TMR’s 2014 Fan Cost Index

Each year Team Marketing Report publishes their MLB Fan Cost index and here is what they have published for 2014.

The average Major League Baseball season ticket has increased by 2.0 percent to $27.93 for the 2014 season, according to the Team Marketing Report Fan Cost Index®.

This minor increase is part of a trend; last season, the average MLB ticket increased by 1.8 percent. The year before that, there was no percentage increase. In 2010-11, tickets rose by a combined 2.7 percent.

The Fan Cost Index (FCI) total, the average price to take a family of four to a game, increased by 2.3 percent to $212.46. The FCI is created by combining four non-premium season tickets, two beers, four soft drinks, four hot dogs, parking, two programs or scorecards, and two adult-size hats.

TMR uses season ticket pricing and the lowest full-size prices for the ancillary items, so if a team has an $8 beer and a $6 beer, TMR uses the latter to show how much, or how little, one can spend at a game.

The average “premium” season ticket is $93.41. TMR splits up premium and general seats in its methodology. The Yankees lead baseball with an average premium price of $305.39, while the Dodgers are second at $254.19.

The “premium” designation is supposed to be used for club seats or any section that has special features. According to TMR research, the MLB average for premium seats is 13.7 percent . The Yankees classify 16.2 percent of season ticket seats as premium, while the Dodgers classify 8.6 percent.

Some teams with newer stadiums have a heavy dose of premium seating. The New York Mets, for example, classify an “amazin’” 59.3 percent of seats as premium. Their premium average ticket is $83.78, compared to a general ticket of $25.30. The Washington Nationals are second-highest in premium percentage at 26 percent. Their premium average is $187.29, while their general ticket is $35.24.

This season, 17 teams showed increases of more than 1 percent in general average tickets, while only two teams lowered their average ticket by more than 1 percent. Eleven teams kept ticket prices essentially flat.

The two teams that dropped prices had the worst records in baseball. After a 111-loss season in its first season in the American League, Houston’s average ticket price fell 13.6 percent to $27.98. Miami, which lost 100 games, dropped ticket prices by 7.7 percent to $27.01.

Interestingly, many of these increases came from the lower-priced teams. Of the 10 lowest-priced tickets in baseball, nine had percentage increases this season, with only Toronto going down. Just four of the 10 highest-priced tickets increased.

Fresh off an unlikely World Series, the Boston Red Sox remain the most expensive average ticket at $52.32, still above the New York Yankees’ $51.55, whose season tickets remained flat. The Red Sox’s price deserves a minor explanation. We have the Red Sox listed with a 4.9 percent increase. But in the 2013 FCI, we show Boston has an average ticket price of $53.38. As it turns out, the Red Sox had been submitting single-game prices for a few years. We corrected it this season and did a retroactive change to last year’s price. So technically, the Yankees had the highest average ticket price last season.

The Chicago Cubs remain baseball’s third most-expensive ticket at $44.16, which is down 0.9 percent from last season.Their FCI of $303.64 is third, and includes a $25 parking fee for nearby lots. The Cubs are offering a free lot, with shuttle service, about 2 1/4 miles west of Wrigley this year. Speaking of the Cubs, after signing a big-money deal with Anheuser-Busch InBev they jettisoned longtime beer partner Old Style from the vendors to stands, while adding Goose Island beers to the vending options. The cheapest beer at Wrigley is $7.50 for a 16-ounce pour at several stands around the park.

The average MLB beer stayed flat, price-wise, at $6.09. The Marlins boast the most expensive, cheapest beer option at $8 for a 16-ounce beer.

The cheapest average ticket this year comes again from the San Diego Padres $16.37, which is a 2.4 percent increase from 2013. The Arizona Diamondbacks, with an average ticket of $17.98 (up 6.4 percent), has the cheapest FCI again at $126.89.

Of course, market size, and fan demographics, often determine prices. Certainly, many fans don’t get what they pay for in regard to winning teams.

Of the teams with the top 10 FCIs in 2014, only three – Boston, St, Louis and Detroit -made the playoffs last season.

Compare that to the bottom 10, where five teams – Atlanta, Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and Cleveland – made the postseason.

Kansas City, fresh off its first winning season since 2003, bumped up prices by 24.7 percent, the biggest jump in baseball. The Royals’ average ticket price of $24.73 is still well below the league average. The Dodgers had the second-high percentage increase at 15.3 percent, with an average ticket of $25.80.

EDITOR’S NOTE: TMR reserves the right to make retroactive changes to the FCI and could update the official chart after the initial release. All information comes from teams, concessionaires, MLB and affiliated websites.

2014 MLB Fan Cost Index

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