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Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Cost of Going to the Ballpark

Maury Brown, whose blog on the business side of baseball is highly recommended reading, posted a really interesting article yesterday about the total cost to attend ballgames. He uses data from a company called Team Marketing Report to track the cost (or income) from what can be thought of as a "typical" visit by a family of four to the ballpark. They track something called the Fan Cost Index (FCI). To quote Maury:

What makes up the FCI? Here's how it's broken down:

  • Two (2) adult average-price tickets
  • Two (2) child average-price tickets
  • Two (2) small draft beers
  • Four (4) small soft drink
  • Four (4) regular-size hot dogs
  • Parking for one (1) car,
  • Two (2) game programs
  • Two (2) least expensive, adult-size adustable caps.
Based on the FCI, going to the typical ballpark is 4.1% more expensive this year. How to do the Reds stack up in Castellini's first year as the owner? (below, high rank = expensive):
  • 22nd in ticket prices ($17.90; constant from 2005).
  • 5th (tied with 5 teams) for beer cost ($6 for 20 oz; up $0.25). They are 7th in terms of cost per oz for beer ($0.30/oz).
  • 22nd (tied with 4 teams) for soda cost ($2.50; up $0.25). They are 23rd in terms of cost per oz for soda ($0.16/oz).
  • 13th (tied with 5 teams) for hot dog cost ($3.25; constant from 2005).
  • 9th (tied with 6 teams) for parking cost ($12; constant from 2005).
  • 18th (tied with 5 teams) for program cost ($4.00; constant from 2005).
  • 4th (tied with 10 teams) for cheap ballcap cost ($15; up a whopping $5 from 2005).
  • Overall, the Reds remain a pretty good value, with an FCI of $156.60, ranked 19th overall.
Just for fun (I can't help it), I went ahead and calculated the fan cost per win (FCI/Wins) among 2005 teams:
Team FCI/Win
BOSTON $2.91
CHICAGO CUBS $2.66
SAN FRANCISCO $2.55
SEATTLE $2.49
LA DODGERS $2.24
NY METS $2.23
DETROIT $2.22
PHILADELPHIA $2.15
SAN DIEGO $2.15
TAMPA BAY $2.15
BALTIMORE $2.14
KANSAS CITY $2.14
PITTSBURGH $2.14
COLORADO $2.11
WASHINGTON
$2.10
TORONTO
$2.06
HOUSTON $2.05
NY YANKEES $2.04
CINCINNATI $1.99
CHICAGO WHITE SOX $1.90
ARIZONA $1.90
ST. LOUIS $1.78
FLORIDA $1.77
MINNESOTA $1.76
OAKLAND $1.73
TEXAS $1.72
CLEVELAND $1.68
ATLANTA $1.62
MILWAUKEE $1.62
LA ANGELS $1.32
The Reds still ranked 19th overall in terms of the fan cost per win--very much middle to lower-middle of the pack. It'll be interesting to see how this changes as the Reds start (hopefully) winning over the next few years.

Who got fleeced? The Red Sox probably should be given a pass here, since they have such a low-capacity park that they almost have to be an expensive place to attend. The Cubs, Giants, and Dodgers seem to make up the next level of expensive teams to watch play.

Who got a great deal? Angel fans were livin' in up. Cheap trip to the ballpark to watch a playoff team! Other great places to go included Milwaukee, Atlanta, Cleveland, Texas, Oakland, Minnesota, Florida, and St. Louis. Interesting that both the Angels and the A's were great values, whereas the Giants and Dodgers were poor values...

By the way, if you're wondering, the cheapest beer on a per-oz basis is not in Texas as Maury claims, but in Pittsburgh. You can get a big 21-oz cup 'o goodness for a mere $4.25, all the while admiring one of the best ballparks in the country. Did I mention that my wife's family is from Pittsburgh? We need to go back, and soon.