Placing a price tag on memories |

Placing a price tag on memories

There was a time when watching an exciting game in person was one of the cheapest forms of entertainment.

The prices weren’t as eye-gauging as they are today, from the overpriced tickets to the double-figure beer sales to the $80 sweater that you can find elsewhere for 75 percent cheaper. But it’s the experience you’re also paying for.

There’s no price tag on whether you’re about to witness the biggest upset in college football history. There’s no price tag if the $100 ticket you paid to watch Tim Lincecum pitch one night turned out to be the second no-hitter of his career. There’s no price tag in watching your child get as excited as you once did when you frequented the ballpark when you were little.

While the prices for today’s sports are borderline ridiculous, you get much more than the ticket suggests.

It’s easy to feel the frustration when you go online to see how much it now costs to see one of your favorite teams. You want another memory that will last a lifetime. You want the chance to witness history. You want to be that lucky fan who successfully catches a foul ball.

But you have a price to pay.

Giants tickets average in the $30 range for the upper deck while the A’s are about $10 less. The catch? San Francisco plays in one of the most beautiful ball parks in the country while Oakland is in the country’s only stadium shared by both football and baseball teams.

And unless you’ve been saving since news broke that the 49ers would be leaving Candlestick Park, you’ll be lucky if a trip to Levi’s Stadium doesn’t cost your family less than your mortgage payment. With training camp beginning this week in the NFL and preseason games starting shortly, the season is just around the corner and tickets to the 49ers in their first year at the new stadium are high, even for nosebleed.

Tickets for the home opener against the Broncos to begin the preseason start near the $100 mark. For the second and final preseason home game against the Chargers, tickets are more reasonable, starting at $58.

But this is just preseason.

Of all the eight home games this season at Levi’s Stadium, no ticket is less than $100. The official opener against the Bears in September has tickets starting at $300 with lower-bowl seats in the middle of the field hovering past $1,000. The Thanksgiving divisional battle against the Seahawks has tickets starting near the $300 range as well.

Why bother shelling out this much money just for one game when there are so many variables? What if the 49ers are blown out by the Rams? Will you try to persuade the IRS into writing off this expense as a donation to St. Louis? You will feel consumed with regret for now wasting all that money on what could have paid for a weekend excursion at Lake Tahoe or two years worth of going to the movies. Or worse, your car needs a quadruple-digit dollar repairs and now you have no one to blame but yourself.

But what if something magical happens?

Colin Kaepernick could set another NFL record. The 49ers might pull off one of the greatest comebacks in history like the days of Joe Montana. Or even better, your children might turn to you during the game, give you a long, big hug and thank you for the best gift imaginable.

There’s no price tag on creating memories with your family or friends. But the question will always boil down to how much are you willing to pay for memories.

Thomas Ranson can be contacted at