The Major League Baseball (MLB) season is in full swing, with the National League winning the All-Star game last week. We are now also in the middle of summer, when millions of Americans grab their friends, families, some ballpark food and the cheapest bleacher seats they can find to watch the national pastime. Of course, exactly how cheap these “cheap seats” are depends on where you live.
24/7 Wall St. worked with SeatGeek, a search engine for event tickets, to identify the 10 cheapest sections of the 30 major league baseball stadiums in 2011. While the average ticket price for each field is between $33 and $81, it is possible to find seats that are $10 or less, as long as you are willing to sit a bit far away from the action.
Every stadium in baseball has sections deep in the bleachers, generally undesirable seats that franchises have to charge much less for in order to fill them and reach capacity. In many cases, the teams with the lowest-priced cheap sections have other factors driving prices down throughout the stadium. Of the ballparks on our list, seven have among the 10 cheapest average ticket prices for 2012.
24/7 Wall St. spoke to SeatGeek’s director of communications, Will Flaherty, who explained that the size of the stadium and the ability of each franchise to fill that stadium are the biggest driving forces behind the average price of tickets. A review of stadium capacity and attendance confirms that.
Five of the teams on our list have among the top 10 largest stadium capacities in the sport, including the Rockies at number 2, which can hold 50,398, and the L.A. Dodgers’ stadium, which can seat 56,000 fans. Only two of the eight teams on our list averaged better than 75% capacity at home games last year, and only three have this year.
Another major factor that can drive down ticket prices is the economic situation of the markets these teams depend upon. Franchises with more low-income fans cannot afford to charge exorbitant prices for their tickets. A review of the greater regions where each of these teams are located shows that all but two are in the bottom half of median incomes, and three are among the bottom five.
The 10 teams on our list are generally located in smaller cities than other MLB teams, yet their stadium sizes do not necessarily reflect the capacity of their markets. The New York Yankees, supported by 6.8 million households in the metropolitan area, will always have an easier time filling their stadium’s 42,000 seats than the Milwaukee Brewers. Despite having a similar size stadium, it is supported by a population of just 615,000.
While all of these factors drive down ticket prices throughout these stadiums, in some cases, these particular cheap seats have something wrong with them. Several have obstructions, like a column partially blocking the view of those sitting in section 421 in Milwaukee. Most are just extremely far away from the action, as is the case with the deep, deep center field “Rockpile” seats at Coors stadium in Colorado.
SeatGeek provided average secondary market prices by section for each team in Major League Baseball, from the beginning of this year through the all-star break. 24/7 Wall St. ranked all 30 teams by the price of their cheapest section to find the 10 cheapest. Seatgeek.com also provided average ticket prices for all secondary-market tickets in each stadium for this year. We also reviewed team attendance and records as of July 18, provided by ESPN, median income and population for 2010, provided by the Census Bureau, and stadium capacity, provided by team websites.
These are the 10 cheapest tickets in baseball.