Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Venture: the economics of baseball

by Alex Keefe and Ashley Gross


March 28, 2011

Amid all the economic news coming out this week, from manufacturing data to housing stats, there's another event that has just as much to do with dollars and cents: Opening Day.

Cable sports pundits and Las Vegas oddsmakers may not be divining a 2011 World Series championship for Chicago, but at least Cubs and White Sox fans won’t have to dish out too much more money to cheer for their chosen home team this season.

The cost for a family of four to attend a baseball game at Chicago’s Major League ballparks will remain nearly flat this season, thanks in part to ongoing sensitivity to the economic downturn, according to Team Marketing Report, a Wilmette-based sports research firm.

The company’s annual Fan Cost Index for baseball will be released Friday, the official Opening Day of the regular season. The index adds up the costs for two adults and two children to attend a Major League Baseball game: tickets, soda, beer, hot dogs, parking, programs and two souvenir ball caps.

And while Chicago fans may notice only nominal price bumps this season, they may still suffer major league sticker shock when they arrive at Wrigley or U.S. Cellular Field, said Jon Greenberg, who calculates the Fan Cost Index.

“We're not telling you this is what you should spend. We're saying, ‘Look out, this is what it could be,’” Greenberg said.


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