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.
Comparable to their general position in annual payroll rankings, the St. Louis Cardinals hang at the bottom of the top third of the clubs, coming in at number nine, just up from tenth last year. The club’s FCI of $216.56 represents an uptick of 0.7 percent compared to 2009 and is the seventh increase in the last eight years.
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Overall, Cardinals FCIs have been pretty stable since the new ballpark opened in 2006. In fact, this year’s average ticket price of $30.14 is only slightly higher than the team’s average ticket price of $29.78 in 2006.
Across MLB, the average 1.5 percent ticket increase this year to $26.74 is the smallest jump since the FCI’s 1991 inception. That may have something to do with the fact that overall attendance in MLB was down 6 percent in 2009. Six teams cut their average ticket price, 13 stayed flat or showed an increase of less than one percent while 11 teams implemented increases. The Cubs rank first in average ticket price at $52.56. Moving into their new ballpark, Target Field, the Twins show the largest average ticket price increase by a huge margin, at 45 percent over 2009.
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The average FCI across MLB of $194.98 represents a 0.7 percent decline compared to last year. This is the first overall drop in the average FCI since at least 2003. The best value in the game is the $115.24 it takes to see the Arizona Diamondbacks, lowest for the second year in a row.
With some high-end ticket price cuts made during last season, the New York Yankees gave up their 2009 place as having the highest FCI, dropping to third. Their AL East rival and long-time FCI leader, the Boston Red Sox, retook the top spot.
The FCIs of other teams in the NL Central rank as follows: Chicago Cubs (second, up from third), Houston Astros (12th, down from 11th), both with above-average FCIs. The other three are clustered near the bottom, but all increasing in a relative term from 2009: Milwaukee Brewers (23rd, up from 26th), Cincinnati Reds (25th, up from 27th) and Pittsburgh Pirates (28th, up from 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 would spend this much money, but it provides a consistent point of comparison across 30 teams over time.