Part of the annual series of Forbes articles on the game of baseball is an assessment of what they call “America’s Best Ballparks”. A process was developed to rate all 30 major league baseball stadiums in four primary categories – affordability, accessibility, fan participation and quality of concessions.
The St. Louis Cardinals came in at the end of the top third in MLB in tenth place. The National League Central had a very good showing as the Cards placed just fourth in their division. Pittsburgh’s PNC Bank Park was third overall, Wrigley Field fourth and Milwaukee’s Miller Park came in ninth. Behind Busch are Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati, ranked 14th, with Houston’s tricked up Minute Maid Park at 22nd.
The affordability measure came from the 2009 Fan Cost Index compiled by Team Marketing, which I highlighted here recently. The FCI combines standard prices for a family of four to purchase tickets, concessions, parking and souvenirs at each stadium.
Each ballpark was rated on accessibility based on the number of different types of transportation available for fans. Fan participation is a simple capacity-filled measure – each stadium’s average attendance as a percentage of capacity over the past three years.
The ballparks were assigned to a numerical ranking from one to 30 in each of the four categories and the four were averaged to form the overall list. Rather than stop there, they created a scorecard that looks to be a bit convoluted by changing each ranking into a letter grade from A to D. Rather than try to describe it, you can read the details here.
Here are the scores for Busch, with a fifth measure, called intangibles:
Fan Participation: A-
Not surprisingly, the fans power Busch’s best ranking while the prices are least competitive, yet they are still viewed to be better than most.