Tailgating is about to get more expensive, according to a new report from Wells Fargo.
The findings, released Monday, found the cost for a number of tailgating season essentials has surged due to inflation. Consumer prices in July rose 8.5% from a year earlier, according to the Labor Department's Consumer Price Index.
Even with the elevated costs, economists at Wells Fargo expect plenty of parking lot parties this year, with fans eager to return to their favorite football season traditions.
"There's a lot of pent-up demand," said Sarah House, a senior economist at Wells Fargo. "(And) there are ways that fans can mitigate the cost of seeing their favorite team play, whether it's in person or away from the stadium."
Getting to the game costs more
While Wells Fargo did not offer an overall estimate for how much more tailgating will cost compared with last year, the report found travel costs are "the biggest pain point" because of high gas prices.
The national average for a gallon of gas stood at $3.90 Sunday, down sharply from more than $5 in June, but well above the average of $3.17 a year ago, according to AAA.
Flying into an alma mater will also cost football fans with airfares in July up 28% year-over-year and 16% higher than the summer of 2019.
House suggests opting for mass transit if possible, where prices have barely budged since last year.
Tailgating food prices are up
Iconic tailgating food and drinks also demand more money this year.
Beer is up 4.6% since last July, while grocery prices jumped 13.1%.
House suggested tailgaters be mindful of which foods they bring. Opting for hotdogs, which are up 5.3%, instead of chicken or ground beef, up 17.6% and 9.7% respectively, could help trim costs. Or football fans could pick up pork ribs, which increased just 1.6%.
Whatever fans choose, grilling will cost more this year with propane and firewood up about 22% from 2021.
As for sides, House suggested opting for fresh fruits and veggies – up less than 10% – over packaged snacks, which are up nearly 17%.
How to save money tailgating in 2022
House said fans looking to trim costs could watch the game at home. While admission costs for live sports are rebounding, TV prices are down nearly 15%.
"When dealing with the highest inflation in 40 years, it's going to require flexibility from fans just to enjoy game day, just like it is (required in) their everyday budgets," House said.
You can follow USA TODAY reporter Bailey Schulz on Twitter @bailey_schulz and subscribe to our free Daily Money newsletter here for personal finance tips and business news every Monday through Friday.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Tailgate costs rise as travel, food prices are hit by inflation