Whether you're an LSU Tiger or Kentucky Wildcat, chances are, you take your SEC football fandom pretty seriously. You're in good company.
Now, a new survey from SunTrust Bank examined just how much green we put behind our SEC-related activities, and the findings may surprise you. Based on SunTrust-sponsored analysis by Wakefield Research, the average costs for college football fans in the Southeast this season will be $1,212. That figure leaps to a staggering $4,232 if hotel bookings are included.
The survey was conducted online by The Harris Poll on behalf of SunTrust on August 21st to 23rd, 2018 of 2,035 adults ages 18 and older in the U.S., among whom 916 are fans of college football. Ready for some more jaw-dropping stats? When survey participants were asked what trade-offs they are willing to make to pay for one season of college football-related expenses, 33% would give up their gym membership, 31% would stop using online shopping services, and 22% would skip their vacation.
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Of course, the total costs of attending home games vary based on team, location, and ticket demand for a specific game, but the researchers found that the average fan spends $411 on ticketing (this figure is based on ticket price and lowest priced season ticket donation required), $383 on parking, and $3,020 on hotels.
Since you're reading this, you're likely interested on the nitty-gritty by school. Based on their survey findings, the most expensive school to follow, not including lodging, is University of Georgia. Dawg fans will spend an average of $1,431 this season, followed by Florida at $1,359, and Auburn at $1,335. When the costs of hotels are included, The University of Alabama is most expensive at $6,212 this season, followed by University of Mississippi at $6,191, and University of Georgia at $5,288.
“We want to help people build financial confidence, so they can enjoy the moments that matter,” said Brian Ford, SunTrust Financial Well-Being executive.“It is possible to spend responsibly and even splurge a little without post-game regret. A little planning is all it takes to keep the budget in bounds.” To that point, SunTrust offers fans financial advice on saving for their football fund here.