We're No. 2: Only Yanks cost more to see than O's

April 25, 1995|By Mark Hyman | Mark Hyman,Sun Staff Writer

An outing to Oriole Park isn't the most expensive trip in major-league baseball, but it's getting closer.

The cost of treating a family of four to an Orioles game this year will rise to $113.57, making it the second-highest among the 28 teams. Only the New York Yankees will charge more, at $118.03. The best bargain: the Cincinnati Reds, at $81.31.

The new rankings, issued yesterday by Chicago-Based Team Marketing Report, move the Orioles past several teams in overall expense of attending a major-league game. Last year, the Orioles were sixth in the survey, with an average cost of $105.17.

The jump is attributable to higher ticket prices for Orioles games. Earlier this year, the club announced increased prices for more than 85 percent of the 48,262 seats at Camden Yards. The changes added almost $2 to the price of a seat this year, sending the average ticket from $11.17 to $13.14, according to the survey.

The Orioles are one of only seven teams that boosted their ticket prices. Wary of fan discontent after the lengthy players strike, most teams have kept the prices unchanged from 1994. A few clubs, including Toronto, San Diego and Detroit, actually have dropped their prices, the survey shows.

Orioles vice chairman Joe Foss said seeing a game at Camden Yards is still a good deal, despite the price increases.

"We're fortunate to have one of the finest ballparks in the country. So the fans get very, very good value for their seats," Foss said.

The fans absorbing the biggest boost in their ticket prices are those with lower box seats between the bases. Their seats will be $20 this year, an increase of $5 from last season and $7 compared to when the ballpark opened in 1992.

The $20 ticket is almost commonplace in baseball this season, said Sean Brenner, associate editor at Team Marketing Report. Brenner said six other teams -- Braves, Red Sox, Giants, Rangers, Rockies and Tigers -- also will have $20 tickets this year. The Yankees will charge $25 for a few choice seats featuring waiter service and other amenities.

"We're finding an increasing number of seats at the highest level," Brenner said of the trend at ballparks to cater to upscale customers.

Team Marketing Report bases its "Fan Cost Index" on prices for items an average family might buy at the ballpark: four average-price tickets, two small draft beers, two small soft drinks, four hot dogs, parking for one car, two game programs and two twill caps.

Tickets aside, the Orioles and the ballpark's concession operators are not increasing the prices on any of those items, Foss said.

"Going to the ballpark is an expensive expenditure for a lot of families, we're very cognizant of that," the Orioles official said, pointing out that the club has tried to offer bargains with moderately priced bleacher seats and other ticket discounts.

Foss also pointed out what he called slight distortions in the survey, which he said exaggerated some costs of going to the game.

For example, he questioned Team Marketing Report's assumption that families would buy two caps per game.

FAN COST INDEX

The fan cost index comprises the cost of four average-price tickets, two small draft beers, four small soft drinks, four hot dogs, parking for one car, two game programs and two baseball caps.

Team .. .. .. .. .. ... FCI

N.Y. Yankees ... .. $118.03

Orioles .. .. .. .. $113.57

Atlanta .. .. .. .. $112.98

Chicago Cubs ... .. $112.67

Boston ... .. .. .. $112.55

Chicago Wh. Sox ... $110.73

San Francisco .. .. $105.80

Oakland .. .. .. .. $101.47

Toronto .. .. .. .. $100.99

Texas . .. .. .. .. $100.26

Cleveland ... .. ... $99.75

Colorado . .. .. ... $99.42

Kansas City . .. ... $98.21

Minnesota ... .. ... $97.61

Detroit .. .. .. ... $96.39

Seattle .. .. .. ... $95.42

Pittsburgh .. .. ... $93.90

St. Louis ... .. ... $91.72

N.Y. Mets ... .. ... $91.06

Philadelphia ... ... $91.00

Los Angeles . .. ... $90.73

California .. .. ... $90.24

Houston .. .. .. ... $87.64

Milwaukee ... .. ... $86.53

Florida .. .. .. ... $86.10

Montreal . .. .. ... $86.03

San Diego ... .. ... $82.98

Cincinnati .. .. ... $81.30

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