The cost of attending a baseball game in Baltimore has gone way up since last year, but it is still near the average of major-league baseball teams, according to a new study.
An annual review by Team Marketing Report, a Chicago-based sports business newsletter, shows that the costs for a "typical" family of four are up 23 percent this year in Baltimore -- the second-highest increase in the majors.
However, even with the increase, the hypothetical cost of $86.61 for the family to buy tickets, food and beverages and some souvenirs is near the major-league average of $85.85.
Ranked by cost, the Orioles rose from 16th to 10th among the 26 teams, according to the study, released yesterday.
Most of the cost increase in Baltimore was due to the availability of premium seats at the new stadium. The average ticket price -- weighted to account for the number of seats at each price level -- will be $9.65 at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. That is up 27 percent from $7.59 at Memorial Stadium last year, the largest increase in baseball this year.
"Before we announced our ticket increase, we were the second-lowest in baseball, so I'm not surprised to see the increase," said Orioles spokesman Rick Vaughn. He said the team has raised prices only two times in six years and still has some of the cheapest general admission seats in baseball.
Fans of the Chicago White Sox saw their average ticket price increase 31 percent when the new Comiskey Park opened last year, said Alan Friedman, editor of Team Marketing Report.
Team owners have looked to premium seating as a way to increase revenues. The percentage of seats priced $12 and up at all the stadiums rose from 17 percent last year to 26 percent this year.
"It's the willingness of people to pay more. They haven't reached the limit yet," Friedman said.
Across baseball, the fan cost index jumped 10 percent this year, with a nearly 8 percent increase in average ticket costs and 12 percent increase in food and souvenirs. For the second year in a row, the Toronto Blue Jays, with the highest ticket price in the majors, topped the fan cost index at $112.83. Cincinnati was cheapest at $72.28.
A similar rating of other sports by the newsletter showed an average fan cost index of $151.55 for the NFL last year and $141.75 for the NBA.
The fan cost index includes four average-priced tickets, two beers, four hot dogs, four soft drinks, two souvenir baseball caps, two programs and parking.