It is the time again for the release of the Fan Cost Index (FCI)*, which compares the price for a family of four to attend a major league baseball game across the 30 franchises.
The St. Louis Cardinals just made the top third of the clubs, coming in at number ten. The club’s FCI of $214.72 represents a decline of 1.2 percent compared to 2008, when the Cardinals had the seventh-highest FCI.
Their current ranking of tenth is the Cardinals’ lowest placement in the FCI since at least 2002 and also their first year-to-year decline during that period.
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The new ballpark itself is no longer driving increased prices for Cardinals fans. In fact, in 2006, the first year of the new Busch Stadium, the team’s average ticket price was actually slightly higher at $29.78 than this season’s $29.43.
The Cardinals are one of just three of the 12 clubs with an above-average FCI that show an FCI decline year-to-year. The other two are the San Francisco Giants and Washington Nationals.
The average FCI across MLB of $196.89 represents a 3.2 percent increase over last year. The best value in the game is the $114.24 it takes to see the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Not surprisingly, the New York Yankees in their new $1.5 billion new Yankee Stadium palace have the highest FCI at a whopping $410.88. They knocked the long-time leader and their AL East rival, the Boston Red Sox, out of the top spot.
The other teams in the NL Central rank as follows: Chicago Cubs (third), Houston Astros (11th), both with above average FCIs. The other three are clustered near the bottom: Milwaukee Brewers (26th), Cincinnati Reds (27th) and Pittsburgh Pirates (29th).
* The FCI, developed by Team Marketing Report, is made up of the prices of two adult and two child average-price tickets, two small draft beers, four small soft drinks, four regular-size hot dogs, parking for one car, two game programs and two least expensive, adult-size adjustable caps.
Not every group of four are going to spend this much money, but the FCI provides valid and consistent year-to-year comparisons across 30 teams.