Devoted 49ers fans are spending big to catch the playoff game on the road against the Packers
SANTA CLARA, Cali. – The San Francisco 49ers will face the Green Bay Packers on Saturday night in the NFC Divisional Playoff Round.
As the No. 6 seed in the playoffs, the 49ers were unlikely to have a playoff game at home, which means fans hoping to stay loyal to the Bay would have to spend a pretty penny.
Ross Van Praag is a lifelong 49er fan. He paid to see the generic game against the Dallas Cowboys.
“I hate the Cowboys more than any team in the league,” Van Praag said.
He said seeing the winning games in person was worth every dollar spent. For this trip, he paid $625 for his round-trip airfare, $200 for an Airbnb and around $450 for tickets to the game.
Van Praag bought plane tickets to Green Bay that evening, but the family members who accompanied him to Dallas didn’t like the idea of paying another high price for another weekend.
“Once they know who we’re playing, they raise the price a bit,” he said.
Gabe Saglie, travel editor for Travelzoo, said that’s exactly how airlines tend to operate. If there’s a high-profile event in a city, like a playoff game or the Super Bowl, expect to see prices skyrocket. It’s similar to what people would see on vacation. The rate of increase, however, would be higher for a small town like Green Bay than for a big city like Dallas.
“There’s usually more competition to play with when it comes to a city like Dallas,” Saglie said. “Although the prices will go up on a high-profile day, like a playoff game, those prices won’t be as inflated as in Green Bay, Wisconsin, where you have fewer flights and in some cases the airlines don’t fly specifically to Green Bay.”
Regardless of the rate of increase, some fans, like Troy Halter, are ready to go.
“I’ve never been to a 49er away playoff game,” he said. “This will be my very first, so it’s worth every penny.”
Halter is traveling to Green Bay from Minneapolis, Minnesota. With tickets included, it has a budget of around $800. To reduce some expenses, he goes to Lambeau Field in the morning and returns home after the game.
“Hotels are booked,” he said. “You can’t find anything, unless you pay a high price.”
In most cases, with playoff games, people can only plan to travel about a week in advance, which almost guarantees your wallets will want to throw a flag.
“If you’re an avid fan, you’re going to find a way to justify the cost and find a way to make the cost work for you,” Saglie said.
For anyone who is hesitant to travel to an away playoff game in the future, veteran fans say they always try to go over budget.
“Just be sure to factor in all the costs for food, Uber, rental cars,” Van Praag said. “That stuff adds up fast.”
To save a little money, Saglie suggests booking a return flight on a Tuesday or Wednesday, instead of a Sunday or Monday.
At almost all away games, standing room tickets, or SROs, are usually available and the cheapest, around $150 each.
As far as hotels are concerned, book as early as possible. With COVID protocols in place, hotels and rental properties tend to be more flexible on penalties for tenant cancellations.