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Top 5 cheapest ballparks

San Diego Padres, Petco Park
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San Diego Padres, Petco Park

It seems that every year there is a Cinderella story in baseball. Last fall, the Padres rode an unexpected run of solid performances and gritty play to just miss the playoffs, in the final game of the season. This year the San Diego baseball team hasn't fared as well, but that hasn't stopped fans from showing up.

Despite not repeating last year's heroics, attendance is up so far in 2011, according to team president and COO Tom Garfinkel. It certainly helps that Petco Park has the second lowest Fan Cost Index at $125.81, down 6.5 percent from last year's figure.

When Garfinkel and lead owner Jeff Moorad took over in 2009, they responded quickly to fan feedback on a perceived lack of value at the park, resulting in deals such as introducing $5 beers and kid's meals last season (independently, of course), $7 caps and free programs. Additionally, more than a third of all seats at Petco are less than $18 and regular special pricing is available to San Diego's large military population.

"Ultimately, pricing is a function of supply and demand, and when we arrived in 2009, supply was high and demand was at an all-time low for Petco Park," Garfinkel says. "While we are encouraged at the results we have seen so far, we have much more work to do to get where we would like to be."

Garfinkel says the Padres don't anticipate team performance when setting pricing, instead focusing on consistent value to fans.


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