MLB Fan Cost Index 2015
By Jon Greenberg
The average Major League Baseball ticket increased by 3.3 percent to $28.94 for the 2015 season, according to the Team Marketing Report Fan Cost Index.
That’s the biggest percentage increase since the average ticket price rose five percent to $26.64 in 2009.
The Fan Cost Index (FCI) total, the average price to take a family of four to a game, increased by 2.5 percent to $211.53.
The FCI is created by combining four non-premium season tickets, two beers, four soft drinks, four hot dogs, parking and two adult-size hats.
Starting with this FCI, TMR has taken out the game program/scorecard as part of the formula, and retroactively adjusted 2014 FCI totals for a proper comparison between seasons.
TMR uses season ticket pricing, separating premium tickets into a standalone category, and the cheapest options for beers, soft drinks, hot dogs, parking and hats.
The average premium ticket is $96.94. The definition of “premium” varies from team to team, but generally consists of club seating and any kind of ticket that includes added amenities. On average, MLB teams designate about 14 percent of inventory into the “premium” category.
Boston retained its top spot for both average non-premium season ticket price ($52.34) and FCI ($350.86).
The Red Sox did not raise ticket prices after a last-place season in 2014. Nor did the New York Yankees, who remains second in ticket price ($51.55) and FCI ($337.20).
The Yankees have the highest premium average ticket at $305.39.
The Chicago Cubs inched up ticket prices for the first time since 2010, with a 1.5 percent increase to $44.81. Their average premium ticket rose a few dollars to $113.48.
The Cubs will be without around 5,000 seats at Wrigley Field until at least May 11, as the reconstruction of the bleachers has been delayed. The right field area isn’t slated to open until mid-June.
The Philadelphia Phillies ($37.42) and Washington Nationals ($36.02) round out the top five most expensive tickets.
The Kansas City Royals, last season’s surprise World Series team, had the biggest percentage increase for the second straight season, as their average ticket is up 20.3 percent to $29.76. Last season, the Royals raised ticket prices by 24.7 percent.
The Houston Astros (up 13.7 percent to $31.82), the Los Angeles Dodgers (up 10.9 percent to $28.61), the Pittsburgh Pirates (up 9.1 percent to $19.99) and Seattle Mariners (up 9 percent to $31) also had substantial increases.
The World Series champion San Francisco Giants, one of the early adopters of dynamic pricing, increased their average season ticket price by 6.8 percent to $33.78.
Sixteen teams raised prices by at least one percent, compared to 17 last season, and none reported a percentage decrease, down from two in 2014.
The average “cheap” MLB beer is down in price a little from last season at $5.97 for a 15-ounce pour with several teams reporting cheaper options than in 2014. Seventeen teams reported a cheapest beer at, or above, the league average.
Where do you go for bargains? Once again, San Diego has the cheapest average ticket at $16.37, which is flat this season after a small increase in 2014. The Padres had the busiest offseason of any team and are expected to compete with the big-money Dodgers in the NL West.
The Arizona Diamondbacks keep their stranglehold on the lowest FCI total at $126.89. Their average ticket was also flat at $17.98.
Three teams in the in the top 10 (Giants, Cardinals and Nationals) of 2015 FCI totals made the playoffs last season, as did three in the bottom 10 (Angels, Pirates and Orioles).