DECISIONS, DECISIONS: BET ON THE HORSES OR GO TO THE NFL GAME?

My favorite sports to watch and occasionally bet on are horse racing and the National Football League.  Eight days during the NFL season, I have entertainment choices that especially appeal to me:  Go to the local NFL game or stay home and multitask by watching the football on TV and squeeze in betting on some horse races as well.

Relative costs come into play…and horse racing is a great bargain by comparison to the NFL, even with moderate betting on the horses.

When I was in Saratoga recently, my trip to the racetrack with my wife cost approximately the following, excluding bets:

Two clubhouse seats (including track admission): $60
Parking: $15
Two programs:  $10
Non-alcoholic drinks and food:  $25

Total of $110

The racetracks near to where I reside are connected to a casino, so parking and admission are free, as is bottled water.  The outlays I incur are a program, betting, and food.

NFL attendance costs are dramatically different.  In 2017, CNBC calculated the average per-game monetary outlays at all 32 teams for two people.  For instance, total average costs for the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles were $268.38, with the components being:

Average ticket price:  $98.69
Price for a beer:  $8.50
Price for a soft drink:  $4.50
Price for a hot dog:  $5
Parking:  $35

NFL ticket and concession prices vary considerably depending on location and a team’s recent won/loss record.  A single premium ticket, for instance, to see the New York Giants play is over $500 whereas small-market teams are less expensive.

Where I live the average ticket prices and out-of-pocket expenses are about $250 for two people to see the local NFL team play.  (I acutally buy more expensive seats, but for the sake of discussion, assume the average ticket price.)

On a given Sunday, I can attend a game with my wife for $250 or stay home and watch on TV and also bet a few races via the internet during halftime or in the event the game becomes noncompetitive or boring.  About twice a year, I opt for attending a game, but most Sundays I stay home.

If I bet the $250 (on horse racing) I would have spent at the game, I might lose it all, in which case I would have broken even with attending the game.  But I might earn a profit…or at least not lose $250.

With sports betting on the horizon in my venue, I will soon be able to enjoy autumn and early winter Sunday afternoons and evenings by placing a few dollars on horse races from around the world and NFL games of my choice and watching the results from my well-worn comfortable family-room chair.  I rationalize the money it would have cost to attend the hometown NFL game as betting capital.

In addition, I don’t have to hear alcohol-fueled loudmouths at the game shouting profanities about how bad our coaching is, the referees’ bias, or the character flaws of the opposing team.  You’ve likely heard the same kind of invectives before…from losing bettors at the racetrack berating jockeys.

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