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Biggest Cost Increase to Attend a Cardinals Game Since 2008

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.)


Open MLB


Payroll Rank
#1 FCI Tm
#30 FCI Tm
2015 $120.3M 12 $236.81 3.5% 6 $211.68 2.5% $350.86 Bos $126.89 Ari
2014 $112.3M 10 $233.86 1.3% 6 $212.46 2.3% $350.78 Bos $126.89 Ari
2013 $112.3M 11 $230.94 2.7% 9 $210.46 1.2% $336.99 Bos $151.55 Ari
2012 $105.4M 10 $224.76 0.7% 9 $207.68 2.4% $336.99 Bos $145.94 Ari
2011 $105.4M 12 $223.18 3.1% 8 $197.35 2.0% $339.01 Bos $120.96 Ari
2010 $93.5M 12 $216.56 0.9% 9 $194.98 -0.7% $334.78 Bos $115.24 Ari
2009 $88.5M 13 $214.72 -1.2% 10 $196.89 3.2% $410.88 NYY $114.24 Ari
2008 $99.6M 11 $217.28 3.8% 7 $191.75 8.3% $320.71 Bos $136.91 TB
2007 $90.3M 11 $209.23 0.8% 7 $176.55 3.8% $313.83 Bos $123.42 KC
Busch III 2006 $88.9M 11 $207.21 10.6% 4 $171.19 4.1% $287.84 Bos $120.35 KC
Busch II 2005 $92.1M 5 $177.66 4.2% 9 $164.43 5.6% $276.34 Bos $119.85 KC
2004 $83.2M 9 $170.45 0.9% 9 $155.52 2.0% $263.09 Bos $108.83 Mon
2003 $83.8M 8 $164.04 6.6% 8 $148.66 3.3% $248.44 Bos $94.62 Mon

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
StL $34.20 $5.00 $5.25 $4.25 $20.00 $16.00 $236.81
MLB $28.94 $5.98 $4.07 $4.39 $15.89 $17.12 $211.68

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.

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Brian Walton

Brian Walton runs The Cardinal Nation and The Cardinal Nation Blog, covering the St. Louis Cardinals and minor league system.
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5 Responses to “Biggest Cost Increase to Attend a Cardinals Game Since 2008”

  1. blingboy says:

    Can you find out where to get the $5 beer?

    • Brian Walton says:

      They did not say how many ounces it is… In other words, it may not be a price performer.

      • blingboy says:

        I issue a challenge to all. Tell me where there is any size beer for sale for $5 anywhere in Busch stadium. I will face toward Cooperstown and pray for your eternal happiness.

        • Brian Walton says:

          It appears you have considerable personal experience in the matter. 😉

          • blingboy says:

            Yes, and not the kind I like.

            Today my brothers and I went down to ballpark village so they could see it and the new stadium while they are in town. Somebody wanted a hooded Cardinals sweatshirt so we went into a shop there. They had it, of course. $90. For a sweatshirt. They all decided they had seen enough of ballpark village, so we took off. Ended up eating pastrami sandwiches at Carl’s Deli out on Clayton Rd at DeMun.

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