Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Majesty of Gameday

There is nothing quite like going to a Seahawks game. The atmosphere of CenturyLink Field, the camaraderie among strangers and the possibility of witnessing history first-hand is worth the cost of admission.

The problem is-- the cost of admission ain't cheap.

I'm not getting on a soap box to chastise the NFL for gouging its fans, nor am I supporting the poorly contrived (albeit, well intentioned) argument that school teachers, firemen and police officers should switch salaries with professional athletes. Supply and Demand: I get it. 

The cost of attending an NFL game is both perfectly reasonable and absurdly exorbitant at the same
time. It makes sense given the limited amount of games, the incredible popularity and the tremendous production costs that make the games so great. However, for many of us, attending a game is a rare treat if not completely out of the question all together.

I've been fortunate enough to attend my share of Seahawks games.  I remember times when you couldn't give them away and periods like the Holmgren era and the present where they are as scarce as they are spendy.

I have memories that I will cherish forever involving the Kingdome, Husky Stadium and Centurylink.  I love being able to tell people that I was at the game where Tony Romo botched the place hold-- or simply having had the opportunity to have witnessed legends like Largent, Kennedy, Jones and Moon in action.

I was there, man.  I was there.

Times have certainly changed, though.  As admission prices, concession and parking rates have exponentially risen-- so has the production quality of the games and the technology of televisions and home theater systems.

Now, while I still make an effort to try to get out to one game each season, I prefer to instead gather with my friends, family and loved ones to watch together on a 60" Plasma television with abundant food and beverages from the comfort of a familiar living room.

However, the ultimate deciding factor in how I choose to spend my game day experience is the obscene difference in price between seeing the game live and watching it at home.

Let's say I wanted to take my girlfriend to the assuredly spectacular match up this Sunday against the Denver Broncos.  A quick search at shows the cheapest available pair of tickets for this sold out game going for $175-- and here's the kicker-- they're upper level endzone standing room only seats!

Right off the bat, we're out $350, and we're only getting started.

The next issue is transportation.  The cheapest and most preferable option, in my opinion, is to park and take the Link Light Rail.  Parking is free at the Light Rail stations, but it is extremely limited.   Even for Mariners games, I've found you have to get to the station about an hour and a half before the game starts.  I imagine it's even worse for Seahawks games.

So, the light rail will only set us back about $10 bucks, but isn't a guarantee by any means.  Most likely you'll have to pay for parking.  That can cost you anywhere between $10 and $100 plus gas used in transit. We'll meet in the middle and say $40-- bringing us to $390.

Now, because attending a game has become a special occasion, I've found that I have a tendency to almost always pick up some sort of souvenir to commemorate the experience.  It could be anything from a toy for my daughter, picking up your new jersey for the season or something simple like a program.  Depending on your budget and your restraint, you're probably going to drop about $50 on some form of a keepsake.

We've already spent $440 and we haven't eaten anything yet!

Mind you, there are thriftier ways to enjoy a game, but if you're one of 'those guys' you're probably going to skip out on the excursion to the CLink altogether. So, if you're not going to stuff a PB&J into your pocket, chances are you're spending about $35 to feed two people.  Don't kid yourself into thinking that you'll be fine foregoing sustenance for 3 and 1/2 hours-- that ain't happening. You owe it to your fellow 12s to maintain your energy to cheer throughout the game!

If we each enjoy a single $9 Miller Lite during the game, we'll have spent just shy of $500 for the experience. That's a lot of money for a lot of people. Still, it's an amazing, worthwhile experience for any fan, irrespective of your income level. Just as I'm sure Lamborghini makes terrific cars and they're probably well worth the price-- it's unlikely that you'll ever find my name on the title of such a fine luxury car.

For $500, you could host a KILLER party for you and your close friends to watch the game together.  You could even charge for parking or premium seating-- but I wouldn't recommend it. I watch the games with about a dozen of my dearest friends and we spend maybe $100 on food and drinks collectively. 

There's seldom a line for the bathroom, the seats are substantially more comfortable and you can converse with the people sitting near you without screaming.  As great as seeing our favorite team live is, it's pretty hard to equal the personalized game day experience.

There's definitely more than one way to enjoy the game.  Tweet @SeahawksFTW your favorite tips for the perfect game day at home with the hashtag #MyKindofGameday and I'll share them on Friday.

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