Buddy Can You Spare a Dime?

Average ticket price, Fenway Park: $40.77 (rank: 1)
Average ticket price, Yankee Stadium: $24.86 (rank: 4)
Major League Average: $19.82
Best Deal: Florida, $12.78
Worst Deal: Detroit, $20.43

Nice to see the Sox finally in first place.

*Figures according to Team Marketing Report:

12 comments… add one
  • Hmmm. Sox have to charge almost double what the Yanks charge in order to keep revenue paces as close as possible, but still, even if they charge 60 bucks a seat, still wouldn’t be able to keep up.
    Also, average ticket prices don’t tell the whole story – what’s the median ticket price at both parks? And what are the factors driving such ticket price differentials? The Yankees can surely afford to charge less per ticket on average since there are far more tickets to be sold, of all price ranges. And, don’t forget the YES Network revenue (for the Sox it’s NESN), which would practically allow the Yankees to let people in for free and still leave them money to pay all the rent-a-stars.
    Bottom line: average ticket prices don’t really tell us much out of context.

    SF March 30, 2004, 4:39 pm
  • They certainly don’t tell the whole story, taken out of context. But let’s be careful about the way this discussion is framed: the Yankees don’t force the Red Sox to raise their prices; they ALLOW the Red Sox to raise their prices. Competition (broadly speaking) with the Yankees boosts interest in the Red Sox and demand for the seats at Fenway. We can only assume that the Red Sox, quite rightly a business and not a charity run in the public interest, exploit that interest to maximize profit by charging the maximum that the market will bare. Thanks to the Yankees, that number seems to be extremely high.

    YF March 30, 2004, 5:04 pm
  • Of course, we all have the Yankees to thank – why would I expect you to say anything else? Right – the fact that the only way to compete with the Yankees is to raise prices means that the Red Sox OWE it to the Yankees? You are living in an alternate universe.

    SF March 30, 2004, 8:55 pm
  • Sorry, check that. There are numerous ways to compete with the Yankees – witness the Marlins last year, or the A’s every year. But to financially compete with the Yanks there are all sorts of other factors that have to be taken into consideration. Surely the Yankees help generate gate revenue for other teams in series played in both New York and other cities, and surely the Yankees, when they make it to the postseason, help generate national TV ratings above and beyond most other teams, and surely the Yankees help generate licensing revenue for MLB as a whole. But to credit the Yankees with allowing the Red Sox to raise their own ticket prices is such a narrow view of things it is almost laughable. The Yankees presence in the AL East doesn’t “allow” the Red Sox to raise prices, it FORCES them to raise prices. The Yankees’ presence in the AL East doesn’t “allow” the Red Sox to add seats on top of the monster, it FORCED them to consider and then implement those seats. So, to the extent that the Yankees’ pot of YES gold has a causal effect on the Red Sox’ revenue generation creativity, sure, JWH et al owe the Yankees a debt of gratitude. But let’s get serious: that’s really just a copout for a Yankees fan, a way of explaining away systemic problems in baseball that is convenient for said Yankees fan to make them them feel better about their own team’s riches. It is condescending at worst, short-sighted at best.

    SF March 30, 2004, 9:07 pm
  • It’s a business. The idea is to make the most money . That’s the players’ goal and that’s the owners’ goal. The prices go up at Fenway so that those parties can put the most money in their collective banks. Do the Yankees shove up salaries, and therefore the cost of doing business around the league? Yes. But where the costs end and the profits begin is a question that certainly remains open. Are the Red Sox more profitable now than they were 5 years ago? 10?

    YF March 30, 2004, 11:18 pm
  • And not just profitable, valuable?

    YF March 30, 2004, 11:20 pm
  • “It’s a business. The idea is to make the most money .”
    Only partially right, I think. There’s also this little matter of winning. And winning seems to have a different level of importance to different owners. So for some owners, yes, it’s a business equation – finding the level of team quality that allows them to maximize profit. But for some other owners, they would also like to win, and they have to figure that into the equation. If that wasn’t the case, why would an owner ever pay an expensive free agent? There are plenty of adequate, cheaper players around. If you didn’t care about winning, you would never pay A-Rod whatever it is he earns; you’d pay a younger player for a couple years, then dump him and promote someone from AAA.

    Mike April 2, 2004, 11:07 am
  • That’s absolutely true. But to a certain extent winning correlates with profit, and to another the system works on (pseudo) market principles. The idea, however misguided, behind the A-Rod supercontract was that it would pay off by increasing the value of Hicks property as a whole (not just the baseball operations).

    YF April 2, 2004, 11:39 am
  • You’re right, I didn’t consider the marketing aspects. These things can be variable though; when the White Sox were good in the 90s, did they earn more revenue? Meanwhile, the Cubs made a bunch of money with mediocre teams, because fans still came and bought stuff. It would be interesting to have revenue figures for the teams and see how it correlates to won-loss record, but of course that will never happen.
    But to come back to the original point, teams like the Red Sox and Cubs have raised ticket prices significantly because they have a higher payroll, and they have the higher payroll because they want to win. I think it’s a secondary consideration to these teams that winning will bring in even more money. I think your point that competition with the Yankees *allows* teams to raise prices is more applicable to teams like Baltimore and Tampa.
    In an interesting of the two situations, the Cubs put in a few rows of premium seats behind home plate this season; the prices of those seats for individual games depends on the opponents. Presumably the Yankees would be at the “Premium” level…

    Myke April 2, 2004, 4:11 pm
  • You have got to be kidding me! Red Sox fans whining about not being able to compete with the Yankees on payroll. The Boston Red Sox have plenty of money, that they choose not to spend it is their problem. Rough estimate: Fenway Park seats approx: 46,000. Avg. Ticket price approx: $40. Total Ticket Revenues (81 Sold Out games) approx: $149,040,000. Not Including concessions (how’s about another $100 million), Not Including merchandising (all that nice Red Sox gear you own, maybe another $30-40 million, Baseball shirts and hats are not cheap), NOT Including TV and Radio Revenues (I am taking a blind guess, but if they own the Network like the Yankees do $100-150 million) Grand Total $380-440 million. CHA-CHING!!!!! People the Yankees are making a TON of Money, The Red Sox are making a TON of Money. Stop whining.
    By the way I no longer attend games in person, I watch them for free on TV, and I would not pay for them on TV if I had a choice. Players & Owners make way too much money and they could make less and be happy and games would be affordable. I know its the free market system, if the demand is there why shouldn’t they charge? Good for them, It’s just not worth it for me at the current prices. If they went down I’d have to reconsider.

    Joe (YF) September 21, 2004, 2:27 pm
  • Joe:
    You have some math wrong here. On an oversold day Fenway only holds 35.4K. So 10K x 40 x 81 = about 32M in overestimated revenues, not including the concessions value of perhaps 16M additional (I don’t know if the Sox actually own the concessionaires, though). I don’t necessarily disagree with the substance of your post – these teams are all making money, but your math is simply wrong, by a reasonably significant amount, about $50M.

    SF September 21, 2004, 2:34 pm
  • Sorry SF, Fenway only holds 35K? I knew it was small, hence the 46K guess (I thought I read that somewhere), but damn that’s small. In that case let me try the math again (and the Sox did sell out every game, right?)
    81 games X 35000 = 2,835,000 fans X $40 = $113,400,000
    Concession guess only $10 per fan X fans = $28,350,000
    Merchandising guess we’ll go conservative = $15,000,000
    TV and Radio deals half of Yankees value = $60,000,000
    New super conservative total approx $215 million.
    You can delete my previous post as I overestimated certain factors. But as you said the substance of my post still remains:
    1. Red Sox fans cannot cry poverty, and
    2. Don’t cry for John Henry, George Steinbrenner or any of the players.
    (I apologize for not fact checking before posting. Thanks for the corrections).

    Joe (YF) September 21, 2004, 4:17 pm

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