The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Z_CNHI News Service

April 8, 2014

Taking someone out to the ballgame gets expensive

Attending an opening day game at a Major League ballpark is one of life’s little pleasures. Everyone should get to experience it at least once.

It’s different from the 80 other home games in a season. Optimism runs high, and dreams of a late-season pennant race don’t seem too far fetched. The stadium is nearly jammed. Most fans are decked out in their team’s colors. Even those wearing the opponent's jerseys don’t seem too objectionable.

It’s just good to be back at the ballpark. It’s the birth of another season.

For me the scene was the Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati, with its configuration that has the cozy feel of stadiums from a bygone day, as well as the modern touches and conveniences of a new home. Close to perfect.

After a long, snowy winter, we were greeted by blue skies and the warm sun shining upon us in our seats behind home plate. The emerald expanse of lush turf pushed recent warnings of another winter storm into the recesses of our minds. If it wasn't summer yet, it would be soon.

The trip to Cincinnati coincided with the release of the annual “Fan Cost Index,” a survey by the publisher Team Marketing Report that gives an idea of how much a family of four spends at a game.

The average cost across the big leagues: $212.46. For that investment a family would get four adult, average-price tickets; four small soft drinks; two small beers; four hotdogs; two programs; parking; and two adult-sized caps.

It would be easy to spend more. On the other hand, with some planning, a family could cut corners and conserve on game-day expenses.

My trip for a late-afternoon game went something like this: Parking was $14. An all-beef hot dog and soft drink shortly after I entered the stadium: $11.50.

In the third inning, it was time for a sack of popcorn: $5.50. An inning later, a 16 oz. drink served by a guy chanting “cold beer here” took another $8.50. Toss in a few dollars in tips, and the bill for me was close to $45.

It was hard to put a price on the tickets because the guy who organized the trip was a season ticket holder. Individual game tickets for those seats go for $91 each.

In Cincinnati, the Fan Cost Index said the average price of a ticket is $22.03 - which seemed low - while the average premium-priced ticket is $61.60.

For me there was no need to buy a program because the giant scoreboard in left field supplied all the information a fan could need. On this trip no one bought souvenirs, but any game involving kids guarantees a trip to the gift shop where even the items on sale are costly. Top-of-the-line goods, like official caps and jerseys, can get very pricey.

And Cincinnati is at the lower end of the range for cost. Those hoping to see a game in Boston or New York can expect to pay more - a lot more.

Boston - where the Fan Cost Index puts a family's costs at $350.78 per outing - is the most expensive park in America to take in a game. Yankee Stadium is slightly less at $337.20. By comparison, Cincinnati is $168.12.

Average premium ticket costs are a different matter. The cost for a good ticket at Yankee Stadium is $305.39; at Fenway Park the average is $176.96.

There are ways to attend a game without breaking the bank, but it requires a little work. Ticket prices can vary according to the day of the week -- weekend tickets often cost more -- and depending on the opposition. Seeing heated rivals or some inter-league teams  can drive up the price. Good deals, however, are available on a team’s website.

Most clubs allow fans to bring in concessions, including drinks, as long as they meet packaging requirements. (No glass bottles.) Also, team T-shirts and caps usually are much cheaper at a local grocery store or sporting goods outlet.

Teams also love giveaways, so fans should check out upcoming promotions and pick a game that offers something to their liking. It’s akin to getting the toys that come with a McDonald’s Happy Meal, but these can appeal to adults, as well.

Me? I’m anxious for Joey Votto Bobblehead Night. That’s a deal.

---

Tom Lindley is a CNHI sports columnist. Reach him at tlindley@cnhi.com.

1
Text Only
Z_CNHI News Service
  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Expectations too high for a rehabbing Woods

    Tiger Woods finished near bottom last weekend at Royal Liverpool, drawing out his drought of major tournament wins. Despite the disappointing showing, Woods' return to form remains a matter of when, not if.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • 072214 Diamond Llama 1.jpg Llama on the loose corralled in Missouri town

    A llama on the lam cruised Main Street Tuesday before it mistook a resident’s fenced backyard for a place to grab a meal and freshen up.

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • An oncologist uses scorpion venom to locate cancer cells

    Olson, a pediatric oncologist and research scientist in Seattle, has developed a compound he calls Tumor Paint. When injected into a cancer patient, it seems to light up all the malignant cells so surgeons can easily locate and excise them.

    July 22, 2014

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-22 at 2.00.42 PM.png VIDEO: Train collides with semi truck carrying lighter fluid

    A truck driver from Washington is fortunate to be alive after driving his semi onto a set of tracks near Somerset, Ky., and being struck by a locomotive, which ignited his load of charcoal lighter fluid.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • mama.jpg What we get wrong about millennials living at home

    If the media is to be believed, America is facing a major crisis. "Kids," some age 25, 26, or even 30 years old, are living out of their childhood bedrooms and basements at alarmingly high numbers. The hand-wringing overlooks one problem: It's all overblown.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wal-Mart to cut prices more aggressively in back-to-school push

    Wal-Mart Stores plans to cut prices more aggressively during this year's back-to-school season and will add inventory to its online store as the chain battles retailers for student spending.

    July 21, 2014

  • Hospitals let patients schedule ER visits

    Three times within a week, 34-year-old Michael Granillo went to the emergency room at Northridge Hospital Medical Center in Los Angeles because of intense back pain. Each time, Granillo, who didn't have insurance, stayed for less than an hour before leaving without being seen by a doctor.

    July 21, 2014

  • Starved Pennsylvania 7-year-old weighed only 25 pounds

    A 7-year-old Pennsylvania boy authorities described as being so underweight he looked like a human skeleton has been released from the hospital.

    July 21, 2014

  • Sparring justices find little disagreement at the opera

    Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg revealed a different view of U.S. Supreme Court on Saturday when she described about her passion for opera, one she shares with Justice Antonin Scalia.

    July 21, 2014

  • Malaysians wonder 'Why us?' after second loss of airline jet

    It was all too familiar. Grieving families rushing to airport. The flashing television graphics of a plane's last radar appearance. The uncomfortable officials before a heavy thicket of microphones.
    For many Malaysians, the disappearance of Flight 370 in March has been a long trauma from which the nation has not yet recovered.

    July 18, 2014

The Daily Marquee
Local Video
Helium debate
Helium
Stocks
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide