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The NFL Team That Loses the Most Money on Empty Seats

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NFL teams have several sources of money. Among the national sources are TV contracts. Among the local sources are ticket sales.

The typical NFL team brings in 60% of its local revenue from ticket sales. This figure has two primary factors. One is the price of tickets, and the other is the percentage of seats that are sold for each game.

The spread among ticket prices is wide. In the upcoming NFL season, the ticket price for the game between the Green Bay Packers and New York Giants on October 9 has hit a high price of $3,780. At the low end, the game between the Indianapolis Colts and New England Patriots on November 6 has a low ticket price of $212. This low price is still relatively expensive. It means a family of four will pay over $1,000 to attend the game, when parking and concessions are included.

Sports betting platform OLBG looked at the cost of unsold tickets by team. It multiplied ticket prices by unsold tickets. It then compared that to the sum the team would have received if all its seats were filled each game. The data covered ticket sales over the past decade.

The team that has lost the most money on empty seats per game is the Los Angeles Chargers at just above $3 million per game. The LA team was followed by the Washington Football Club at $2.9 million and the Las Vegas Raiders at $1.9 million. The average number of vacant seats for Washington was 18,390, the worst among all teams. The second worst was the Los Vegas Raiders at 15,157.


It is hard to tell the factors that go into seat sales. One is probably the win-loss record of the team over recent years. However, games for the New York Giants are usually sold out, though the Giants are perennial losers. However, it is in the largest metro in America.


Another factor may be ticket prices. It can cost a family of four as much as $2,000 to attend a game.

The only conclusion one can draw from the study is that if teams could increase seat sales, they could add tens of millions of dollars in revenue over the course of a season.

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