The New Team Marketing Report

The ORIGINAL sports business intelligence source is back!

Launched in 1988, Team Marketing Report was built on identifying and sharing best practices and empowering sports business professionals – not just connecting people with ideas, but people to each other.

Since 1991, TMR has produced its annual Fan Cost Index® for teams of the four largest US sports leagues: Major League Baseball, National Football League, National Hockey League and National Basketball Association. The FCI measures the cost of a family of four to attend a game with a standard measurement of ticket costs added with typical food, drink and souvenir costs, as well as parking.

We’ve recently acquired TMR and are busy building and improving on the incredible 30-year legacy of TMR.

Today we publish the FCI as the very tip of what’s to come.

Soon you will be able to experience an all-new TMR that is uniquely “Fancentric.” We will report and inform with the who, what, where, when, why and how teams, leagues, sponsors, brands, properties, agencies are finding success.

Specifically we’ll look at success in finding fans, engaging them and keeping them engaged. And we’ll talk about real numbers, taking real measurement, clearing real hurdles and making real money.

What’s coming? Look for new:

  • Website with news (newsletter and breaking), info, connections and 30 years of TMR archives
  • SportsSponsor FactBook™ with contact info for teams, leagues, sponsors, brands, properties, agencies and the people doing the work at each
  • 2018 FCI reports for NFL, NBA and NHL
  • Adding the FCI for Major League Soccer
  • Ways to connect and exchange ideas and find success in sports business

Have questions or ideas to share? Email us at

Stay Tuned!

Chris Hartweg


Team Marketing Report

Fan Cost Index® Details 2.4% Increase to Attend MLB Games

Cubs Climb to Top Spot for First Time; Teams Looking to Get Creative to Reduce Costs for Fans

By Chris Hartweg, Publisher

April 23, 2018 (Chicago) – The cost to attend a Major League Baseball game increased by 2.4 percent for the 2018 season, according to the Team Marketing Report Fan Cost Index®.

Average ticket prices rose by 2.7 percent to $32.44. The average FCI now stands at $230.64.

The TMR Fan Cost Index represents the cost for a family of four to attend a game. TMR staff compile costs for all 30 MLB ballparks using the price of four average weighted non-premium tickets combined with four sodas, four hot dogs, two beers and two souvenir caps, plus a parking spot.

The most expensive team to watch at the ballpark this year is the Chicago Cubs with their Fan Cost Index of $368.28. This marked the first time since 2009, and only second time since 2000, that the Boston Red Sox were not at the top of the list. They came in at second most expensive at $345.88 with the New York Yankees next at $301.46. Rounding out the top five were the San Francisco Giants ($271.70) and the Los Angeles Dodgers ($268.02).

Fans can certainly reduce costs quickly using public transportation, or by parking further from the ballpark for free. Teams including the Cubs offer free shuttles for a fairly brief ride to the ballpark.

On the other end of the spectrum, the most affordable ballgame once again belongs to the Arizona Diamondbacks, with their FCI of $145.58. They’ve had a stranglehold on the lowest FCI since 2009, also boasting the least expensive average ticket price of $19.65.

Diamondbacks President & CEO Derrick Hall was thrilled to learn his ballclub came out at the top of the value end of the FCI, telling TMR in a statement: “Once again ranking first for Fan Cost Index is a true point of pride for this organization. We challenge ourselves to remain as affordable as possible for all customers each season, as we know that is a large part of the overall fan experience. We are committed to providing the best fan treatment in all of sports, and we believe it begins with a cost snapshot that will not break a family’s budget or willingness to return.”

The next best deal according to FCI belongs to the Tampa Bay Rays at $156.40 for the third straight year. The rest of the “Affordable Five” are Pittsburgh Pirates ($178.72), Baltimore Orioles ($187.80) and Cincinnati Reds ($191.06).

On the increase side of the ledger while looking specifically at tickets, the largest average non-premium ticket increase belongs to the reigning National League Champion Dodgers at 14.5 percent. The Toronto Blue Jays are next at 9.9 percent (Toronto’s costs are represented in US$ but the percentage change is measured using the team’s native CA$), followed by the Houston Astros. The World Champs come in with an 8.1 percent increase.

Taking into account all costs, the largest FCI jumps are the Blue Jays at 15.7, Minnesota Twins at 9 percent and Milwaukee Brewers at 8.9 percent.

In positive news for fans, the largest average non-premium ticket decrease was notched by the Philadelphia Phillies, who shaved 2.9 percent from $37.12 to $36.04, dropping for the second straight year. They’ve in fact dropped 5.1 percent since the 2016 season.

Meanwhile, the biggest FCI decrease was the Red Sox who saw their FCI fall 6.1%.

The Red Sox can thank their partnership group, who essentially turned a “triple play.” Not only did they strike a new deal with ParkWhiz as a team sponsor, but they enhanced their fans’ return on investment. And by creating $10 parking spots during games at numerous garages near Fenway Park, that in turn knocked $30 off the cost of parking – and their FCI.

The next largest FCI declines came from the Kansas City Royals (-3.9%) and Phillies (-1.7%). In all, fifteen -- exactly half of MLB teams -- were below the Adjusted Cost of Living rate of 1.5 percent.

The Yankees, a team frequently near the top of the list, have been very conscious of increasing offerings for families. Looking to boost their fan-affordable options, they designated a large number of single-game tickets at $15 or less for the second straight season.

“With our introduction of the Pinstripe Pass and $10 Grandstand single-game ticket offers in 2017, an additional 200,000 single-game tickets priced at $15-or-less became available to fans,” explained a Yankees’ spokesman.

In 2017, the Yankees could boast the second largest percentage FCI decrease at -5.3 percent, next to the Detroit Tigers’ -5.6%, thanks to the Pinstripe Pass and $10 Grandstand offerings.

Across the league, teams have upped both the number of value seats and promotion of those offerings. The “Family 4-Pack” concept is available at numerous ballparks, including the Cleveland Indians, Oakland A’s, Tigers, Royals and Pirates.

The Orioles have earned kudos from their fans for their “Kids Cheer Free” offering of two free child tickets (ages 9 and under) for every adult, available in the upper deck for every game (except Opening Day).

“Major League Baseball Clubs offer a large assortment of ticket options which allow fans to choose the kind of ballpark experience that they want and can afford. The teams provide creative and fan friendly choices that include subscription models, family of four packages, theme nights, concerts, firework displays and tickets as low as $10,” explained Noah Garden, MLB Executive Vice President, Commerce. “In addition, many of the ballparks feature unique interactive areas and special exhibits that give fans added value to the ballgame. We’re proud of the one-of-a-kind experience and affordable options that our Clubs offer to fans.”

More information is available at or by emailing

CORRECTION: This version updates pricing for the Philadelphia Phillies cap from $24.99 to $19.99, affecting the Phillies’ FCI and FCI Change as well the MLB FCI Avg Cap, FCI Avg and Avg Change.

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>ABOUT TEAM MARKETING REPORT: Team Marketing Report was first published in 1988 as the “only publication devoted to reporting innovative and successful ideas to increase revenues for sports teams.” The first Fan Cost Index® was published in 1991 and the “sports industry contact bible,” Sports Sponsor FactBook™, followed in 1993. Recently acquired by Anodyne Ventures, LLC, TMR will be completely relaunched later in 2018 with an all new newsletter, website and industry contact portal.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Team Marketing Report reserves the right to make updates, including retroactive changes, to the Fan Cost Index® as deemed necessary. This may include updating the official FCI chart after publication.