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Canalside Chronicles

The Student News Site of Canalside Chronicles

Canalside Chronicles

The Student News Site of Canalside Chronicles

Canalside Chronicles

A second chance
May 7, 2024

The Price of an NFL Quarterback

By: Christopher Lewis, Aidan Briggs, Michael Dormond

Joe Burrow during a game against the Washington Football Team in Landover, Maryland, Nov. 22, 2020 (Photo via All-Pro Reels).

Many football fans believe the quarterback is the most impactful player on an NFL team. The money put in by organizations to develop the quarterback, the time spent by the quarterback representing the franchise, and the constant hype surrounding the quarterback is why many fans believe the quarterback to be the face of the franchise. They touch the ball every offensive play and their personality and public presence is very important to the team and community as a whole. 

Finding A Franchise Quarterback

A Nathan Bull who is a sports management professor and an offensive coach for the SUNY Brockport football team is an avid football fan and believes personality to be the keystone when deciding who to pick for your quarterback. Whether it is at the professional level (such as the NFL) or at the collegiate level, personality is everything.

“Jalen Hurts (Philadelphia Eagles quarterback). You know, he doesn’t necessarily have the greatest stats in terms of, let’s say, passing yards, but he’s winning games and he’s acting professional. The way he speaks to the media, the way he acts in a game around the sidelines is always cool, calm, and collective and professional,” says Bull. 

In 2023, the average team spent $13.3 million on the quarterback position, the highest average for any single player on the team. At the beginning of the NFL season, the 15 highest paid players in the league were quarterbacks ranging all the way from Minnesota Vikings starter Kirk Cousins at 15, to the highest paid player who plays for the Cincinnati Bengals; quarterback Joe Burrow, being paid $55 million.  Hurts is another player on the list, ranking fourth in the NFL. While Hurts may not put up the massive amounts of yards or make plays based off of pure arm talent like Burrow due to a different play style, the leadership and professionalism he represented the Eagles franchise with on their way to the Super Bowl during the 2022 season is why Philadelphia bought in to him as their guy.

The Bengals selected Burrow with the first overall pick of the 2020 NFL draft after a 2-14 season. In the three years prior to the 2019 season, the Bengals averaged 6.3 wins but after Burrow suffered a season ending injury in his rookie year, he led them to a 10 win season and a Super Bowl appearance in 2021, making his massive effect on the franchise felt throughout the league. Before the 2023 season, the Bengals gave Burrow a 5 year, $275 million contract extension, committing to building the team around him and his skill set for the foreseeable future. Burrow will be getting a $9 million pay raise next year due to his performance in the league thus far. Not only do fans have more faith in Burrow due to his performance, the front office is willing to invest the most money given to any player in the history of the NFL in order to keep him in Cincinnati. The fans and income that Burrow has drawn to the Bengals have led to a rise in prices of tickets and made games less affordable for average fans. 

Graph of the average ticket price for the Bengals the past decade (Credit: Christopher Lewis)

Fan’s Perspective

Prior to Burrow being drafted, the Bengals’ ticket prices matched up evenly with other NFL teams in similar markets. However, once fans began to see his potential and the demand to watch Burrow rose, prices began to skyrocket. Even with Burrow’s current injury, fans want to see the team play due to the attention he has brought the franchise which has led the Bengals to have plenty of success with ticket sales in the last few seasons 

Brockport Junior Tyler Sadler is a Bengals fan and has some concerns about prices moving forward.

 “These last two years, you wanna go to a game, they gotta pay their quarterback, they gotta do brands on the stadium so it’s like, three hundred dollars for nosebleeds…everyone knows the Bengals are a notoriously cheaper franchise so with the rising prices the cost to be a fan and go to see the games is definitely difficult,” says Sadler.

Sadler isn’t the only fan who has concerns about the rising cost of attending a Bengals game. For those who live in the Cincinnati area, the annual income is constantly fluctuating making it difficult to attend games while also paying for other expenses.

Graph of the annual gross income for Cincinnati residents (Credit: Christopher Lewis)

When looking at the prices of going to an NFL game it is also important to consider the cost of living in a specific area.

Affording Tickets

Mark Chang, a sports finance professor at SUNY Brockport breaks down the impacts of living in areas where football stadiums are located.

“The construction and operation of an NFL stadium has a more direct economic impact… game days and events generate significant revenue through tourism, hospitality, and retail sales for the local area; this can be a reason why living in those area tend to be more expensive,” says Chang

 Despite the cost of living in Cincinnati being 3% less than the national average, it’s crucial to consider that individual incomes can vary based on factors such as occupation, education, and overall life experience. For the average Bengals fan to be attending these games in 2023 they must be making an annual household income of around $60,000 a year. If these trends continue, fewer fans may be able to attend these games.

Overall, paying a player hundreds of millions is an investment, and the money has to come from somewhere. The main source for that money will always be the fans through merchandise and especially ticket sales. Prices to attend NFL games have rose with the inflation going on around the world today. It’s more difficult to attend them, but if the season ends with your team and quarterback celebrating a Super Bowl title, most fans would agree it’s well worth it.

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