Here’s the price of passion for the 2024 MLS season – NBC Los Angeles

on Feb22
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In the world of sports, being a fan is not just about supporting your favorite team or player; it’s filling that support with passion and zeal. In order to do that, it takes money, sometimes lots of it. It’s a financial dance between frugality and extravagance.

Regardless of the sport, true fans know what we’re talking about. As an example, the Super Bowl in Las Vegas is just days away and fans of the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers are shelling out tens of thousands of dollars for airfare, accommodations, and tickets to the big game.

Why? Because the experience of watching your favorite team win a championship is not only a rarity, it’s priceless. Just ask the fans of the Arizona Cardinals (76 years), the Cleveland Guardians (75 years), the Sacramento Kings (71 years), and the Detroit Lions (66 years).

Following the conclusion of the Super Bowl, Major League Soccer will begin its 2024 campaign with the greatest soccer player of all-time at its forefront.

For fans of Inter Miami, the price of admission to watch Lionel Messi and his former FC Barcelona teammates has quadrupled since last season. That’s the price to pay for hope: the hope of lifting trophies, winning championships, and celebrating superstars.

When the 2024 MLS Season kicks off on February 21, there will be 29 teams and their fans all with that same hope. However, the price of fandom is drastically different depending on which city and team you root for.

IGaming site, Lucky Gambler, the audacious purveyor of sports betting odds and insights, recently undertook the arduous task of trying to quantify the price of MLS fandom.

To do so, they indexed and ranked all 29 MLS teams based on eight different factors that would contribute to the overall costs of going to a game.

Those factors include; the average ticket price, the average jersey price, the median of a one-night stay in a nearby hotel to the respective stadium, cost of concessions, meals at nearby restaurants, taxi and rideshare rates, as well as the price per night of an AirBnB, should you chose that route instead.

So buckle up, soccer supporters, as we take you through the financial kaleidoscope of what it takes to be a true MLS fan.

Let’s start with the least expensive option. If you’re a penny-pincher at heart, then you might consider moving to Minnesota and joining the Wonderwall. That’s the section of supporters at Allianz Field that enjoy chants, cheering, and raucous celebrations.

Located in St. Paul, Minnesota, the Loons joined the league in 2017, and are the most pocket-friendly team to be a fan of. With an average ticket price of $96, cheap cabs, and kits available for the bargain price of $88, the Land of 10,000 Lakes should rename itself the Land of Affordable Soccer. Index score: 81.91 out of 100.

“The reason why Minnesota United is the cheapest team [to be a fan of] is because the cost of living in Minnesota is about 3 percent lower than the national average,” said a spokesperson of Lucky Gambler when asked about the results of their research.

Unfortunately for MUFC fans, one of the reasons the club is the most affordable to be a supporter of is because they have won no major trophies in their seven-year history and are still not considered one of the elite teams in the league.

If it’s hardware you’re after, you might want to consider becoming a fan of FC Cincinnati. The orange and blue are the perfect combination of frugality, fun, and fortune.

Since they entered the league in 2019, FC Cincinnati has made the playoffs twice, and made the final of the Leagues Cup (losing to Lionel Messi and Inter Miami). They won the Supporter’s Shield in 2023, and held the league’s best offensive and defensive players in MLS MVP Luciano Acosta and defender Matt Miazga. Not to mention the MLS Coach of the Year in Pat Noonan.

Head to The Bailey at TGL Stadium to chant and cheer for The Garys, where a ticket will only cost you an average of $96, where the median price of a meal at concessions is just $13.50. There are even budget friendly hotels and AirBnB’s between $135-$150 a night.

The best team in the regular season during 2023 is fully locked and loaded to get over the hump and win the MLS Cup this year. If you’re looking for the perfect balance of both budget-friendly and best on the pitch, then FC Cincinnati might be for you. Index score: 72.34 out of 100.

“MLS stadiums are now above the 20,000 average fans per match threshold, but numbers vary greatly by venue,” added the Lucky Gambler spokesperson. “When going to a soccer game, the cost of a ticket isn’t the only expense involved. Costs of travel, food, hotels, can also be included. Today, even jerseys are becoming more expensive than the price a one-game ticket.”

Here in Los Angeles, where U.S. News recently ranked it as the second most expensive city in the country, it might surprise you to find that being a fan of either the LA Galaxy or LAFC is not as pricey as you might seem.

Los Angeles is easily the best soccer city in the United States, and the most decorated as well. The LA Galaxy are five-time MSL Cup Champions, and LAFC has been to the last two Cup Finals, winning in 2022, before losing to the Columbus Crew in 2023. That’s six championships between them and by comparison, no other city has more than four (Washington D.C.).

LAFC held on strong at number 19 in the rankings with an average ticket price of $245 and a median jersey price of $80.13. All things considered, that’s not a lot of money to join the 3252 supporters group behind goal, easily one of the best atmospheres in all of professional sports. Index score: 54.10 out of 100.

Meanwhile, the LA Galaxy were ranked 24th on the list with an average ticket price of $137 and a median jersey price of $92.88. The most decorated franchise in MLS history play at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, CA, The city, located about 15 miles south of Downtown Los Angeles, has cheaper hotel and AirBnB rates than other major cities with an average hotel room coming in at $157. DHSP stadium is known for their food trucks posted across the field level between the pitch and the nearby tennis courts. However, the better quality of food comes with a hefty price tag. The LA Galaxy average concession price is among the highest in the league with an average cost of a meal at $25.00 Index score: 52.04 out of 100.

When it comes to the most expensive MLS soccer team to be a fan of, the pinnacle of priciness is located near Boston, Massachusetts. Whilst some MLS teams thrive on their affordability, the New England Revolution top the list because of their love of luxury. With an average ticket price of $126 and a jersey cost around $102, the Revs play inside Gillette stadium, the home of the New England Patriots. Nearby hotels in Foxborough are a whopping $282.08 on average and ride-share/meals are also on the high end of the spectrum. Index score: 43.17 out of 100.

“The average cost of living in Foxborough is about 38 percent higher than the national average and about 11 percent higher than the Massachusetts state average,” said a spokesperson for Lucky Gambler. “Therefore, it doesn’t come as a surprise that the New England Revolution is the most expensive team to be a fan of.”

There’s no question that MLS fandom is on the rise. Soccer has been steadily gaining in popularity across the United States since David Beckham moved across the pond in 2007. While not as dominant as the NFL or NBA, the exponential growth of MLS, has been nothing short of astonishing.

Now, with 81 different countries represented on the field with the players of the 29 MLS teams, the league is the most diverse professional men’s league in the world. One of those players is Messi, the Argentinean World Cup Champion that will only bring more eyes and more fans to the sport than ever before.

With more fans, comes more revenue, and higher prices. As the data suggests, the full spectrum of fandom ranges from thrifty to extravagant. Whether you’re supporting your favorite club on a budget or reveling in opulence, the beautiful game will welcome fans from all walks of life.

So as the 2024 MLS campaign kicks off in Miami, it’s time to lace up your boots, whether those be affordable sneakers or designer shoes, buy your club’s new kit, and head to the stadium where you’ll witness another season of Messi and MLS magic!

Below is the full results of the indexed data for all 29 MLS teams:

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