SunTrust: Americans Tackling Financials for Love of College Football

Staff Report From Georgia CEO

Thursday, August 30th, 2018

Some fans will spend hundreds to thousands of dollars on college football activities this season, from hosting game-day parties to attending the big games. According to a SunTrust survey conducted by Harris Poll, 72 percent of self-proclaimed college football fans are willing to give up something to save for tickets, lodging, tailgating, team merchandise and other activities. 

When asked the tradeoffs* they are willing to make to pay for one season of college football activities/items, fans willing to give up something say:

  • 48% would cut back on eating out once a week

  • 33% would forgo their gym membership

  • 31% would give up online shopping services

  • 27% would cut the feed on streaming video services

  • 22% would sacrifice a vacation

"From game-day gear to tailgating and tickets, being a fan can get expensive," said Brian Ford, SunTrust Financial Well-Being executive. "Having clarity of what is important allows people to budget and spend on what they value most."

One in six fans said they would give up their mobile phone every Friday to fund their college football fandom. One in nine fans would give up internet access the first week of every month.

According to SunTrust-sponsored analysis by Wakefield Research, the average costs for college football fans in the Southeast this season will be $1,212. The average cost increases to $4,232 if hotel stays are included. The total costs of attending home games vary considerably by team; the average fan will spend $411 on ticketing**, $383 on parking and a whopping $3,020 on hotels, which are often booked out months in advance of games. Click here for the full list of costs for fourteen colleges in the Southeast. 

"We want to help people build financial confidence, so they can enjoy the moments that matter," added Ford. "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."

SunTrust offers the following tips to help you enjoy the season without racking up penalties:

  1. Build a game plan – When it's third and seven, the right play can make all the difference. The same goes for your finances. Start by building a budget that's based on the things you value most. Whether it's saving for championship tickets or buying a new home, recognizing what is important can help you prioritize where your money should be spent.

  2. Down, Set, Save! – Tackle your savings goals by setting aside money for your own "fan fund." And to keep your savings consistent and on track, set up automatic transfers into your fan fund for an "Automatic First Down!"

  3. Go long! – Set up an investment strategy that will help you score lifelong touchdowns. These smart investments will help you achieve long-term goals like retirement savings while also enjoying home game season tickets in the meantime.