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Being a sports spectator on a budget

Individuals who play sports have options when it comes to ways to save money. For instance, purchasing used sports equipment rather than brand new gear is a great way to spend less without sacrificing safety or the experience.

But some sports fans wonder if it's possible to save money as a spectator. After all, attending a professional sports event can be cost prohibitive for many.

Team Marketing Report's (TMR) Fan Cost Index (FCI) Survey tracks the cost of attending a professional sporting event for a family of four. The FCI includes the average price of four tickets, parking, four soft drinks, two beers, four hot dogs, two programs and two souvenirs.

TMR reports that it costs an average of $197.35 for a family of four to attend a Major League Baseball(MLB) game, $420.54 for a National Football League (NFL) game, $287.85 for a National Basketball Association (NBA) game and $313.68 for a National Hockey League (NHL) game.

Some teams have addressed the high prices associated with seeing a game. For instance, the MLB's Chicago White Sox recently announced the 2013 season will feature "Family Sundays" in which families can experience a MLB game for less.

"As we continue to closely listen to fans regarding the cost of the ballpark experience, the Family Sunday promotion is our next move in creating affordable seating options in both the lower and upper levels of the park," said Brooks Boyer, White Sox senior vice president of sales and marketing. Welcoming fans of all ages on a day that is traditionally dedicated to family time, we hope Family Sundays become a popular way for fans to share a baseball experience together."

Certain tickets to the team's 13 Sunday home games during the 2013 season will cost as little as $5 each. In addition, parking will cost just $10 and there will be special family-friendly events at the park, such as autograph sessions and the chance for fans to run the bases after the game.

Families can also save money to see a professional baseball game by choosing a minor league game. According to Minor League Baseball, the average cost for a family of four to attend a game last year was $61.23. 

Individuals looking for other affordable ways to be a spectator may also choose to go to a college game in their area.
 

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