The NFL regular season kicks off in less than a month.

In previous generations fans didn’t need to take out a loan to participate the Sunday ritual of going to a game.

These days, the average price of a ticket alone is prohibitive for most people. Add in money for parking, gas, and concessions at the game and attending a game becomes further out of reach for the average American family. 

In the NBA, the average cost to see a game is $211, according to Online Betting Guide

“In the States, attending sports events can be a particularly pricey endeavor. So, this mixed with the cost-of-living crisis is making many fans question whether they really can afford to go see their favorite teams play live,” a recent study from the OLGB said. 

So just how much money are teams losing due to empty seats at the arena? OLBG did a study across sports leagues to find out using data points like average ticket price, revenue gained from those tickets, potential revenue if the stadium reaches full capacity, and the overall percentage revenue difference (average capacity vs. full capacity).

NFL Cost of Empty Seats

The more costly the seat, the more opportunity is lost when the seat remains unfilled on gameday. 

The Los Angeles Chargers lead the league in average gameday losses, with $3.07 million being lost each home game. 

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The Chargers are followed by the Washington Commanders who lose $2.97 million every home Sunday tilt. The Commanders also lead the league in average empty seats. The team’s 82,000 max capacity stadium, one of the largest in the league, averages 18,390 empty seats per game.

The rest of the teams in the top-10 (Raiders, Bengals, Buccaneers, Steelers, Vikings, Giants, Colts, and Jets) collective lost revenue surpasses $17 million, according to OLGB. 

MLB Cost of Empty Seats

In Major League Baseball, the teams at the top of the revenue loss list are also teams with some of the lowest attendance. 

The Oakland Athletics lose out on the most revenue in the league, losing out on a potential $3.6 million ever game day. The A’s are followed by the Rays who lose $2.5 million, Blue Jays who lose $2.2 million, the Baltimore Orioles who lose $2.1 million, and the Arizona Diamondbacks who lose $1.9 million every game day. 

The A’s have the largest stadium in the league with RingCentral Coliseum having a 63,132 max capacity. During the season, they average 46,492 empty seats per game.

Total losses measured across baseball’s top 10 teams is the most in all the major U.S. sports, surpassing $20 million per game day. 

NBA Cost of Empty Seats

In the NBA, the Atlanta Hawks are the kings of losing potential gameday revenue, followed by the pricy seats at the Brooklyn Nets, New York Knicks, Los Angeles Clippers, and Chicago Bulls.

The Hawks lost $1.23 million in potential money per home game, while the Nets lose $1.03 million, the Knicks lose $710,000, the Clippers lose $704,000 and the Bulls lost $656,000. 

The United Center where the Bulls play is the largest stadium in the league with a max capacity of 23,500. The Atlanta Hawks average the most empty seats per game at 5,619. 

The Minnesota Timberwolves have the lowest average ticket price in the league at $91. 

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