Like that one time in 1996 when Charlie Sheen reportedly paid more than $6,500 for 2,615 tickets to Anaheim Stadium — to catch a home run ball that never happened — sometimes there are some pretty absurd costs involved in Major League Baseball.
It’s $6.25 for a hot dog at Yankee Stadium; $6 for a small soft drink at the Dodger Stadium; and it costs $25 to buy a cap at Fenway Park.
Prices continue to inch upward, but Americans’ appetite for peanuts, popcorn and pitching changes is at an all-time high. The 10 best-attended seasons in the sport’s history have come in the past 10 years, including 73.7 million fans in 2014 and nearly 73.8 million fans in 2015.
The average MLB ticket price rose 3.3% over the course of last season to $28.94, the largest increase since 2009, according to Team Marketing Report, a sports marketing publisher. The average Fan Cost Index, or FCI, rose 2.5% in 2015 to $211.68. The FCI figure includes 4 adult average-price tickets, 2 small draft beers, 4 small soft drinks, 4 (regular) hot dogs, parking and 2 of the cheapest hats.
Don’t be fooled. It might sound like you’re getting a lot, but you’ll also be spending a lot at these 10 most expensive ballparks.
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No. 10: Minute Maid Park (Houston Astros)
Fan Cost Index: $220.28
After another rebuilding season — which is baseball language for “What else is on?” — the Astros had the 2nd-highest increase in ticket pricing last year, behind only the American League champion Kansas City Royals. The 13.7% increase brings an average ticket to $31.82, though their Coca-Cola Value Days offer a ticket, hot dog, popcorn and Coke for $18.
Marlins Park saw the 2nd-largest jump in average ticket price among the top 10 parks, up 7.2%. Just 3 years since its opening, the park recorded the lowest attendance in the National League last season. The Marlins feature Burger & Beer Fridays for $25 and All You Can Eat Mondays for $25.
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No. 8: Target Field (Minnesota Twins)
Fan Cost Index: $229.36
Relatively new to the list is Target Field (Minnesota Twins), which had a 6.5% increase on FCI last year, even with average ticket prices staying flat at $32.59 and having the lowest price average for premium tickets among the top 10 ($74.18). The team keeps the fans coming with various fun nights, like Schweigert Dollar-A-Dog days and Jackie Robinson Day.
After a considerable drop in total cost during 2014, Nationals Park (Washington Nationals) ticked back up 1.8% last season. Average premium tickets are $111.95, but when you can be regularly graced with the presence of indifferent members of Congress (toward the game, of course), is there really a price too high?
The Cardinals offer the 2nd-most expensive soft drinks in baseball at an average cost of $5.25, which makes a 12-ounce beer at $5 seem much more reasonable. That, and the fact that you’re sitting in a place named after beer. Discounts on premium tickets are offered on industry appreciation nights.
The Giants were baseball’s first adopters of “dynamic pricing,” so their 6.8% increase on average ticket prices to $33.78 is likely quite reflective of a market that includes 3 World Series Championships in 5 years. The same system that hikes prices for popular rivalry games also offers tickets as low as $8 for lesser draws.
The Phillies didn’t see an uptick in average ticket prices over last year, which should resemble the on-field performance of the finally retooling team. The steep $37.42 average ticket price is softened by ticket specials such as the Phamily Pack, which includes 4 tickets, 4 hot dogs and 4 sodas for $100.
The friendly confines saw an increase in average ticket prices for the first time in 5 seasons, up just 1.5% to $44.81. Average premium tickets inched up a few bucks to $113.48. Rooftop tickets across Sheffield Avenue can run from around $80 to more than $200 for a weekend game against the rival St. Louis Cardinals.
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Once again, the Yankees’ average ticket price ($51.55) and FCI were flat last season compared with the previous season, and once again, they are comfortably the 2nd-most expensive ballpark in baseball. The average premium ticket is far and away the most expensive in MLB at $305.39. Want to park? Better bring $35.
Fenway Park (Boston Red Sox) remains the most expensive ballpark, both in terms of average ticket ($52.34) and FCI. The average ticket price is flat after the Red Sox finished last in the division last season. Beers also remain the most expensive in MLB, at 65 cents per ounce.