A large latte. A McPick 2. Two gallons of gas.
Yes, the cost of a ticket to a Cleveland Browns game isn't any more than say, a cup of coffee, a fast-food lunch or fuel to drive about 50 miles.
For fans of the Browns, who are dangerously close to becoming the second team in NFL history to go 0-16 in a single season, tickets for the team's last two home games are so cheap, it's hard to think of a reason not to go. Other than misery.
But seriously, it's nearly impossible to remember the last time the price of admission to an NFL game was so cheap. Though tickets through the Browns website bottom out at $34 for each of the last two home games – Dec. 11 vs. the Bengals and Christmas Eve vs. the Chargers – they are available on the secondary market for as little as $5. Heck, at that price, why not let Santa bring you a pro football game? (Disclosure: Tickets start at $10 for the Bengals game. It's the Chargers game that's the real steal.)
The bargain-basement tickets aren't completely unprecedented, but they may well be the result of the perfect storm in Cleveland.
"Cleveland has just had the most expensive six months in Cleveland sports history, between the Cavs and Indians," said Jesse Lawrence, CEO of the event-ticket search engine TicketIQ. "So, are they [fans] out of money or tired of losing? They've just been through this amazing six months and now there is this reversion to the old way of losing."
While the Cavaliers' run to the first NBA championship in franchise history and the Indians' foray into the World Series earlier this year may have soured Cleveland fans on the Browns, tickets to NFL games haven't exactly been a break-the-bank proposition in Cleveland for some time.
In fact, according to TicketIQ, the Browns have hosted four of the five NFL games for which tickets could be had on the secondary market for less than $10. The fifth game is the Dec. 5 matchup between the New York Jets and Indianapolis Colts. And there were two games last season – Dec. 13 San Francisco at Cleveland and Dec. 27 Cleveland at Kansas City – for which fans could get in for less than $10.
Through 12 games this season, the average ticket price to a Browns game on the secondary market was $80.98, according to TicketIQ. On the other end of the spectrum, the highest average this season belongs to the Dallas Cowboys ($496.77), with the Seahawks ($413.62) and Patriots ($411.10) rounding out the top three.
But that $81 average isn't the lowest for the Browns this decade – the season average for resale tickets hit a low of $78.75 in 2011, when the Browns went 4-12 and finished the season on a six-game slide. But even that's not rock-bottom in the NFL – that honor, according to TicketIQ, belongs to the 2013 Jacksonville Jaguars, whose average ticket price of $56.75 was the lowest since 2010.
Of course, even if you only have to pay $5 to get into an NFL game, it's no cheap affair. A quick web search shows that parking for a game at FirstEnergy Stadium will run fans up to $75 to be within a half-mile of the stadium and once you're inside, well, that first beer will cost double the get-in price. So after the $10 beer, a plate of Cleveland nachos (which aren't really nachos at all, they're spiral-cut chips topped with parmesan cheese, green onion, crumbled bacon and fresh thyme) and maybe a bag of donuts, the food alone will run you nearly $30.
Tickets for pro sports as cheap as the ones for the final two Browns home games are generally few and far between. The exception, says Lawrence, is Major League Baseball, where seats can regularly be had for less than $10 due to the number of games played per season. And deeply discounted NBA tickets for struggling teams like the Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers aren't too tough to come by.
Interestingly, it's tough to find an NHL ticket in that price range, though. Lawrence says that's a function of the zeal of hockey fans as well as the action on the ice.
But the reality is that a $5 NFL ticket doesn't come around all that often. And while Clevelanders might be tired of seeing their team lose, they've also got a unique opportunity to experience a big-time sporting event with a stunningly small-time price tag.