Way back when, sports events used to be reasonably affordable to go to. After all, sport is for everyone, right? Well, maybe not so much anymore. We’ve become desensitized to soaring ticket prices for football matches, tennis finals, boxing matches – even darts tournaments. For most of us, going to sports events is more a special occasion than a regular, week in week out, activity, with stadiums 50/50 between hardcore fans and well-moneyed casual observers. But some events capture the public imagination more than others, and tickets for such events command an excessively eye-watering price tag – way more than the average person would ever think of splurging just to go to a game. Let’s take a look at some staggeringly expensive tickets from recent years.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs Conor McGregor
Much criticized before the first bell had wrung, with many naysayers calling the fight out to be a mere money-spinning operation and decrying McGregor’s boxing experience (he had never fought professionally before, Mayweather is one of the greatest boxers of all time).
To be fair to the combatants they readily admitted it was mainly for a quick trip to the bank – it was actually billed as “the money fight”, with Mayweather reportedly earning $280 million from the fight and McGregor earning $130 million. The mismatched showdown in Paradise, Nevada played out in August 2017 before a packed T-Mobile Arena with 13,000 paying spectators, who paid in total over $55 million – a ringside seat reportedly cost $145,200.
2016 MLB World Series
This was a huge year for one half of Chicago. The first Fall Classic meeting for the Cubs in 108 years brought out legions of fans, many of whom flocked to get tickets as soon as possible. The game provided a wildcard for bettors – could the Cubs do it against the Cleveland Indians? Baseball is unpredictable, but predictions and odds on ball games as found on WSN.com for example, are widespread on the net, with many fans from both sides eagerly wagering on their favorites. Tickets for this historic encounter started at a pricey $2,000, but some high roller tickets were on sale for an absurd $1,170,000. Yep, you read that right. Was it worth it? For many Cubs fans, it probably would have been, as they finished up as decisive winners.
Super Bowl XLVII
In 2013 Baltimore Ravens squared up with the San Francisco 49ers in New Orleans for the showpiece event of the NFL season. As usual, there were absolutely immense TV viewing figures and intense demand for a seat inside the Mercedes-Benz Superdome for the game. But to enjoy the sport and the halftime show (by none other than Beyonce by the way) could have set you back as much as $316,000. Ouch.
Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix
A Grand Prix plays out over three spectacular days, taking in multiple races across several series including F2, F3, and GT which provide entertainment across the weekend. Good value you might think – but some races are more affordable than others. Abu Dhabi, currently the season finale, is the most expensive race of the year. Regular 3 day passes cost in excess of $600, and grandstand tickets are as much as $6,000. That might seem pretty tame compared to some others on the list, but it’s worth bearing in mind that the Yas Marina circuit provides some of the least interesting racing on the Formula One calendar.
2012 London Olympics opening ceremony
Not only were regular Olympic tickets almost impossible to get hold of for regular Londoners – most of the tickets were allocated to visitors – they were all extremely expensive. It’s been reported that one single-day ticket to watch the swimming changed hands at $700. But away from the sport itself, the jewel in the crown of any Olympics is the opening ceremony. Devised and directed by Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle, the opening was an extravaganza filled with pyrotechnics, a condensed history of the United Kingdom, and the Queen skydiving in with James Bond, it was watched by an estimated worldwide television audience of 900 million, and 80,000 spectators, some paying as much as $4,000 for the privilege.
FIFA World Cup Final 2014
When I was a kid, a season ticket at Brentford FC cost $6. Nowadays football matches are astronomically expensive, especially at an elite level. And none more expensive than the World Cup Final – it only rolls around once every four years after all, and as the excitement builds fans go to extreme lengths to find a seat in the stadium. When Germany faced Argentina in Brazil in 2014, tickets were apparently changing hands for a whopping $39,224. If you were an Argentina fan with that golden ticket you’d have been devastated – Mario Götze scored deep into the second half of extra time to clinch a 4th World Cup title for the Germans.
The allure of high octane, elite sporting excitement is too much for people to resist. Some might say it’s crazy to spend so much on event tickets, but if you gotta go, you gotta go!