Economy dips and fans react

USA TODAY asked sports fans how rising ticket prices and the slumping U.S. economy is impacting their sports budgets. Some say they are dropping out of live sports completely to save money. Others are dropping season tickets or spending less on concessions and merchandise.

Other die-hards say nothing beats live sporting events. They'll go to games no matter what. Here's what 10 sports fans are saying:

"The economy is hurting the sports budget." —Ted Gryfinski, Chicago

"My spending on my personal sports tickets will remain unchanged, which is Florida Gator sports such as football and basketball. Spending once I get there will depend upon the current economy relative to other factors ... gas, hotel, and related travel costs. I will not cancel!" —Kevin Rinker, Orlando

"I'm originally from Attleboro, Mass., and I'm a huge sports fan of all Boston teams both college and pro. The one team that is closest to my heart is the Red Sox. Each year my wife, Annette and I try to make it back to New England to catch either a Red Sox or Patriots game. My first game at Fenway was back in 1957. I have an extensive collection of Red Sox memorabilia which I've collected over the past 50 years, including a ticket from the 1948 World Series between the Cleveland Indians and the Boston Braves. I have no intention of letting the current economic conditions alter my plans for the future. Both my wife and I were in attendance of the 2008 Opening Day game this year and I'm already in the process of to acquiring tickets for Opening Day of the 2009 season at Fenway." —Alan Magnin, Hill Air Force Base, Utah

"I won't attend another Detroit Lions game until they prove to me that they are competitive. Matt Millen did not fair well up in Detroit, but that organization stunk long before Mr. Millen arrived at the scene. I wish they would dissolve the whole team!! The Detroit Lions are an embarrassment to the NFL. I was born a little too late I suppose, because if you were to look at the Detroit Lions history during the 1950s ... they dominated. The Lions won four division titles and three world championships, which are now referred to as Super Bowls. I was born in 1957 so I did not get the pleasure of seeing a winner." —Brian Blight, Peoria

"I am a 27-year-old father of two and my spending on sports has dropped dramatically as the economy has sputtered. In years past I would take both of my kids to games and buy all sorts of concessions and souvenirs. Recently though the quality and quantity of seats that I purchase has diminished and the quantity of money spent during the game also has dramatically dropped. I am a huge baseball fan and every year since I was a child would go to multiple games a month just for the joy of being at the ballpark but now with the high ticket prices and parking fees I will only attend the three games my team comes to town. I would love to take my son to an NFL game but at $200 dollars for two tickets and parking the cost is not worth the return."

—Michael Popham,

San Jose

"The current economic situation impacted me as far as this is the first year in a long time I did not attend a baseball game. I am going to a football game but will have to strongly consider finances when deciding to attend a hockey or a basketball game (something I try to do on a yearly basis also)." —Mark Weinstein, Lawrenceville, Ga.

"I am an avid Toronto Blue Jays fan and attend spring training each year. As a family, we attend roughly 5 games a year and spend an average of $200/game including tickets. Will we spend less now? Probably not. That's because we budget accordingly for the things we enjoy to do. We don't spend more than we have on things that we THINK we need — baseball included." —Adam Stevenson, Toronto

"No economic impact in my sports budget. In fact, I'm spending more this year as a co-season ticket holder for the NHL Blue Jackets here in Columbus. Our season ticket group actually upgraded our tickets this year to nearly double our ticket cost from previous seasons. While attending the Ohio State-Purdue game last Saturday, I couldn't help but notice Mike that with the economic crisis, people are still attending football games, hockey games, NBA games. They are still going out to restaurants, buying souvenirs, staying in hotels and travelling to see their favorite sports teams. Truthfully, this economic situation has been blown way, way out of proportion." —John Wisse, Columbus

"As a Vikings football fan I'll be extremely interested in what happens to the Vikings' stadium situation over the next couple of years. With Ziggy Wilf wanting a new stadium, their Metrodome lease running out in 2011 and the state of the economy, I seriously doubt whether new stadium, either completely or even partially constructed with public dollars would ever get approved.

"Move the team??? Hmmm..." —Jack Johnson, Rochester, Minn.

"I am a season ticket holder for the Connecticut Sun (WNBA); New York Mets (Saturday games only); UConn Huskies men's and women's basketball (Hartford games only). I attend the Big East women's tournament, some NCAA women's tournament games, and I've been to four women's Final Fours. So I watch a lot of sports. I have renewed my subscription to UConn hoops, I will renew my subscription for the Sun, but I am waiting to see what the Mets will offer me in (the new park), and how much it will cost, and I am thinking of downgrading to outfield bleacher seats." —John Simpson, Hamden, Conn.


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