By Tim Fraser

When it comes to going to see your favorite Major League Baseball team hit the field this summer, be prepared to reach a little deeper into your wallets.

As the off season continues, more baseball teams are announcing plans to raise their ticket prices for the 2008 season. Among the teams that have already announced plans to raise prices are the Red Sox, Yankees, Mets, Mariners, Rockies, Tigers and Astros among others.

Reasoning behind the ticket prices vary from team to team, but not unlike any other business, MLB teams are not above the basic model of supply and demand. In 2007, baseball broke its attendance record by more than three million fans going from 76,042,787 in 2006 to 79,602,524 last year. This marks the fourth consecutive year that baseball broke its attendance records.

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In the midst of a 388-game sell-out streak and fresh off of their second World Series championship, the Boston Red Sox know demand for their tickets will be high. The elder statesman of raising ticket prices, the team has hiked up prices for tickets four out of the last six years. In 2007, the average ticket price was over $46, more then $12 higher then the average price for any other team last year.

While the Red Sox know that fans will still fork over the cash to go to games at Fenway, other teams have not passed up the opportunity. According to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the Seattle Mariners announced that they will have seven “premium” games on their schedule where an additional $3 will be added to the price of each ticket. Other than Opening Day at Safeco Field, the “premium” games include the team’s series against the Red Sox and New York Yankees. The Houston Astros will also see the Sox and Yankees, when they arrive for interleague play and according to the Houston Chronicle will also be raising ticket prices specifically for those games.

Other organizations that plan to raise ticket prices for 2008 claim to be doing it out of necessity. The Colorado Rockies are coming off their most successful year in the franchises history making it to their first World Series and would like to keep up their winning ways. They expect to their payroll to jump $16 million next year and, to account for that increase, have raised prices approximately 15 percent for 2008. The Rockies still rank among the lowest tickets prices in the league.

“Every year, we look for benchmarks to where we are in regard to the rest of the industry,” Rockies co-owner Dick Monfort told The Denver Post. “We felt it was necessary to take this step.”

Two teams that are familiar with making and spending money, the New York Yankees and New York Mets have gotten in on the party as well. With the first and third highest team payrolls in the league respectively, both teams are clearly big spenders. But when you add in the fact that they are both in the process of constructing new stadiums, they are looking to find extra sources of revenue.

“We have to be able to be in a position to make sure fans can afford it and come out,” Yankees Chief Operating Officer Lonn Trost told Newsday. “We also have to be in a position to pay for all this.”

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Whatever the reason, 2008 seems to be the season of rising ticket prices. In a sport where the rich seem to get richer, teams want to have money to spend on things they deem necessities, and the fans are the ones who will be footing the bill.

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