What Are Clark’s Sports Stadium Cost Savings Tips?

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Just a few years ago, COVID-19 took some favorite American activities and brought them to a screeching halt.

Cruises. Flights. Dining at restaurants. Attending concerts. Sporting events. Those are just some of the activities that faced major disruptions in the not-too-distant past.

As a nation, we’re once again spending money on travel and entertainment. In some cases, we’re even spending more in the last year or two due to pent-up demand for things we weren’t able to do for a period of time.

But we’ve also faced high (and then stubborn) inflation, a lightning-fast spike in interest rates and more. So balancing the desire to attend, say, an NFL game with the need to stay within your budget is as challenging as ever.

How does money expert Clark Howard save on sports stadium costs?

How Can You Save Money When You Attend Sporting Events?

What can I do to save money on sports stadium costs?

That’s what a listener recently asked Clark.

Asked Darin in Texas: “Do you ever go to the [Atlanta] Falcons games? If so, what are your sports stadium cost-savings tips? Go Cowboys!”

Since Clark is a huge NFL fan and Darin asked about attending NFL games, let’s look at some numbers.

According to a story prior to the start of the NFL season, here are the average costs for common items.

  • 4 cheapest tickets: $550.65
  • Lot parking: $45.03
  • 2 16-ounce beers: $17.86
  • 2 20-ounce sodas: $10.64
  • 4 hot dogs: $22.70

That’s an average total of $646.88. And that doesn’t include any merch such as a team jersey or hat.


However, there’s a huge range. Las Vegas Raiders fans will pay $1,381.96 for those items while Atlanta Falcons fans famously will pay just $293.10 for the same goods at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Clark’s 3 Favorite Ways To Save Money on Sporting Events

Clark, despite living in the heart of the SEC, often dismisses college football on his podcast. But the NFL is a huge part of his life, as he often reminds listeners.

That doesn’t mean he spends willy-nilly on sporting events. Here are some of his favorite ways to save.

1. Consider the Cheap Seats

Looking at those numbers closely, the cost of tickets dwarfs all other expenses — food, drinks, parking — combined. And that’s based on tickets in the cheap seats.

Getting seats on the 50-yard line near the field, or splurging on a suite, is the fastest way to spend exponentially more money.

“My tickets are upper deck end zone,” Clark says. “The cheapest seats, the worst seats, inside the stadium.”

2. Avoid Overpriced Parking

Clark is notorious for seeking free parking. Even if it means walking miles to the stadium or risking a car break-in.

“I do everything I can to never pay for parking,” Clark says. “When I go to a Falcons game, I walk about 1.5 miles from free parking to the stadium and walk back. So I’m getting roughly 6,000 steps in and I save money not paying for parking.”

At Super Bowl LI, with stadium parking into the hundreds of dollars, Clark parked near Rice University and took a $2 street car close to the stadium (and back after the game).

3. Avoid Stadium Refreshments

Hot dogs at Mercedes-Benz Stadium are just $2. That’s not quite $1.50 for a hot dog and soda combo like Costco members enjoy. But it seems ludicrous compared to, say, SoFi Stadium (home of the Los Angeles Rams and Chargers). There, hot dogs are $8.


“The Falcons have a lot of things you can buy that are priced below street price,” Clark says. “Soft drinks. Hot dogs. A variety of things you can buy that are typically $2 each.

“It’s quite a deal. So I have actually purchased refreshments inside Mercedes-Benz Stadium. But my general policy is I never buy anything from a concession stand at any sports event.”

Case in point: Again at Super Bowl LI, Clark ordered zero refreshments at the stadium and instead drank from a water fountain.

Final Thoughts

What is convenience worth to you? We all have to decide that for ourselves. But if you’re willing to accept worse stadium seats, walk a long way or avoid food and drink while at a game, you can save hundreds of dollars.

Let us know measures you take to save money at sporting events in our Clark.com Community!

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