Spring Football Games: A Frugal Introduction To College Sports

Today we are heading back to the university my wife and I attended (and met) to watch the annual spring football game.  This intra-squad scrimmage represents the ceremonial end to spring football practice, but the team will have one more practice the day after the game to review film and set the remainder of the off-season schedule.

Photo courtesy of laffy4k

We are using this year’s spring football game as a frugal introduction to the game of football for my son, who up to this point has only seen football on his Nintendo Wii or on television.  He is not generally fond of crowds and loud noises, so taking him to a regular season college football game has not been an option.  The spring game is usually not quite as loud (or crowded), and there are a variety of family-friendly activities for the kids to participate in leading up to kickoff.

This year the school is having a punt, pass, kick competition for all different age brackets.  They will also have a variety of inflatable, sports-themed games and toys for the kids to play and interact.  Cheerleaders will be on hand to do face painting, and for photo ops (my wife says I’m not allowed to participate in these two events).

I love college football, and I love going back to my school for any reason.  It will be even more special to share this experience with my kids (my daughter has already been to one game last season).  My son has only recently taken an interest in football, despite growing up to the sounds of football from Saturday morning to Monday evening on his Dad’s television.  I’ve never been one to force the game on him; I figure I’ll let him decide on his own what he likes to play.  But I also want to share the experience with him so he gets to see the game the way I saw it, and played it growing up.  I want him to hear the sounds of the band, and the crunch of the pads.  I want him to smell the hot dogs , and feel the warm sun bathing the stadium on a late afternoon.  I want him to experience the camaraderie shared between 90,000 close friends.  Can you tell I’m excited?

So What’s All This Going To Cost?

The tickets for the spring football game were $5 each, general admission.  If we arrive early, we should be able to pick out good seats so my son can get close to the action.  Regular season tickets easily run six or seven times that amount, making a family of four outing quite expensive.  We plan to pack a picnic lunch in our cooler before setting out to save on food costs.

We’ll probably burn through close to one tank of gas there and back, so I’ll have to factor in those costs as well.  Probably looking at around $50 for the entire day, including a souvenir or two for the kids, and a bag of spicy boiled peanuts and a souvenir cup of Coca Cola for the adults (hey, it’s a tradition!).


  1. Sounds like a fun filled frugal day-cation for the whole family! Pass along the traditions, and have a great time!

  2. Go bucks!

    I had hoped to make it to the spring game this year, but forgotten until now.


  3. I think spring games, mini camps (we’ve got pro football in town), and minor league baseball are great ways to give our kids the game-day experience without the major league expense. I love the NAIA basketball tourney here in KC for that very reason.

    Have a blast.

  4. what a great idea. I didn’t think of that. We get season tickets for the UT lonhorns, but our kids (1 and 3) would definitely enjoy this and it would be cheaper. thanks so much for the tip.

    I recently posted new info on my blog.

    There are lot of free and cheap things to do in the next few days.

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    Cha Ching Queen

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  5. Spring games are great ideas for cheap entertainment. Spring games are when most people are trying to make the team so you can expect 110%. Great idea and definitely recommend attending your local spring games.