MLB Ticket Prices and the Reds

The Boston Globe released figures from all 30 MLB teams and their ticket prices. The average MLB increase was 10.9%. Along with those figures is a “fan cost index” which factors in four tickets, 2 beers, four sodas, four hot dogs, parking, two programs, and two adult sized caps. We will look at the “fan cost index” a little later on, but today we will focus on the average cost of tickets.

How do the Reds stack up?

The Reds increased prices between 2007 and 2008 by a modest $1.70 from $17.71 to $19.41, an 8.76% change. This is below the Major League Average of 10.9%. Of course we would all like to know where the money goes (must-sign contracts to lead-off hitters no doubt), but most of the financial data is hidden from the public. Cincinnati ranks as the 21st most expensive, or the 8th cheapest, ticket in MLB. These prices are comparable to Milwaukee, Cleveland, Florida and Texas.

It is not really surprising that the Red Sox, Cubs, and Yankees are the most expensive tickets. Demand certainly drives up cost, but an increase in price can also come from other areas. For example, the Cubs added seats down on the field by expanding the seating area between home plate and the bullpens.

The San Francisco Giants reversed the trend and dropped ticket prices by a whopping 13.83% from 2007 to 2008. The average price in 2007 was $25.11 falling this season to $22.06. It is amazing that a team openly acknowledges that it will be rebuilding for sometime and, without a certain aging left fielder, that they would lower the price of admission to draw fans. Or perhaps the price was inflated over the past few seasons to generate revenue while a certain aging left fielder was breaking records*.

Cleveland (-9.84%) and Atlanta (-.70%) also showed decreases in ticket prices.

The Colorado Rockies had the largest percentage and actual dollar increase, a year after winning the National League pennant and reaching the World Series in improbable fashion. The Rockies increased ticket prices $9.22, from $16.50 in 2007 to $25.72 in 2008, a difference of 35.85%. That’s more than three times the MLB average. The Rockies were the 4th cheapest ticket in MLB in 2007 before their amazing finish. In 2008, they rank 18th.

Both the Pittsburgh Pirates and Tampa Rays showed no change in their average ticket prices. Who can blame them?

One thing that would be interesting to look at is how much rising energy and food prices in an economy that has turned sour affects ticket sales and attendance as we move through the season. Certainly there is less discretionary income for individuals and families to spend on baseball games when looking at a shrinking budget.

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