The American League East isn’t the only place in which the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees usually finish 1-2. The longtime rivals, who have finished in the top two in the AL East in six of the last nine seasons, also lead the majors in the most expensive non-premium ticket prices, according to the most recent Fan Cost Index survey released by Team Marketing Report.
The Red Sox have the most expensive non-premium ticket at an average cost of $53.38, followed by the Yankees at $51.83. Their spots atop the chart are no surprise, given the paucity of seats at Fenway Park as well as the dramatic increase in prices for baseball in the Bronx since the new Yankee Stadium opened in 2009. The Red Sox and Yankees are followed on this list by another pair of familiar foes in the Chicago Cubs ($46.90) and Chicago White Sox ($40.67).
The biggest non-premium ticket hike was made by the reigning World Series champion San Francisco Giants, who raised those ducats 14.1 percent. The Detroit Tigers, who have finished .500 or better in four of the last five seasons after suffering 12 straight losing seasons from 1994 through 2005, ranked second with a 10.3 percent increase while the Philadelphia Phillies, who have won the NL East in each of the last four seasons and are the overwhelming favorite to represent the NL in the World Series, tied for third at 10 percent.
Only one of the AL East foes makes the top two in the list of highest average premium tickets. The Yankees are no. 1 at $312.11, followed by the Los Angeles Dodgers at $222.39 and the Red Sox at $172.51.
On the other end of the spectrum are several non-contenders hoping lower ticket prices will lure fans to the ballpark. The Pittsburgh Pirates, who have endured an American sports record 18 straight losing seasons and finished with the worst record in baseball last year, have the lowest non-premium ticket prices at $15.30. The San Diego Padres, who are rebuilding following a surprising second-place finish in the NL West last year, have the second-cheapest non-premium ticket at $15.45 followed by the Arizona Diamondbacks ($15.74), who finished last in the NL West in 2010.
The Padres cut non-premium tickets by a major league-high 17 percent, followed by the Cleveland Indians, who sliced prices by 16.4 percent after finishing last in the AL Central and last in the AL in attendance. The Padres and Pirates also offer the cheapest and fourth-cheapest average premium tickets at $36.01 and $42.67, respectively.
There are a few surprises at the top and bottom of the Fan Cost Index rankings. The Los Angeles Dodgers still have the second-most expensive premium tickets even though they fell from their usual perch atop the NL attendance standings last year, when their average crowd dipped from 46,440 to 43,979 as the Dodgers fell under .500 and the divorce of owners Frank and Jamie McCourt dominated the front and back pages in Los Angeles. And, the Washington Nationals, who haven’t had a winning season since moving to the nation’s capital in 2005, have the fourth-most expensive premium ticket at $166.25.
The third- and fourth-largest reduction in non-premium ticket prices, meanwhile, were made by the reigning American League champion Texas Rangers and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, whose three-year reign as AL West champion was ended when the Rangers cruised to the pennant last year. The Rangers cut non-premium tickets by 10.2 percent while the Angels did so by 9.5 percent. The Angels have the fourth-lowest non-premium ticket price at $17.13.