Bowlin’ On A Budget: The big game without the big bucks

Photo at top: The view from NFL Experience inside the George R. Brown Convention Center. (Andres Waters/MEDILL)

By Andres Waters and Sye Bennefield
Reporting from Houston
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Houston, Texas hosted an estimated 1 million people for Super Bowl LI. But, NRG Stadium, the site of the big game, only seats 72,220 people, so what are the other 927,780-plus people left to do? And how can they do it without breaking the bank?

Super Bowl LI

The average price of tickets for the big game, not just this one, is between $2,500 and $3,000. Naturally, many fans couldn’t afford the astronomical ticket price. But they came anyway to support a team or maybe just soak up the atmosphere.

And they found ways to enjoy the Super Bowl on a budget.

Super Bowl LIVE
– Free Entry
Super Bowl LIVE was a nine-day event that started on Jan. 28 and ended on game day, Feb. 5, at 5 p.m.
The event offered fans the chance to listen to free concerts from over 30 artists including Lecrae, Solange and ZZ Top. There were exhibits from NASA and booths by local businesses, everything from food to locally brewed beers.
“Houston LIVE” was also inside of the festival. Houston LIVE allowed fans to learn about the history of the city.
Fox Sports placed its’ set in the middle of the festival, allowing fans to watch and take part in the network’s live broadcasts.

NFL Experience
– $25 for children under 13; $35 for adults
While not free, NFL Experience offered fans plenty to do once inside. The event featured stations for people of all ages. Fans could visit the NFL Shop, a player autograph stage, an NFL Play 60 Zone, a Super Bowl ring display, a Madden 17 gaming center, an NFL virtual reality booth, and many others.
Children seemed to get the most of out the event by taking part in the NFL Play 60 Zone, the NFL Punt, Pass & Kick station and the other interactive stations that allowed them to take part in NFL simulation drills.
“The [NFL] Play 60 Zone was really fun,” 10-year-old Ojas Prabhugaonkar said. “We did a bunch of drills like running backs and tackling.”

SportsCenter on the Road
– Free Entry
SportsCenter on the Road gave fans a chance to view live broadcasts of their favorite shows including NFL Insiders and NFL Live. It also gave them an opportunity to see/meet and greet the active players, former players or coaches who made appearances on the shows.

Food in the Area
– Prices Vary
There is no shortage of food around the Super Bowl. From the food trucks inside Super Bowl Live to the surrounding restaurants in the downtown area, even fans on a tight budget could find a quality meal for around ten dollars.
“All the food trucks around here are amazing,” Jeff Meariman said. “So, they’ve got a bunch here in the NFL Experience and all around the area.”

Photo at top: The view from NFL Experience inside the George R. Brown Convention Center. (Andres Waters/MEDILL)