Baseball Economics: What Does It Cost to Attend a Game?

Categories: Sports
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Every year, Team Marketing Report pitches the media its "Fan Cost Index," a seasonal barometer of how much it's gonna cost you to lug your family to a baseball game.

It's an enjoyable, if frustrating, gauge. As we've written before, the hypothetical family of four attending the hypothetical ballgame is dead set on spending shitloads of hypothetical money. Shelling out for caps at the ballpark is the equivalent of deciding you must have a bottle of Ketel One at the nightclub. In 30 years of attending ballgames, your humble narrator has never bought one program -- let alone the two accounted for on the "Fan Cost Index."

But, we digress. The numbers are fun to peruse and our graphics people have outdone themselves. If the Giants were a disappointment on the field this year, at least we can drown our sorrows in beer -- which is a buck cheaper than the league average, per the index.

With beer, baseball, and the Fan Cost Index, the following holds true: There's always next year.

Graphic   |   Tyler Hoene

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Ben Walsh
Ben Walsh

Oh, the most expensive beer at AT&T Park is $4.50, apparently. Well, they're half right.

benji
benji

I was about to call you on not reading the fine print (it doesn't mention beer having to be the most expensive) ,untill I reread it. Two small beers for $4.50?? Common sfweekly do some research!

Joe Eskenazi
Joe Eskenazi

Benji --

 The $4.50 is the cost of one small beer. Two of these are included in determining the overall "Fan Cost Index," as are two hats, parking, a Rolex. Okay, not a Rolex.

Our graphic indicates the cost of one beer, not two. I can see where you'd be initially confused, but it really makes more sense for us to graph the price of a single beer and not two of them. 

This data is provided by Team Marketing Report. The lovely graphic was created by Tyler Hoene. As far as "do[ing] some research," we've done plenty. Sneaking beer into the stadium is America's national pastime, right?

Yours,

JE

Joe Eskenazi
Joe Eskenazi

Ben --

Per the team, the cheapest beer you can get is $4.75. But the cheapest draft is $6.

So, it would appear there is indeed a discrepancy somewhere.

Best,

JE

Ben Walsh
Ben Walsh

Just to be clear, the $4.50 is the cost of a completely fictional small beer in some fantasy stadium, perhaps in the EA Sports game, and bears no relation to the price actually charged for beer in AT&T Park, where beer is not sold in something called a "small" anyway. Draft beer in AT&T Park topped out at $9 last year, bottles at $7. I don't know where you get a small beer in AT&T Park for $4.50 -- or less, as the graphic implies, but it's hard to tell what the height of those bars means.

It's pretty remarkable that you trust a press release you got from some marketing company over your own experience in buying beer at the ballpark right next to your office. You actually trust and repeat that $4.50 figure because "Team Marketing Report" said so, even though you know from going to the ballpark that it's not true. That's just weird.It'd also be kind if someone gave Tyler Hoene a copy of Edward Tufte's "The Visual Display of Quantitative Information" to prevent anything like this graphic from happening again.

Other than that, nice work.

e_dog
e_dog

I'm pretty sure to get two small beers for $4.50, you have to sneak them in and buy an empty souvenir cup.

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