UPDATED MLB FCI 2012
Jon Greenberg, April 14, 2012
TMR EDIT: APRIL26
TMR used a premium beer price in place of the cheapest beer at Comerica Park. We regret the error. The FCI has been edited to reflect the changes. While Tigers have a 12-oz $5 beer, available at four locations, we are using the 16-oz $6.75 beer, which is available at more locations, as their beer price. Last year the Tigers advised us to use the same beer, which then cost $6.50. Detroit has 15 different beers available, including some from the popular Michigan brewery, Bell's. Bell's Oberon is on tap for $8.75 and Bell's bottles are available for $7.75.
NOTE: The 2012 MLB FCI was updated on April 12, 2012 with changes to ticket prices for Pirates and Marlins, and concession items to Nationals and Rockies.
Ticket prices continue to stay stagnant in Major League Baseball, with the average ticket price showing no percentage increase this season, which is a first in the survey's history.
Even after the 1994 labor stoppage, prices still went up 1 percent for 1995. Of course, the average ticket back then was less than $11.
The average ticket (which excludes premium categories) for the 2012 season is $26.98, 1 cent higher than last year's survey. Sixteen teams raised prices.
In the previous two seasons, tickets to baseball games already had the slowest growth in the history of the 21-year history of the survey, with a 1.2 percent increase in 2011 and a 1.5 jump in 2010.
The Fan Cost Index, the total price to take a family of four to a game increased by 2.5 percent to $207.80, according to Team Marketing Report's exclusive survey.
The Fan Cost Index is created by combining four non-premium tickets, two beers, four soft drinks, four hot dogs, parking, two programs and two adult-size hats.
Of the top five teams as ranked by FCI total, one had no ticket increase, one had a decrease, one had a minor decrease, and the Philadelphia Phillies and Miami Marlins had increases.
The Phillies bumped up non-premium ticket prices by 4.9 percent to $37.42. The average ticket at the newly-opened Marlins Park is $29.62, up 55.4 percent from the last season at their old home.
The Chicago White Sox showed the biggest decrease with a 28.7 drop in average ticket price, from $40.56 to $29. The Sox have had declining attendance the last few years.
Interestingly enough, two AL Central opponents have passed up the White Sox in ticket prices and FCI totals.
Detroit, which signed Prince Fielder to a massive free agent deal this winter, bumped up non-premium tickets 5.7 percent to $31.
The Tigers are sixth in FCI at $237.49, an 8.8 percent jump. Minnesota, settling into Target Field, is seventh in FCI at $225.14 and fifth in average ticket price at $33.04.
St. Louis, the reigning World Series champion, increased ticket price just 1.9 percent to $31.57.
The Marlins' FCI is fifth-highest at $242.47, a 43.4 percent jump. The new stadium, though, offers around 19,000 seats at or below $20.
The Los Angeles Dodgers cut prices by 24.1 percent. The Dodgers saw attendance crater last season as the Frank McCourt ownership came under fire. The Dodgers were recently sold to a group led by Magic Johnson for around $2 billion.
The Dodgers had $40 seats drop down to $16. A source in the organization said those $40 seats were dead zones, and now those seats should be flourishing.
The New York Mets, another organization in the news for financial woes, cut prices by 15.5 percent. Price decreases were probably a smart move. Those three teams lost a total of 1 million-plus fans from 2010.
According to ESPN's attendance figures, the Dodgers lost 627,181 fans in 2011, the White Sox 193,261 and Mets 181,189.
Eight teams had percentage decreases, including the Atlanta Braves, which cut prices by 13.9 percent.
The Red Sox didn't change prices and remain the most expensive non-premium ticket in baseball at $53.38.
Seventy percent of the Yankees' ticket allotment stayed the same or decreased, leading to a decrease of a half-percent. The Yankees' average ticket of $51.55 is still second in baseball and their premium average of $305.11 is still first.
The Cubs' ticket price of $46.30 is down 1.3 percent, or 60 cents, after three straight disappointing seasons. The Cubs hired Theo Epstein away from Boston to run baseball operations, built a new premium rooftop-like section in the outfield bleachers, and spent around $20 million on a parcel of land outside the ballpark. As of Opening Day, the Cubs were working with the city of Chicago to come up with a public-private financing plan to renovate Wrigley Field.
The Pittsburgh Pirates had a 5.3 percent increase, but that's only a few dollars when one considers their average ticket price is $16.11. The Pirates are coming off a relatively successful season, at least by their standards.
While they had a rough finish, and landed in fourth place in the NL Central, Pittsburgh was in first place in mid-July and attendance showed a sharp uptick. The Pirates wound up drawing 1,940,429 fans, an increase of 327,030 from the previous season. This is the 20th anniversary of the Pirates' last playoff appearance, and also their last non-losing season.
The Cleveland Indians are showing a 10.4 percent increase, also coming off a strong jump in attendance. In 2010, the Indians only drew 1,394,812 to Progressive Field, a far cry from their sell-out salad days in their then-new park. In 2011, things picked up, as Cleveland drew an additional 446,023, more than 5,000 more fans a game.
The San Diego Padres have the cheapest average ticket at $15.67, while the Arizona Diamondbacks continue to have the lowest FCI at $145.94.
The Los Angeles Angels only had a 4.1 percent ticket increase ($19.71) despite spending more than $240 million to sign Albert Pujols. The Angels, with an FCI of $159.82, remain one of the best bargains in sports.
EDITOR'S NOTE: This FCI was updated on April 12, 2012, with changes to the Pirates, Marlins, Rockies and Nationals.
TMR reserves the right to retroactively change data, which is usually provided by the team, to make accurate comparisons between seasons.
Some numbers do not completely correspond with past FCIs. Please read the notes at the bottom of the chart (left) for more explanations on how TMR comes to its calculations.