When I moved back to San Francisco in 2006, the first thing I did was buy season tickets to the 49ers. Okay, FINE. The first thing I did was date a guy whose family had season tickets, but immediately upon breaking up with him, I took the plunge and got my own seats with the lifetime rights. My mother always taught me not to rely on a man and though I think in the case of 49ers tickets she wishes I would (“They cost HOW much?” she asks incessantly), I took her advice to heart.
Because the 49ers were pretty mediocre at this point in time (7-9 in 2006), I didn’t have to throw down that much money for the seats (which I bought from someone on Craigslist). I think I paid around $500 for the lifetime rights and another two grand for the seats. (My seats have gone up in price: I now spend $2580 a season and that does not include playoff tickets, which last year cost an additional $800 for two games.)
I know. Football tickets are expensive. A luxury. A complete indulgence. And yet, going to 49ers’ games is one of the few things I look forward to every year. From December/January–April, I have snowboarding which is immediately followed by a four-month drought of happiness. Finally, football starts in September. No matter how terrible of a day or week I’m having, at least during the fall I always have a Niners’ game to look forward to.
Plus, it’s therapeutic. Some people feel feelings over relationships or [What are other things people have feelings about? Fill in the blank here, please, because I honestly can’t think of one], but I prefer to get all of my feelings out during football. I laugh, I cry, I jump up and down, I go totally mute. In the course of a three-hour NFL game, it is quite possible for me to experience every emotion from utter disappointment to total elation and afterwards, I’m so drained, I am too exhausted to feel anything again until the next game rolls around. It’s perfect. Also: totally unhealthy!
Which brings to me to my point:
The 49ers are building a new stadium and moving my team –- The SAN FRANCISCO 49ers –- to $&!*!#? Santa Clara. Apparently Santa Clara is about 45 minutes south of San Francisco (I’ve never had cause to go there before), which is fine or whatever, except 1. Santa Clara is not San Francisco, the city the team is NAMED after and 2. That’s about 45 minutes further than I currently have to travel to go to a game. Add in traffic and, well, you get it. So when I said it was “fine or whatever,” what I actually meant was SCREW THAT.
In addition, those “lifetime rights” I have to my seats? Those are only good for the Niners’ current home: Candlestick Park. In the new and improved fancy pants stadium, they’re null and void. But don’t fret my little chickens because I have the right to buy comparable seats -- and it will only cost me twelve grand.
TWELVE THOUSAND DOLLARS.
And that’s just for the Stadium Builder’s License (SBL) which gives me the right to purchase my season tickets every year. The actual tickets? That’ll be another three grand each season.
But here’s the thing:
I love going to 49ers’ games. I love the energy, the excitement, the electricity.
However, I also love having money in my savings account and spending wisely. And $12,000 is a lot of money whichever way you look at it. (I’m pretty sure there’s only one way to look at it and that’s the “It’s a shitload of money” way.)
Buying the SBL is not a good investment. In fact, it’s not an investment at all. Even if the SBLs do increase in value (unlikely), it’s not like I’m going to sell mine. It’s 12K that I’d be spending on something I love, which has value, of course, but that’s all it is: a “frivolous” expense.
I usually don’t discuss my finances with my mother, let alone total strangers, but unfortunately she did get wind of this whole new stadium situation because her best friend is a season ticket holder. Every time she’s spoken to me for the past several months, she makes a point of asking me if I’m going to buy my tickets. Every time I answer honestly: I don’t know.
“How can you afford that?” she asks.
“It’s not like you’re wealthy,” she reminds me.
“Are you seriously considering spending that kind of money?” she laments.
“How much do you have left on your student loans?” she pokes.
“One day I’d like you to have a home of your own,” she sighs.
And all I hear is her disappointment that her daughter is the kind of person who would even consider spending an exorbitant amount of money on something as low class as football. That I’m not more successful. That she can't believe I'd be so wasteful. That nothing I’ve done is right. (Again: STILL in therapy!)
Here’s the thing. I do have savings. I also have student loans. I don’t make a ton of money because I’m a WRITER for god’s sake. But I’m also a single woman who only has to support herself. I don’t plan on having children and while sure, it would be nice to own a home someday, that’s not even a remote possibility right now.
And mostly: while I believe in frugality, I also believe in pursuing my passions. I believe in enjoying every single day to the best of my ability. And I believe that there’s absolutely no point in working hard if you don’t play even harder.
So it all comes down to this: I have to decide in the next couple of hours if I am going to throw down 12K on 49ers season tickets for the new stadium. I can pay in four installments over the next three years, but they want 3K before close of business.
I have to choose between my passion and my practicality.
The clock is ticking…
What do you think I should do? (I'll be lying to my mother about it, regardless!)
Follow @daisy on Twitter for lots of drunken football tweets.