With the start of another new season, it is again time to analyze the annual Fan Cost Index (FCI)*, which compares the price for a family of four to attend a major league baseball game across the 30 franchises.
While the St. Louis Cardinals have ranged between having the 10th and 13th-highest payroll in the game since moving into Busch Stadium III in 2006, the cost to a family to attend a Cardinals game has been creeping relatively higher compared to their peers.
St. Louis fans have to pay the sixth-most across MLB to see the team with the 12th-highest player payroll this season.
The gap of six places between these two very different measurements is the widest since the first year of Busch Stadium III in 2006 when the payroll was 11th and FCI was fourth.
The Cardinals’ 2015 FCI of $236.81 represents an upturn of 3.5 percent compared to last year. It is the team’s sixth increase in a row and 12th in the 13 years that I have been tracking it.
The club’s 3.5 percent FCI increase for 2015 is the highest since a 3.8 percent bump in 2008. (You may note the 2014 FCI looks closer than that. The FCIs were adjusted over the last year to remove the cost of a game program/scorecard from the index. The new 2015 YTY percentages reflect this change while the prior year FCIs and percentages remain listed as originally reported.)
|Payroll||Rank||StL FCI||YTY||Rank||avg FCI||YTY||#1 FCI||Tm||#30 FCI||Tm|
Note: Annual club season-opening player payrolls provided by USA TODAY.
For Cardinals tickets, this year’s average price of $34.20 is just 1.1 percent up from last season, but is almost $4.50 higher than the team’s average ticket price of $29.78 when the new ballpark opened in 2006.
Across MLB, the average ticket price increase this year is 3.3 percent, the largest annual percentage jump since 2009.
The Boston Red Sox rank first in MLB in average ticket price at $52.34 and lead in the FCI as well for the sixth consecutive year and 12th time in the last 13 years. Their American League East rivals, the New York Yankees, are right behind as usual.
The average FCI across MLB of $211.68 represents a 2.5 percent increase compared to last year. The best value in the game is the $126.89 it takes for a family to see the Arizona Diamondbacks, lowest for the seventh year in a row.
The other teams in the NL Central rank in FCI as follows: Chicago Cubs (third) and the only other NLC club with an above-average FCI besides St. Louis. The other three reside in the bottom third of MLB clubs: Milwaukee Brewers (22nd), Pittsburgh Pirates (23rd) and Cincinnati Reds (25th).
* The FCI, developed by Team Marketing Report, is made up of the prices of four adult average-price tickets, two small draft beers, four small soft drinks, four regular-size hot dogs, parking for one car and two least expensive, adult-size adjustable caps.
|2015||Avg ticket||Beer||Soft drink||Hot dog||Parking||Cap||FCI|
Not every group of four would spend this much money, but it provides a consistent point of comparison across 30 teams over time.
In these measurements, the Cardinals are above the MLB average in ticket prices, soft drinks and parking and below average in beer, hot dog and baseball cap pricing for 2015.
Follow me on Twitter.