Bates: Day at the ballpark: a brief history of ticket prices

From SABR member Mike Bates at The Hardball Times on August 6, 2018:

Attendance is down. This is an incontrovertible fact. In June, we learned from The Wall Street Journal that attendance was down something like 6.7 percent across major league baseball compared to where it was last year, to the lowest it’s been in 15 years. Eighteen teams saw a dip in attendance, and seven of those had seen their numbers fall by more than 20 percent. Fortune estimated major league teams were losing something on the order of $355 million on those ticket sales, which does not count the missed opportunity to sell food or merchandise.

That is not to say the major leagues are in immediate danger. I’m not here to ring any alarmist bells. Baseball will still make money in 2018. While the bad spring weather and teams tanking account for some of the problem, they can’t explain it all away. Something is broken in baseball, and it needs to be fixed.

I’m talking about ticket prices. At Beyond the Boxscore, Matt Provenazo wrote compellingly about the steady increase in ticket prices we’ve seen over the last decade or so, which is far eclipsing the increase in median wages and cost of living in major markets. Quite simply, games are getting more expensive even as fewer and fewer people can afford to go to them.

Read the full article here:

Originally published: August 6, 2018. Last Updated: August 6, 2018.