For Atlanta fans, watching in person as the Falcons try to win their first Super Bowl would be a dream come true. Of course, in reality, that “priceless” experience would come at a big cost — one that would take 244 hours of work to cover, according to government data. Traveling to Houston for a few days and getting into the game on Feb. 5 would add up to thousands of dollars.
The true cost of going to the Super Bowl
To gauge how much Atlanta residents would have to shell out to see their team take on the Patriots in Super Bowl LI, NerdWallet tallied the costs of a game ticket, lodging accommodations in Houston and round-trip airfare on the two days after the Falcons clinched their berth. The cheapest path we found came out to $4,254. Here’s a breakdown of those expenses:
- Snagging seats at NRG Stadium: As of Jan. 23, the least expensive Super Bowl ticket was listed for $3,286 on the ticket aggregator site TicketIQ. The average listing price was $5,976.
- Staying in Houston: We looked at the cost of staying in a hotel and renting a house in Houston for Super Bowl weekend, from Feb. 3 to 6. As of Jan. 23, the cheapest nightly rate at Houston hotels during those days was $130, according to Hipmunk, which aggregates prices from top travel websites. The average rate provided by Hipmunk for Super Bowl weekend was $560. Renting a home in Houston generally costs more. On the website HomeAway, one of the largest facilitators of private for-rent properties, the lowest nightly rate during Super Bowl weekend was $250, and the average rate was $2,533.
- Traveling to and from the big game: On Jan. 23, NerdWallet jumped on travel website aggregator Kayak to find the cheapest flights from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport to Houston’s two airports: George Bush Intercontinental Airport and William P. Hobby Airport. The least expensive flights leaving Feb. 3 and returning Feb. 6 averaged $773.
For details on how we arrived at each expense, see our methodology.
Super Bowl expenses in perspective
For now, forget about the added expenses of getting around Houston and filling up on hot dogs at the stadium. Tally the costs of the least expensive ticket ($3,286); three nights in the lowest-priced hotel room and split in half with a travel buddy ($195); and a cheap flight ($773), and you’re looking at a total of $4,254. Let’s put that figure in perspective:
- The least expensive Super Bowl trip is about 7% of the Atlanta metro area’s median annual household income of $60,219, according to 2015 U.S. Census Bureau data.
- The 2015 median hourly wage of workers in the Atlanta metro area is $17.47, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That means a Super Bowl trip is worth about 244 hours of work — and that’s before taxes are taken out.
- Here are a few other rough estimates of how super fans could spend $4,254: They could buy about 42 Matt Ryan jerseys ($100 each); or throw an epic Super Bowl party with around 420 large pizzas ($10 each); or order 25 pizzas and turn their basement into a sports bar with five 65-inch TVs ($800 each).
More NerdWallet travel tips:
Laura McMullen is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @lauraemcmullen. Courtney Miller is a data analyst at NerdWallet. Email: email@example.com.
To estimate the total cost of attending the Super Bowl as an Atlanta resident, we gathered data on Super Bowl tickets, flights and lodging. All figures reflect data sourced Jan. 23, 2017, except the average HomeAway rate, which was provided Jan. 24, 2017.
Super Bowl tickets. The average and lowest listed prices for Super Bowl tickets were provided by TicketIQ, which is a third-party marketplace that aggregates over 90% of the tickets listed for sale online.
Lodging. Hipmunk and HomeAway provided data for hotel rooms and home rentals within Houston city limits. Hipmunk aggregates prices from top travel websites, and HomeAway facilitates renting of private properties. On both sites, we looked at the lowest listed nightly rates for Feb. 3 to 6. We also calculated for a double occupancy per bedroom or hotel room.
Flights. Flight cost is based on the average of the three cheapest flight options from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport to either George Bush Intercontinental Airport or William P. Hobby Airport, both in Houston. These flights were for any time departing Feb. 3 and returning Feb. 6, and sourced from travel website aggregator Kayak.
The three flights we averaged met the following criteria: the flight could have one layover at most; layovers could not be longer than three hours; and the cost must include the fee for one full-size carry-on bag, if the airline charges for such. Also, one of the three flights we pulled was the cheapest direct flight.
We also looked at the total cost of attending the Super Bowl as a percentage of income. We used these factors:
Household income. We used the 2015 median income for households in the Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell metro area. These data are from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.
Hourly wages. These figures for workers in the Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell metro area are from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ May 2015 Metropolitan and Nonmetropolitan Area Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates.