Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Fan Cost Index

Without the time available to dive deeper into the impacts of the financial meltdown's impact on baseball (but will hopefully find some time soon), I dug up the 2008 Team Marketing Report's MLB Fan Index (Adobe PDF required).

The article portion of that pdf file highlights the increases in costs/prices for 2008:

Baseball has never been more popular, or more expensive to watch. On the heels of another record-setting season, the average ticket price has gone up to $25.43, a 10.1 percent increase from last season. Team Marketing Report’s 2008 Major League Baseball Fan Cost Index jumped 7.9 percent to $191.92 this season. Both increases are the highest for MLB since 2001, when tickets went up 12.9 percent (to $18.99), and the FCI went up 9.8 percent to $145.45.
Can this continue as we slog through this morass into 2009 and beyond? How will teams continue to draw increasing numbers of fans TO THE PARK when jobs have disappeared, credit has dried up, retirement/college savings have been halved, etc.? What about the fat cats and their corporate seats? Will these companies still ante up? Is it too late to cancel 2009 seating contracts for luxe boxes? Can teams continue to raise prices without fear of a slowdown in attendance/revenues?

As for the teams' rankings....numbers 1 and 2 are as you'd expect, Boston followed by the Yanks, trailed closely by the Cubs then Mets. No major surprises, other than the Angels ranking 2nd from last (Rays) in the rankings. Kudos to them for not only putting a consistently competitive team on the field but for making it accessable for the masses. Great job, Artie! Except even the author, TMR, notes that some of these data points are understated (emphasis mine):
The Yankees, who move into a new stadium next season, could overtake the Red Sox for the toughest ticket in baseball, and that ticket won’t be cheap. According to TMR research, the average “regular” ticket at Yankee Stadium will cost $41.40 and the cost to take a family of four to the Bronx stadium will be $275.10. That price, however, is hardly representative to what tickets will cost via the secondary market this season as fans clamor to see the final season in the historic stadium.
I'll tell you, though, to spend almost $300 according to TMR, which I think is understated, on a upper deck seat with two young kids is not worth it. The kids are too far removed from the field and the action to maintain their interest in the game. You can't hear the game and that's an essential part of the experience. The kids love being at the games but after sitting that high and far from the field, the novelty wears off for them after a few innings. Maybe that's my problem to deal with, but it goes to the heart of the matter that I won't spend that $300+ as readily as I used to. I suspect I am not alone.

Sometimes I am given/offered better "corporate" seats and that's the experience that makes the kids eyes stay wide open. One buddy of mine who has nice seats that he paid for himself --or I should say HAD-- for years at Yankee Stadium still has no idea where his relocated seats will be in TNYS. I suspect we're going to have to go up another escalator or two. All for the same price as he'd be paying for years. It's a shame.

Guys, tell me, are you going to change your game-going habits and frequency?

UPDATE (10/8/08, 11am): Just got to Buster's latest and he had this little tidbit:
Heard this: The Yankees are finding that their high-priced seats and luxury boxes are not selling the way they expected. Four seats behind home plate were priced at $10,000 per game, or $2,500 per seat, per game.

Gee, is anyone surprised? That's just silly. Eighty-one home games at $10k/game = $810K for FOUR SEATS!!!

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