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Patriots No. 1 -- in ticket prices
NFL defending champions have the league's priciest tickets, too.
September 8, 2004: 10:25 AM EDT
By Chris Isidore, CNN/Money senior writer

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - The defending NFL champion New England Patriots have the most expensive ticket prices in professional football again this year. But the Patriots are one of 13 teams not charging their fans more this year than last year, according to a survey of prices released Tuesday.

The Team Marketing Report's annual survey found the average ticket price rose 4.9 percent over last year to $54.75.

The Patriots, who open the NFL season Thursday at their stadium in Foxboro, Mass., have an average ticket price of $75.33, the same as during the 2003 season.

The Washington Redskins are No. 2 in the league in ticket prices with a $68.12 average, up slightly from last season's $68.06 average price.

The cheapest seats in pro football, on average, can be found in Ralph Wilson Stadium in Buffalo. The Bills' average ticket price, $37.13, is less than half the Patriots' ticket price. The Bills also left ticket prices unchanged.

The team with the biggest percentage increase in ticket prices was the Atlanta Falcons, who raised the average ticket price by 26.2 percent. But the team's average ticket price of $43.71 is still less than the league-wide average.

The Seattle Seahawks and New Orleans Saints are the only teams charging fans less this season. The Seahawks' average ticket price fell 0.6 percent to $42.80 while the Saints cut prices 3.4 percent to $42.36.

With the league's strong popularity and its weekly schedule limiting the supply of games, the average NFL ticket price is by far the most expensive of the nation's four major team sports.

TMR's survey found National Basketball Association is second, with an $44.68 average during the 2003-2004 season. But the NBA's Los Angeles Lakers, barely edge out the Patriots for the nation's most expensive average ticket price, at $75.40.

Ticket prices in the National Hockey League closely follow the NBA with a $43.57 average. Major League Baseball -- which plays far more games than the other team sports -- has an average ticket price of $19.82 during the current season, according to TMR's survey.

None of the TMR surveys include average prices for luxury boxes or other premium seating. The NFL premium seat costs an average of $160.89, but those seats are usually available to only season ticket holders.

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TMR also performs a calculation of what it calls the Fan Cost Index, which estimates what a family of four would pay to attend a game, including parking, food and souvenirs. The average NFL fan cost index this season will be $312.62, up 4.3 percent from last year.

Not surprisingly, the Patriots have the highest FCI as well at $415.22, up 1.2 percent despite ticket prices staying unchanged. The Bills have the cheapest trip to the stadium for four fans: $228.52, down 9 percent from a year ago.  Top of page

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