While many Americans streamline their budgets to weather the effects of a struggling economy, sports fans are in the minority. They are willing to dish out big bucks on their favorite pastime in the form of event tickets, programming and logo apparel, not including the odd bet at places like allpro.
The American Express Spending and Saving Tracker, conducted by Echo Research, found that while many consumers were planning to designate more of their income to savings, there was an exception when it came to areas of popular interest.
Of those surveyed, sports fans were found 34 percent of the time. These spenders were the least likely of all groups to cut their spending on the activity or harbor feelings of guilt for not doing so. Of the sports fans group, 76 percent of those surveyed admitted to spending freely on sports activities. Of these who failed to cut back spending, only 29 percent claimed to feel guilty about it.
In addition to ticket sales, the cost of attending the venue adds to the revenue seen in the sports industry. Fans spend additional money on quality parking when attending the venue in addition to purchases made at concession stands. The costs increase significantly when fans visit from another area, with money being spent on transportation, lodging and other areas typical to a vacation stay.
For those who can’t see the events live, hefty fees go into maintaining cable sports packages that can only be utilized as a component to standard cable service. Programmers may pay hundreds of millions to billions of dollars for sports programming. This cost is forwarded to cable providers who then pass it off to consumers. For this reason, many providers now charge a separate fee for sports programming on monthly invoices.
According to a study performed in 2009 by the National Sporting Goods Association, or NSGA, adults in the United States spent more than $8 billion on sports apparel. The consumer study, entitled “Sports Logo Apparel Market 2010,” analyzed 20,000 U.S. households and provided information on sports logo clothing purchases for over a dozen different sports.
Individual tables were drawn for sports such as Indy car racing, NASCAR, major and minor league baseball, collegiate and professional football, hockey, various martial arts, soccer, tennis, golf and collegiate and professional basketball.
The study profiles the sports fans who watched the events or attended them live, the money they spent on the merchandise and the places from which they purchased it. In this case, men were the bigger spenders. Of the over 8 billion dollars spent, males were responsible for 60.9 percent of those purchases while women accounted for the remaining 39.1 percent. In the study, fans 16 years of age and above were considered as adults.
Places of purchase included areas such as the stadium or arena where the events took place, online retailers, sporting goods stores and department stores. For all of the sports combined, fans in the South were responsible for the highest percentage of purchases compared to any other region. Southern fans accounted for 34.9 percent of purchases with the North Central area reaching 23.6 percent. Fans in the Northeast came in at 22.3 percent with those in the West having 19.2 percent.
Measuring by dollars spent per purchase, the Northeast came out on top. Representing only 18.2 percent of the nation’s population, they managed to account for 22.3 percent of the money spent on sports attire.
The average amount spent annually by sport fans is $725. Analyzing young professionals alone, the amount rises to $1,143, and for the wealthy it averages $1,544. Dollars spent also includes viewership of events through Internet services and mobile coverage. When it comes to how the money is allocated, fans spend the most on cable TV packages, occasional tickets and clothing.
Sara writes on her blog about the NFL and for other sites about any sports.