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The Cost to Go to a Baseball Game

Baseball season is in full swing again to the delight of millions across North America. Going to a baseball game is and will likely always be one of the most fun and popular things to do in the summer months – especially for families. Depending on where you live though, some baseball outings can cause a bigger hole in your wallet than you may like. As experts in how much things cost, we took a deep dive into baseball to find out which baseball teams are the most expensive to support and which are the cheapest. We also take a look at which teams are the cheapest and most expensive to support based on how often they win.

The Top 10 Most Expensive and Cheapest Baseball Teams to Support

To get an understanding of which baseball teams are the most expensive, we took the average cost of purchasing 4 tickets to a game (assuming a family of 4) and the average cost of 4 drinks and 4 hotdogs. We then took that total cost and divided it by the average hourly salary for the metropolitan statistical area the baseball team belongs to. From there we were able to determine how many hours it takes to afford going to one ball game with your family. Here are the top ten most expensive.

MLB TeamMSA Median IncomeCost of 4 TicketsConcession CostHours to Work for Tickets
Cleveland Indians$46,822$106.11$37.006.4
Chicago Cubs$68,403$135.71$64.006.1
Tampa Bay Rays$52,212$85.05$40.005.0
Boston Red Sox$85,691$147.43$55.004.9
St. Louis Cardinals$61,571$94.02$40.004.5
Los Angeles Dodgers$69,992$98.37$52.004.5
New York Yankees$75,368$124.50$36.004.4
Cincinnati Reds$61,653$79.61$48.004.3
Milwaukee Brewers$59,448$77.45$44.004.2
Houston Astros$63,802$77.14$48.004.1

The Cleveland area has the lowest median income of any MLB team MSA meaning it takes the median family 6.4 hours of working to afford a game for four. This is a similar issue for the Tampa Bay Rays and Houston Astros. On the other hand, cities with higher incomes like New York and Boston are expensive because the tickets themselves are expensive. Four tickets to a Red Sox game cost the most of any baseball team in the league. The Cubs and Yankees are #2 & #3 respectively for most expensive tickets. The following are the cheapest teams to see.

MLB TeamsMedian IncomeCost of 4 TicketsConcession CostHours to Work for Tickets
Baltimore Orioles$77,394$75.97$22.002.6
Colorado Rockies$76,643$64.88$34.002.7
San Francisco Giants$101,714$78.69$59.002.8
Minnesota Twins$76,856$71.31$36.002.9
Seattle Mariners$82,133$74.14$46.003.0
Arizona Diamondbacks$61,506$66.73$24.003.1
Chicago White Sox$68,403$56.72$46.003.1
Texas Rangers$67,382$54.98$48.003.2
Washington Nationals$99,669$96.53$64.003.4
Atlanta Braves$65,381$68.74$37.003.4

On the other side of things, Orioles fans have the simplest time affording a day at the park. However, even that may be a tall task given how poor the Orioles have been performing over the past few seasons – something we discuss in the next section. Interestingly, the other Chicago team – the White Sox – are in the top ten most affordable teams to see despite being in the same city as the Cubs (the 2nd most expensive)

The Most Expensive Teams Based On Win Percentage

For some fans, a baseball outing is only fun if the home team wins. As the song goes, “if they don’t win it’s a shame”. We wanted to look at which teams were the most expensive based on how many games you would have to attend before they would likely win one of those games. We took the 2019 win percentage of every team up until June 2nd 2019 and found how many games it would take for each team to win if they faced against a team with the league average win percentage of 0.490. We took the number of games it would take to win, and then did the same math we did in the previous section to figure out how many hours you would need to work to see your favorite baseball team actually win a game. Here are the top ten most expensive: 

MLB Teams# of Games to See Before a WinHow Much You Need to Spend on Tickets to See a WinNumber of Hours to Work to See a Win
Cleveland Indians2.00$286.2212.7
Kansas City Royals3.05$373.6612.3
Toronto Blue Jays2.76$314.1611.2
Chicago Cubs1.81$360.5011.0
Boston Red Sox2.00$404.879.8
Miami Marlins2.80$254.239.7
Detroit Tigers2.50$263.819.4
Cincinnati Reds2.15$273.859.2
St. Louis Cardinals1.96$263.298.9
Baltimore Orioles3.23$316.038.5

Some teams remain in the top ten, like the Indians, Cubs, Cardinals and Red Sox. Some new teams enter the top ten however, like the Kansas City Royals, Toronto Blue Jays and the Baltimore Orioles who were the cheapest team to see before you account for win percentage! The Orioles have been performing so poorly that by the time you saw a win, you would have spent nearly as much as some of the more expensive teams in the league.

Methodology & Data Sources

To determine the most and least affordable teams, we took the median income for the metropolitan statistical area for each MLB team and converted it into an hourly wage. We then got the average cheapest ticket price for every MLB team. Finally we got the average cost a hotdog and beer at every MLB stadium. We added up the cost of a single game for a family of 4 getting 4 drinks and 4 hotdogs. We then divided that amount by the hourly wage to determine how many hours one would need to work to purchase those tickets.

To determine affordability based on a teams win percentage, we first took each team’s current 2019 win percentage up to June 2nd 2019. We then wanted to figure out the probability each team would have against a league average opponent based on the league average win percentage which turned out to be 49%. When we got the probability, we added up the chances until we got to 1 – signifying a win. The number of times we needed to add until we got to 1 indicated the likely number of games a fan would need to attend before watching a game. Thus the more games a person had to attend, the less affordable the team became.

Data Sources

Median Income MSA: Census American Community Survey 2017

Ticket prices: Tickpick.com 

Concession prices: Cheapism.net 

2019 Team Win Percentages: Baseball-reference.com 

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