Aside from the emotional ups and downs, and immeasurable opportunity costs such as your significant other finally getting fed up and leaving you, fandom also hits your bank account like a classic open-ice Scott Stevens body check.
In our neck of the woods, we’ll start with Canada’s domestic obsession – ice hockey.
In the National Hockey League, the Toronto Maple Leafs haven’t been a winner on ice in nearly half a century, but always top the chart in ticket revenue.
Picking up Maple Leafs tickets is a matter of who you know, or else you’re at the mercy of ticket re-sellers.
The Maple Leafs are perpetually sold out. Tickets are so difficult to attain in a reasonable manner that the team doesn’t even bother posting prices under the ‘tickets’ section of its website. On the resale market, Leafs tickets go for $373.50 on average according to The Hockey News, more than $90 ahead of the next team on the list, the Vancouver Canucks at $282.58.
Tailgating American football fans. The man on the right is cooking on top of his car and frying bacon on a chainsaw. On a chainsaw.
In the National Football League, Al Jazeera America reported that the cost of attending an NFL game on average could be 46.51% of a weekly salary. Now you see what I mean about your significant other potentially leaving you? How long could the magic in your relationship last if Sundays are dominated by (all or some of) buying pricey tickets, binge eating/drinking and then probably vomiting?
With these prices you may rightly want to be a sports fan on a different continent. However, sports entertainment is not always cheaper overseas. Here are some worldly options:
Arguably the most exciting sport enterprise in Asia is the Indian Premier League. The IPL aims to combine the glitz and glamour of an NFL experience with world-class cricket. Its teams bid for the best players in the world during the offseason and fill stadiums with cricket-mad fans from across a country of 1.2 billion people.
Eden Gardens in Kolkata, India (capital city of the state of West Bengal) was originally built in 1864. The stadium has said to have hosted as many as 120,000 people for matches in the past. It has an official capacity of 80,000 today and is recognized as one of the revered venues for cricket on the planet.
Tickets to watch the current champions, Kolkata Knight Riders, can range from $10-$164 (Cdn.) at historic Eden Gardens in West Bengal.
Canadian Olympians Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje competed in the 2011 NHK Trophy; they’ll be returning in 2014.
If the scorching heat of India isn’t quite your thing, cool down in Japan at the NHK Trophy in late November. In the figure skating-mad country, this competition will set you back $42 (Cdn.) each day at the low end; highest prices to watch the three-day event is $126 (Cdn.) per day.
While football (the kind that primarily uses the foot to touch the ball) dominates the African sports landscape, rugby is also thoroughly enjoyed in parts of the continent, in particular South Africa.
The Springboks (South Africa) stop the Wallabies (Australia) in Cape Town.
The South Africa v. Australia match in the 2014 Rugby Championship in Cape Town ranged in price from $10-$56 (Cdn.) for the nearly 45,000 fans that attended the match on September 27. The home crowd happily watched its Springboks win 28-10 over the visitors.
Best value for money anywhere in professional sports may be at Borussia Dortmund. The top-flight football (the good kind) club in Germany’s Bundesliga seemingly puts fans ahead of revenue despite many of its European counterparts adopting an American model.
Westfalenstadion in Dortmund shown in a 2002 file photo. This venue has lately become a place of pilgrimage for football fans across Europe.
Season ticket holders pay on average $16 (Cdn.) for tickets according to the BBC and in the same report it was mentioned that the experience and return is so great, that highly discriminating English soccer fans are traveling to Germany for their footy fix.
Serbia hosted Brazil in the 2009 FIVB World League finals. It’s common to see indoor arenas with 20,000 or more spectators packed in for volleyball in Europe.
From the pitch to the court, volleyball is a big spectator sport in Europe. Prices for the FIVB World League finals in Italy this year ranged from $11-$49 (Cdn.) for adults to watch six of the top men’s volleyball nations in the world.
The Australian Open is not only a Grand Slam tennis tournament, it is also where ‘Genie Army’ started in support of Canadian tennis star Eugenie Bouchard.
Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, Australia with the city’s skyline in the background.
Should you want to make the trip down under in January, in Canadian dollars there are ticket & accommodation packages available for roughly $393, and other prices can be anywhere from a $29 ground pass in the first round to a $7,100 Gold Seating Package at the centre court, Rod Laver Arena.