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One of the cornerstones of my being is that experiences are generally worth more than things. I not only say that, but I live it both through this running this blog, the trips we take, the presents I give family members, the time we dedicate to seeing family, and more. I mean, I don’t take it to an extreme and live out of a travel backpack with a baby strapped on bouncing from city to city for months or years on end, though I know some swear by that lifestyle. We still have a house, decent furniture, comfortable vehicles, etc, but when push comes to shove I value memories from trips and with friends and family way more than I do anything I can order from Amazon or Pottery Barn.
I also know that the type of experiences that people value obviously can and do vary from person to person. Some people feel at peace surrounded by mountains and sleeping in a tent without a soul in sight while some thrive on music festivals that are jam packed with like-minded dancing people. Some focus on airline miles solely to eat caviar and drink champagne while flying in an international first class cabin while others just want to get their family of five to Grandma’s house in Omaha once a year. We are thankfully all different, so even if we agree that experiences are worth more than anything else, we can and will differ on which experiences are worth the effort.
Enter the Super Bowl. To many sports fans, at least in this country, this event is the pinnacle of the pinnacle. It gets the most attention, the most ad revenue, the most television coverage, and commands the highest ticket cost of any other sporting event. Fun fact: Of the 20 most watched television broadcasts in the United States, the annual Super Bowls hold 19 of the top 20 slots…with the MASH finale in 1983 holding the #8 slot.
This year the Super Bowl is going to be held within an hour of our house in Houston, and my husband’s lifelong favorite team, the Kansas City Chiefs, are certainly in the playoff hunt with five weeks left in the regular football season. This has the potential to be the ‘perfect storm’ or ‘perfect opportunity’ to attend the Super Bowl, depending on your perspective.
While many factors both on the field and off have waned my own personal affinity towards professional football in recent years, my husband still lives and breathes for the NFL and the Kansas City Chiefs. Without thinking through the specifics or really believing it would actually happen, it was easy to agree that he should absolutely go to the Super Bowl in Houston this year if the Chiefs make it for the first time in his lifetime. I mean, he went to the World Series with his family a couple years ago under similar circumstances so this isn’t our first go’round at these types of decisions. However, now that the odds the Chiefs will make the playoffs have jumped to 88% and their odds of appearing in the Super Bowl are at 17%, the Super Bowl discussions have gone to a new level of seriousness.
Serious enough that I actually priced tickets. And OMG. I thought World Series tickets were expensive, but they are like a visit to the Dollar Store compared to Super Bowl tickets. The average Super Bowl tickets in recent years are usually in the $2,500 – $3,000 range per ticket. THAT’S THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS PER TICKET! As of right this second on StubHub, the cheapest ticket for the upcoming Super Bowl is $3,850 for an upper end zone seat before whatever fees are added when you hit purchase. If you want three seats together, as he likely would for himself, his dad, and his brother, you are currently talking about $5,495 per ticket.
Even if you assume that at some point you can get three tickets for $3,000 each all-in, that is $9,000 total for three people outside of any travel, parking, or other expenses to attend one four hour long football game.
Let’s just say I raised an eyebrow at this notion once some rough math was calculated. Perhaps I dropped a jaw, blew a gasket, or something similar. Either way I wasn’t fully on-board even though you could argue this is indeed a “once in a lifetime experience”. You know, the kind of experiences that I often say are absolutely worth it. But, worth it at what cost?
Priceless doesn’t always mean at any price when it is your cash on the line. Priceless when it comes at the expense of many other things that could be done with those thousands of dollars has to be calculated a bit more carefully. I think travel experiences can be priceless, but my way of funding them largely comes from miles and points instead of cold hard cash, though cash is also involved. I’ve certainly never spent thousands of dollars for one four hour event.
Given all of that I sit here in a quandary of believing that experiences, especially those with family, trump most other things, believing that some experiences really are once-in-a-lifetime and in a sense “priceless”, but also knowing that budgets are finite and spending thousands and thousands of dollars for one event will come at the expense of (many) other things. This same dilemma of “when priceless is too pricey” has played itself out over the last several years years as my own #1 bucket list splurge of getting my family to a house in the snowy Colorado mountains on Christmas morning has been too pricey to complete, so this is by no means an exercise limited to my husband and the Super Bowl.
Regardless of whether the Chiefs make the Super Bowl or not, and knowing full well that this is a very “first world” thing to spend mental and written space on, I do wonder that at what point is a priceless experience too pricey, and I’d love to hear your thoughts.
I also know that regardless of my own limits on priceless experiences, God himself would probably be the only one who could stop my husband from attending a Super Bowl featuring the Chiefs held just 40 miles from our house…and even God may have a hard time.