Apr 25 2014, 10:55pm CDT | by Forbes
Thanksgiving is a time for family, eating, and, of course, football. It’s also a time when people across the country prepare for the onslaught of Christmas spending. This year, however, football fans who want to get up off their couches to see football live, will need to prepare to do some serious spending before black Friday. At an average price of $215, 2014 Thanksgiving football will be the most expensive in recent memory, if not ever. For the first time since the AFL-NFL merger, there are no AFC teams playing on Thanksgiving, and all three games are fierce divisional rivalries. This came about as the result of the NFLs new cross-flex mechanism, which allows select games to be flexed between CBS and FOX. In the past, a game with two NFC teams had to be on FOX and a game with two AFC teams had to be on CBS. The result of that flex is that the average price for Thanksgiving day games are 180% more expensive than last season, and it’s likely that TV ratings will also be much higher.
In the four years that we’ve been tracking the market, the night game has always been the cheapest game in two out of the last three seasons. This year, however, it’s not only the most expensive ticket on Thanksgiving night, it’s also the most expensive ticket on the entire 2014 NFL Schedule. It’s also a part of the reason that the 49ers schedule at Levis Stadium is the most expensive of any team in football, including the world champion Seahawks. As for the traditional hosts, the Thanksgiving day game is also the most expensive ticket on the Lions Schedule, $15 more expensive than the Lions second home game against the Packers at Ford Field.
As for the Cowboys, while this years game is more expensive than two out of the last three years, it’s only the fifth most expensive game on the Cowboys schedule at AT&T Stadium behind their matchups against the Giants, Saints, Texans and 49ers. The only Cowboys’ Thanksgiving game from the past four years that had a higher average price was the 2012 edition against the Redskins. That game had an average price of $339, which was $100 more expensive than any of the other games that season. This year, it would be a distant second to the 49ers-Seahawks tickets.
In addition to being a rematch of the NFC Championship game, it’s the first time that the 49ers will have hosted a Thanksgiving game, and only the second night game at Levis Stadium. It also begins a three-week stretch in which the 49ers play the Seahawks twice. Prior to the Thanksgiving game, the 49ers have several tough match-ups against the likes of the Broncos and Chiefs, but the Thanksgiving Seahawks game will likely be the first in which they’re the underdogs. If they 49ers lose the game at home, it could be an uphill climb for them to win the division, as the next game is at the very inhospitable CenturyLink Field. It would also be a tough way to start the playoff stretch push, and after coming so close in each of the last two years, 49ers fans are tired finishing second. Based on the average price that they’re paying, it appears that they’re doing everything possible to make sure their team finishes first in 2014. Below is a list of the last three years Thanksgiving game along with average price for each.
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