Some say the experience of going to a Major League Baseball game is priceless. And once you see your kid take in the size of that huge, green field or feel the hot sun burning the bridge of your nose while you finish a lukewarm beer and yell at no player in particular, you have to agree.
Once we stop kidding ourselves, though, we realize that Major League teams don't exist solely to distribute warm memories and inebriated high-fives, and that you can indeed pay a pretty remarkable price for this experience. Teams are businesses, after all, and many of them do just fine on account of our desire to show our favorite baseball teams some love.
As businesses, they also understand the importance of providing value to their fans, and in terms of dollars and cents, some teams do a remarkably better job than others.
Team Marketing Report, a sports marketing firm that surveyed all 30 Major League clubs on fan costs at the start of the season, developed the Fan Cost Index, which takes into account four adult tickets, two small draft beers, four small soft drinks, four regular hot dogs, two programs, two of the least expensive adjustable hats and parking for one car at the ballpark. Though teams introduce various promotions throughout the season, the index provides a fairly consistent snapshot of the league's prices.
Believe it or not, there's affordable baseball to be watched. Keep in mind that winning is not part of the Fan Cost Index, but these parks still offer the most bang for the buck.