FanGraphs Baseball


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  1. The White Sox also dropped daily parking down from $25 to $20 ($10 on Sundays) which was very much needed. Though I’m still a cheap SOB. Public transportation + behind home plate upper deck + no beer + no food + no merchandise = $30-$40 dollar experience

    Comment by SeaBass — April 5, 2013 @ 9:27 am

  2. Hey Fangraphs,
    You know what this article could use? Graphs. Or charts. Whatever. Either way its about Seven Five sentence paragrahs separated by line breaks. It’s almost like reading a chart! Only wastes more space. I’m not saying get rid of Wendy’s writing and insight. Just suppliment it with a quick chart to reference so we can easily look compare and contrast the information for ourselves as well.

    Comment by Where are the graphs? — April 5, 2013 @ 9:32 am

  3. I’m kind of shocked at some of the baseball ticket prices these days. Not to mention beer and bad food prices. I saw the Rolling Stones a few years back for $150, U2 for $125. With the money the teams are raking in on TV, you would think ticket prices could be held down. (of course Mick Jagger can’t hit a lick)

    Comment by Hurtlockertwo — April 5, 2013 @ 9:53 am

  4. Nice piece Wendy, always good to stay informed on the costs per fan. Would be interesting to see how much of the revenue that the teams who raised their ticket prices comes from tickets and see what type of increase they can expect. Also, maybe you know this, but I thought that for years Wrigley Field had the lowest beer prices, keeping Cubs fans coming to the park despite abysmal records. Now it’s changed, but I was wondering when/if that happened?

    Comment by Ben — April 5, 2013 @ 9:57 am

  5. Supply and demand…? If people stop paying these prices, their options will be lower prices or empty parks…

    Comment by Eric R — April 5, 2013 @ 10:21 am

  6. who goes to a game and buys two hats?

    Comment by MrKnowNothing — April 5, 2013 @ 10:26 am

  7. Tickets are still too expensive, no wonder attendance is down. Count travel (you don’t get anywhere easily in a big city on game day) and parking into a $27 ticket, then most people have some kind of concession and the trip is around $60. That’s more than a little steep. Who can really afford a baseball game? Who doesn’t realize during the whole experience that every cost is 3x too high? You go to the game admitting that you’re burning your dollars and you say that’s fine because baseball is awesome. Honestly, I can’t go to games anymore. They just cost too much and there’s too many other things going on.

    But this is all very predictable. Of course when you raise the price you will shrink the fan base. And you will alienate many. But they don’t care, it really isn’t about the game to the owners and if there’s anything that’s going to drive me away from sports its this.

    Comment by tahititaco — April 5, 2013 @ 10:32 am

  8. where did you read that?

    Comment by Sleight of Hand Pro — April 5, 2013 @ 10:32 am

  9. “Fan Cost Experience also published its Fan Cost Index this week. The FCI tracks the price of four non-premium seats, two beers, four hot dogs, four sodas, parking, two programs and two adult-sized baseball caps. “

    Comment by Steve — April 5, 2013 @ 10:42 am

  10. who goes to a game and buys two hats? Four Saudi Arabians?

    Article headline from today’s (London) Independent:
    £299 for VIP standing tickets at Rolling Stones sparks anger among fans (but gig sells out in 5 minutes) £299 is about $460 to stand in a public (Hyde) park. Price did not include booking fee of about £30.

    Comment by maqman — April 5, 2013 @ 10:48 am

  11. Fun piece!

    Comment by Charlie — April 5, 2013 @ 10:51 am

  12. Some of this stuff is pretty meaningless to the average fan. It has almost no impact on me what teams charge for “premium seats”. They could charge $50K/seat which would flow into all sorts of averages, but the bottom line is that 99% of fans never look at those seats. They are there for corporate clients. Good for them.

    But for the rest of us regular folk, if I want to go to a Yankee game, I just go on stubhub and buy $12 tickets. The beer is overpriced, but no more so than at a concert or compared to a soda at a movie theater or amusement park. The notion that people cannot afford to go to a ballgame is becoming kindof a myth in the stubhub era (I get that for people who live very far from the stadium, the cost of getting there can be prohibative).

    What people are really saying is this: “I can’t afford to go to a game and sit in really good seats and eat and drink whatever I want”. Ok, that is probably true. But if you don’t mind sitting in cheap seats, outside of Mets/Sox games, tickets are plentiful and inexpensive. You are also allowed to bring your own food into the stadium.

    Comment by Steve — April 5, 2013 @ 10:58 am

  13. Somebody with two kids?

    That bill looks like it is supposed to be representative of the archtypical “family of four” on their first visit to the ballpark. (On subsequent visits, they skip the merch and have figured out how to smuggle in food, if necessary, or they ditch the kids entirely and daddy just goes with his, uh, “work associate”).

    Comment by joser — April 5, 2013 @ 11:00 am

  14. Well, sure, but one of the points of this is to compare the prices in various cities, for which you have to pick some kind of baseline.

    Personally I’d like to see a graph of ticket prices vs # of tickets available at the price for each stadium, to get a sense of the distribution of prices and how available the “cheap seats” actually are. Of course to do a real comparison you should normalize the prices in each stadium according to the CoL for the metro area each is in; it would be interesting to see which stadium is the most overpriced relative to its surrounding demographic.

    Comment by joser — April 5, 2013 @ 11:05 am

  15. Ticket prices seem to have outpaced inflation, as you could get box seats for $1 in 1920 (about $11 today). Imagine seeing Babe Ruth in premium seats for $11! But, of course, that’s supply and demand, as we would all rush to buy those tickets, or just look through the knot holes of the wooden outfield fence. Then go to the swimmin’ hole.

    Comment by Razor — April 5, 2013 @ 11:09 am

  16. There is still no better deal than the Brewers Uecker seats ($1). Park on Wisconsin Ave for free, walk down to the stadium (under 1 mile), wait in line a litte, buy Uecker Seats for $1, pack a meal and a drink to bring into the game and you can literally experience baseball for $1. Do it on a Bobblehead game, and then resell your bobblehead online and get paid to watch baseball, maybe even enough to afford a Spotted Cow while you are at the game.

    Comment by Steven — April 5, 2013 @ 11:16 am

  17. Teams are wising up and leaving less money on the table. I remember an instance where the Rockies were selling bleacher tix for a $1…during a playoff run. Scalpers swooped in and pocketed what the team didn’t. That said, if they want to, teams can curb scalping. I’ve seen little indication they’re motivated to do so.

    Comment by Greg — April 5, 2013 @ 11:31 am

  18. The Tigers offered much less attractive options to previous partial season ticket holders. My father routinely buys 15-27 game packs and wasn’t offered opening day or the same type of parking options as before.

    That’s a good sign for the team’s bottom line, but you don’t like to see it.

    Comment by Neil — April 5, 2013 @ 11:39 am

  19. It just might be possible that Wendy got this information from Fan Cost Experience, which is a website that charges for content, and by displaying the information in paragraph form with commentary, it is a derivation of that work, rather than a blatant copy. Now while this is possible, I’d say it is unlikely unless Wendy has a basic understanding of the law. So your guess is as good as mine.

    Comment by TKDC — April 5, 2013 @ 12:28 pm

  20. Ugh I know, all that reading really gets in the way!

    Comment by Fill — April 5, 2013 @ 12:32 pm

  21. I think Wendy is a lawyer, so the probability of your explanation just increased!

    Comment by Jason — April 5, 2013 @ 12:47 pm

  22. Weekend games, Strasburg games, you can sell out and always will. Tuesday nights? Drop the prices to $5 and fill the stadiums

    Comment by poohbear — April 5, 2013 @ 1:16 pm

  23. Instead of two beers and two caps, just make it six beers for two people. Sounds about right to me.

    Comment by Johnny Come Lately — April 5, 2013 @ 1:19 pm

  24. Wait, attendance is down? I don’t think that’s true.

    Comment by Johnny Come Lately — April 5, 2013 @ 1:24 pm

  25. In last few years, you had to add a few dollars to the cost of a phillies ticket to cover the stubhub charge (if you could even find one that wasn’t marked up by the the re-seller already)… Unless you planned far enough ahead to actually buy a ticket from the ballpark. Not that I’m complaining – the sellout streak was great for the club. Just observing that the official ticket prices were largely theoretical to the average fan who decides to check out a game on a given day.

    Comment by KM — April 5, 2013 @ 1:26 pm

  26. The “bring stuff from home” aspect is important in calculating expected cost, I think. I love the fact that when I go to Los Angeles I can bring some soda and candy from the store and just buy a Dodger dog.

    The Fan Cost Index has some value, but to me, I’m just wondering how much will it cost me on an average night to find a couple seats that aren’t terrible, and while I’m there, have a soda, a hot dog, and something to snack on.

    Comment by rageon — April 5, 2013 @ 1:29 pm

  27. I agree, that is why I’ve attended many more minor league games over the past few years over the majors. Of course it helps that I live in Pittsburgh, so I’d be watching minor league games anyways.

    Comment by srpst23 — April 5, 2013 @ 1:39 pm

  28. Most teams don’t sell out most weekend games. Strasburg has pitched to about 3-4 home sellout crowds (I went to his 5th or so start and there were ten thousand empty seats at least – of course it was the Royals during the week, during the day and it was 100 degrees, but still). But I think teams probably set prices to maximize profits. It probably isn’t as simple as “drop prices to $5…”

    Comment by TKDC — April 5, 2013 @ 1:44 pm

  29. I linked to Fan Cost Experience’s chart but didn’t think it appropriate to reproduce it here. If you want to see all the details, check out the link.

    Comment by Wendy Thurm — April 5, 2013 @ 1:47 pm

  30. Attendance has been steady for several years across the league. Teams do see attendance variations, of course. Most of that is due to whether team is winning.

    Comment by Wendy Thurm — April 5, 2013 @ 1:48 pm

  31. What Fangraph article would be complete without a seamhead asking to normalize for ballpark effect ;)

    Comment by NatKingCole — April 5, 2013 @ 1:52 pm

  32. Mick Jagger doesn’t hit nearly as well as Chris Brown.

    Thank you, thank you. I’ll be here all week. Try the veal.

    Comment by Nick C — April 5, 2013 @ 1:58 pm

  33. That was the first Strasburg start I missed. It was too hot for me to bring my Father, who was living with me, to the ballpark. But we had a great time at Stras’ second start (in Cleveland) and his major league debut was a personal, top three (SB XVII, 2002 Final Four) sports highlight.

    Comment by NatKingCole — April 5, 2013 @ 1:58 pm

  34. Some Nat’s seats went way up, percentage-wise, this season… it’s to be expected, of course, but considering how expensive their concessions already were (seemed to be the trade-off: cheap to get in, expensive to eat) it’s a little more onerous. Of course, $5 parking under the highway overpass and $5, no-fee walk up seats are still available, so there’s that. But $8.25 for Coors Light (glad I don’t drink) and $6 for basic hotdogs is a little absurd.

    Comment by Will H. — April 5, 2013 @ 2:00 pm

  35. Looking forward to a road trip to Nats Park North on June 17th.
    Road trip? Who’s with me?

    Comment by NatKingCole — April 5, 2013 @ 2:04 pm

  36. I bring a sandwich, and lately, have been splurging on their milkshakes, which are worth the $5.75.

    Comment by NatKingCole — April 5, 2013 @ 2:06 pm

  37. No mention of the Astros and their raise in ticket prices? I’d love to see where they rank among all 30 teams and how big their increase was…but alas I don’t have that silly app.

    Comment by supershredder — April 5, 2013 @ 2:22 pm

  38. Didn’t stop the Ms from raising prices.

    Comment by Me — April 5, 2013 @ 2:30 pm

  39. I was at the first start, too. I’m not actually a Nats fan, but it was still one of my favorite experiences ever. Such a contrary to what normally happens in ridiculously hyped events: it lived up to it!

    Comment by TKDC — April 5, 2013 @ 2:55 pm

  40. VINCENT: Did you just order a five-dollar shake?
    MIA: Sure did.
    VINCENT: A shake? Milk and ice cream?
    MIA: Uh-huh.
    VINCENT: It costs five dollars?
    MIA: Yep.
    VINCENT: You don’t put bourbon in it or anything?
    WAITOR: Nope.
    VINCENT: Just checking.

    Comment by Johnny Come Lately — April 5, 2013 @ 3:17 pm

  41. sounds right if you’re bringing a designated driver with you.

    Comment by TKDC — April 5, 2013 @ 3:18 pm

  42. Caps but no beers? This certainly can’t be typical. What’s a ball game without hot dogs, peanuts and beer.

    Comment by Baltar — April 5, 2013 @ 4:06 pm

  43. Unfortunately, I’m with you. In the 70’s, I went to dozens of Giants games (I took a gameday special bus) and a few A’s games a year. I bought hot dogs, peanuts and lots of beer. I can’t remember the exact cost, but it wasn’t much, if any, more than many other entertainment expenses.
    Now, it’s been years since I’ve been to a game, and I will probably never go again.

    Comment by Baltar — April 5, 2013 @ 4:11 pm

  44. When you consider Park Factors, Rangers Ballpark in Arlington is actually about league average. Its the high temperatures, low fences and jetstream that are driving up the ticket prices.

    Comment by JuanPierreDoesSteroids — April 5, 2013 @ 5:25 pm

  45. I don’t think three beers over a three hour baseball game will put the average person anywhere near needing a DD

    Comment by Steve — April 5, 2013 @ 5:55 pm

  46. I actually think the opposite. I’ve found baseball games to be tremendously cheap, and I go to around 30 a year. I live in New York and go to school in Philly, and round trip transportation to Yankee Stadium, Citifield, and Citizens Bank Park are all around 4 bucks. Between stubhub, other ticket sites like groupon or crowdseats, and team promotions, it’s easy to find good matchups for 10-20 dollars, sometimes even less (even at Yankee Stadium I’ve gotten upper level behind home plate for under 10). You bring your own water bottle (allowed at all major league stadiums) to avoid paying 6 bucks for a drink, you eat dinner beforehand, and you don’t buy a 30 dollar Mark Teixeira jersey. 15 bucks total to get 3 hours of baseball, prices comparable to a movie.

    Comment by will — April 6, 2013 @ 1:31 am

  47. You misunderstood me. I meant the six beers should be for you, so the other person must be the DD.

    Comment by TKDC — April 6, 2013 @ 6:55 pm

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