Baseball is fondly referred to as America’s Pastime, which begs the question of how affordable an outing to a major league game actually is for a small family. The answer, according to a ValuePenguin analysis of prices and incomes in every Major League Baseball city, varies enormously depending on where you live.
That affordability gap begins with wide differences in ticket prices from team to team, field to field. According to a Team Marketing Report survey, fans of the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, and the Chicago Cubs pay more than twice as much for home tickets—around $50 each, on average—than do followers of the Arizona Diamondbacks and Atlanta Braves, who score their tickets for an average of about $20 apiece.
Of course, tickets aren’t the only expenditure when most families head to the ballpark. In our calculations, we factored in the tab for 3 tickets (rounding up the 2.58 people who live in in the average U.S. household) along with the cost of two beers, one soda, three hot dogs and the cost of parking at the venue. For the most part, costs for the extras were in step with those for tickets, with tabs that ran from $30 or so (in Tampa Bay and Phoenix) to about $60 and up (in Chicago, Yankee Stadium, and Boston).
The grand totals, for tickets and all the extras, varied nearly threefold—from only a little under $100 (in Phoenix and Tampa Bay) to nearly $300 (in Boston). That’s a dramatic range, but cost alone doesn't determine affordability—since income, too, varies from city to city across the country.
We divided those total costs, then, by the average hourly income in the respective metropolitan areas from which the teams draw their fans. On average, we found, a family would have to toil about 4.5 hours to pay for their trip to the park. Below we provide more detail on areas that were notably affordable and unaffordable, due to a combination of local costs and local income.