Sports Lists

The Most Expensive Things in Sports

Nick DimengoFeatured ColumnistDecember 15, 2013

The Most Expensive Things in Sports

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    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    As any fan who pays hundreds of dollars for a single trip to the arena to catch a game knows, there are a lot of expensive things in sports.

    And while we can complain about rising ticket and concession prices all we want, the fact is that we'll never be able to scalp a front-row ticket for $45 like we used to back in the day.

    Lucky for us, though, some of the most expensive things in sports aren't on our tab—otherwise, we'd be in a bigger debt crisis than the one our country finds itself in. But after putting this list together, I realized that some people just can't help but pay big-time money to be part of sports action.

    From advertising to player contracts to memorabilia, these are the most expensive things in sports.

New York Giants Tickets

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    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Price tag: $292.36

    I'm not saying that I wouldn't enjoy watching the New York Giants play at their luscious home stadiumthey have won two Super Bowls in the past six seasons, after all—but the average asking price for a single ticket is too much for me to drop the coin.

    Seeing how the team got off to an 0-6 start and is currently 5-8 with nearly no chance of a postseason berth, a lot of fans probably agree with me.

Aaron Rodgers

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    Mike McGinnis/Getty Images

    Price tag: $49 million

    While Green Bay Packers quarterback and former league MVP Aaron Rodgers might not hold the distinction of having the largest contract in NFL history, he does hold down the league's highest annual salary—well, at least for this season.

    Unfortunately for Rodgers and Packers fans, the star QB went down with a shoulder injury in Week 9, which has limited him to just seven full games this season.

    So in hindsight, Green Bay has paid him $3.26 million for each touchdown he has this season—just 15.

Wembley Stadium

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    Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

    Price Tag: $1.25 billion

    Although other, newer stadiums cost more to build than Wembley Stadium, I give the nod to the British monument because of its rich history over the three venues that fall ahead of it on the most expensive stadiums list: AT&T Stadium (Cowboys), Yankee Stadium (Yankees) and MetLife Stadium (Giants and Jets).

    Sure, it might have replaced the original structure that had occupied the same area in London from 1923-2000, but the rich history still lives on with events like this past year's Champions League Final and NFL games that play overseas.

Bob Voulgaris' Gambling Habit

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    Image via pokerlistings.com

    Price tag: Undisclosed

    Described in an ESPN profile as "the world's top NBA gambler," Bob Voulgaris isn't shy when it comes to tossing money around on a sport he doesn't even play.

    Earning more than $2 million as a pro poker player, he seems like the ultimate bro to hang around with, if any of us are looking to make some money. He has reportedly won about 57 percent of his bets.

    Considering he's gambling like a high roller, he has high stakes nearly every night.

Alex Rodriguez

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    Elsa/Getty Images

    Price tag: $527 million

    Most sports fans know that Alex Rodriguez has held the two largest contracts in the history of sports. He first signed a 10-year, $252 million deal with the Texas Rangers in 2000 and then received a fat extension from the New York Yankees in 2007 for 10 years and $275 million.

    Sure, A-Rod has been nothing but a headache and underachiever since he signed the latest deal with the Bronx Bombers, but that doesn't mean he's not collecting his paychecks—which he hopes keep coming following his suspension appeal.

Air Jordans

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    Image via Grey Flannel Auctions

    Price tag: $25,000 and $104,765

    Jordan is the greatest and most influential basketball player to ever lace up a pair of kicks, so it's no surprise that the shoes he made famous have fetched some serious coin over the years.

    While I annually dropped $125 on a pair growing up, the money that people are tossing around lately to get their hands on some is insane.

    A custom version of the first Air Jordans go for a shocking $25,000, and after the famous "Flu Game" shoes from the '97 NBA Finals were put up for sale, a former Utah Jazz ballboy got a check worth nearly $105,000.

    That's a lot of dough for some rubber, leather and mesh.

New York Yankees' Luxury Tax Bill

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    Eric Christian Smith/Getty Images

    Price tag: $29.1 million

    While now former second baseman Robinson Cano may have felt a little disrespected with the offer that the New York Yankees tossed his way this offseason, one can understand why they didn't want to be more generous.

    Sure, other factors were involved like Cano's age—he just turned 31 in October—but when looking at the Yankees' luxury tax bill from all of their high-priced players, it makes sense why a few million bucks made a difference.

    No matter, the team still signed a few other guys to mega-deals, proving that money is no object for a chance to win a title next year.

Tiger Woods

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    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Price tag: $78.1 million

    Though he may still trail Jack Nicklaus by four in the hunt for the most career majors, one could make the case that Tiger Woods has been the most influential golfer of all time. Because of that, companies are willing to pay him some serious cash.

    Typically reserved for older guys with a fat behind, golf become more mainstream when Tiger came onto the scene in the mid-1990s.

    Topping Forbes' list as the highest-paid athlete in 2013, Woods is an expensive commodity.

Oregon Ducks Football Complex

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    Price tag: Estimated at $68 million

    As a University of Kentucky alumnus and former media relations employee in the athletics department, I didn't think that there could be a better college sports facility than that of the Joe Craft Center, which was built for the high-profile basketball programs.

    Until I saw what the University of Oregon constructed for its football team.

    It's insane and indescribable, with all the perks of a luxury hotel that a college kid would—and should—be drawn to.

Real Madrid Resort Island

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    Image via Getty

    Price tag: $1 billion

    As the leader in the clubhouse for the most valuable sports franchise, Real Madrid don't stop at any expense to make sure they set the bar for other organizations around the world.

    But I think that most people would be surprised to hear about the Spanish club's most recent project. No, it's not a new, state-of-the-art stadium.

    It's a private island in the United Arab Emirates.

    With a price tag of $1 billion, you better believe this thing is going to be a complete paradise for players and fans alike.

Floyd Mayweather Jr.

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    Al Bello/Getty Images

    Price tag: $80 million

    At this point, I think many of us accept that Floyd Mayweather Jr. is the best boxer in the world. Thanks to an undefeated career record and multiple title belts, that title is tough to debate.

    And for being the most polarizing figure in the sport, the dude gets paid. He took home a record $80 million in his last fight in September.

    Is it any wonder why his nickname is "Money?"

James Naismith's Original Rules of Basketball

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    Image via foxsports.com

    Price tag: $4.3 million

    For a game that seems simple—just put the ball in the hoop—the original, official rules of basketball sure got some dough.

    When they were up for auction a few years ago, a former University of Kansas alumnus dropped a cool $4.3 million to make sure the 13 original rules came back home where Dr. James Naismith founded the sport.

    While the near cost seems nuts, KU is building an $18 million facility to house the rules—which, I'm sure, will be protected as if it were the White House.

Super Bowl Commercials

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    Price tag: $4 million

    Let's face it: Everyone watches the Super Bowl.

    As the pre-emptive program that even your football-hating girlfriend finds herself scarfing down nachos and burgers for, companies know that millions of people will tune in—as fans of the two teams or not.

    It's why marketers were so open to dropping a record $4 million for a 30-second spot during last season's game between the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers.

    That's a lot of money for something that will get critiqued as being great or terrible the next day, but some even believe that it's not even close to where the price tag will fall in the future.

Los Angeles Dodgers

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    Harry How/Getty Images

    Price tag: $2 billion

    They might not be the most valuable or expensive franchise in sports, but seeing how the Los Angeles Dodgers just got sold for a record $2 billion last year—that's for a team that hasn't won a World Series since 1988—the cost is dumbfounding.

    The Dodgers' home in the second-largest media market and deep roots definitely played a part in the purchase, but still, if LA is going to get that kind of money, I can only imagine what a team like the Boston Red Sox or New York Yankees would go for—not they're going to be listed anytime soon.

Babe Ruth Jersey

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    Image via H. Lorren Au Jr./The Orange County Register

    Price tag: $4.4 million

    While I respect other people's interests and hobbies, it's no secret that sports fans are the most passionate people around.

    On top of spending money to travel all over the globe to see their favorite teams play, fans don't blink when it comes to owning a piece of history.

    That's why it's no surprise that some fans will throw down money on a rare item like this Babe Ruth jersey from 1920, which got auctioned off for $4.4 million in 2012—making it the most expensive piece of sports memorabilia ever bought.

    The "Sultan of Swat" hasn't played a game since 1935, but even more than 75 years later, he is still hitting bombs.

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