US-China trade war to cost NFL, college football fans this year

NFL and college football fans will pay a steep price to enjoy their favorite sport this fall if the U.S. and China are unable to resolve their lengthy trade dispute, according to a leading retail trade group.

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The cost of several basic products beloved by the sport’s fanatics – apparel, television sets, tailgating gear and the football itself – will rise in the coming weeks alongside planned U.S. tariff hikes, according to the National Retail Federation. That means everything from watching the game at home to partying with friends outside the stadium is about to get more expensive.

“Fans are all too familiar with the penalties that can set their teams five, 10 or 15 yards back from the goal line. But as this season unfolds, they need to be aware that new U.S. tariffs ranging from 15 to 30 percent will drive up the price of everything from footballs and TVs to portable grills and fanwear,” the group said in a press release.

The Trump administration added a 15 percent tariff on $112 billion worth in Chinese-made goods, including apparel and footwear, on Sept. 1. Existing duties on $250 million in goods will increase to 30 percent from 25 percent on Oct. 15, and another planned hike on Dec. 15 will place 15 percent tariffs on an additional $160 billion in products.

Team jackets and hats will be subject to the 30 percent tariff should it take effect on Oct. 15, while apparel like jerseys, t-shirts and sweatshirts will be impacted by the 15 percent tariffs. U.S. fans buying new TVs this fall are set to pay $711 million more than they would have based on pre-tariff levels.

Tailgate staples like grilling equipment, coolers and folding tables will also cost more to purchase, as will all footballs manufactured in China.

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U.S. and Chinese diplomats are expected to hold another round of talks toward a potential trade agreement in Washington in early October.