LA: LAFC vs Inter Miami ticket prices skyrocket ahead of game

Inter Miami: The Messi Effect

  • Average ticket price: Quadrupled since last season due to Messi’s arrival.
  • Jersey cost: Significant increase with official Messi jerseys in high demand.
  • Parking costs: Remains competitive but subject to change due to increased matchday attendance.

Minnesota United: Most affordable team

  • Average Ticket Price: $96, making it accessible for a wider range of fans.
  • Jersey Cost: $88, one of the lowest in the league.
  • Parking Costs: Relatively low, enhancing its status as the most budget-friendly team.

FC Cincinnati: Affordable success

  • Average ticket price: $96, consistent with Minnesota but with recent competitive success.
  • Jersey Cost: Competitive within the league, reflecting the team's growing popularity.
  • Parking Costs: Moderate, with an average cost that supports regular attendance without breaking the bank.