Want to take your family to a Bears game? Got $600 bucks to spare?

Want to take your family to a Bears game? Got $600 bucks to spare?
It's gonna cost you a lot more money to do this in 2012.

It’s no secret these days that it’s a bit pricey to take the family and head up to Soldier Field for an afternoon of Sunday pigskin in person. And the same goes for nearly every NFL team, really.

Throw in the coziness of your favorite couch and sweatpants, and the awesomeness of your biggest HD TV (mine’s only 46”), and it can become hard to dole out the cash necessary to battle the elements for a potentially bad view and even bader traffic.

(Yes, I’m aware “bader” is not a word.)

So, just how much will it cost you, ever loyal Bears fan, to take your family of four to see Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall tear up the turf in person this season?

The 2012 NFL Team Marketing Report was released this month, and according to it, about $608.64. The report calls this figure the Fan Cost Index (FCI), and what it does is represent the average spending habits of game-goers in order to extrapolate a total cost.

Here’s what the FCI factors in: the price of four average-price tickets, two small draft beers, four small soft drinks, four regular-size hot dogs, parking for one car, two game programs, and two least-expensive, adult-size adjustable caps.

I’d call that a fair assessment. Some, more thrifty fans may opt away from the caps (they probably already own dozens), and some, more indulgent fans may have more than a single beer or two. Either way, the index is probably a relatively accurate representation of costs the average family might expect to incur.

According to the Team Marketing Report, the costs were determined after telephone calls with team representatives, venue representatives, and concessionaires.

All told, the Bears have the third highest Fan Cost Index in the NFL, with trips to see the Cowboys and Jets being the only more expensive game experiences.

For fans in Chicago, the costs have steadily increased season after season. The Bears have raised ticket prices in nine of the last ten seasons, and fans can definitely feel the added pressure on their pocket books.

Chicago will also have the biggest overall fan cost increase in 2012, according to the report, of 9.2% across the board. Their average median ticket price this season is $110.91.

In a story I did earlier this year, I talked about the shift in focus by the NFL from getting fans in the stands to securing enormous television contracts, the new lifeblood of the League.

So while it’s become more informative, less expensive, and way more comfy to stay at home and watch football games, the Bears have yet to suffer a drop in attendance.

Chicago was ranked as the fifth bestselling team in the League in 2011 based on seating capacity percentage sold. And they have been near that top-five designation for a long time.

Considering the team’s continued ticket sales, in correlation to their high FCI, I think it’s safe to say that Bears fans aren’t yet completely willing to give up that sub-zero Soldier Field experience for the couch cushions just yet.

Good for you.

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