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The Cost of Dodger Living
2005-04-25 08:03
by Jon Weisman

As the Dodgers return home with Giovanni Carrara on pace for a 27-0 season ...

The average cost of going to a Dodger game increased 4.8 percent, below the major league baseball average of 5.6 percent, according to the 2005 Fan Cost Index issued by sports marketing information provider Team Marketing Report.

For the FCI, Team Marketing Report calculates the amount it would cost to purchase two average adult tickets and two average child tickets, four small soft drinks plus two small beers (no word on who gets the beers), a hot dog for each guest, two programs (because kids don't like to share), parking, and two adult-size caps (because parents don't like to share).

Anyway, this is done for all 30 major league teams. And here's what was found concerning the Dodgers:

Adult Tickets: $18.94, 17th out of 30 teams despite a 9.2 percent increase over the previous year.

Child Tickets: $18.55. Few teams had any kind of discount for kids.

Beer: $7.00 for 20 ounces. The Dodgers tied with the Cardinals (shouldn't beer be cheap in St. Louis?) for most expensive beer price, though the Cardinal beer was 24 ounces. Other teams offered worse deals than the Dodgers, however. Oakland, for example, charges $5.50 for 14 ounces.

Soft Drinks: The Dodgers are listed at $2.50 for a 12 ounce drink, though at the games I attended this season, I saw only two options: $4.00 for a regular drink, $5.00 for a souvenir cup.

Hot Dogs: $4.00. Above average, but they are selling the Dodger Dog reputation.

Parking: $10.00. Below average by a dollar. San Francisco charges $20.

Program: $5.00. Above average by a dollar. Maybe they write better.

Cap: $12.00. Below average by a dollar. The Angels are listed at $6.99.

Total: $158.98.

So, not bad, all things considered. My advice is to skip the beer and programs - and not get two caps every time you go. But while the Dodgers may be charging an arm and a kidney for their front-row seats and suites, the games remain in reach for most people. And not to sound too much like a flack, but on Tuesdays, the Dodgers have begun selling $2 seats in the reserve level, top deck and bleachers. That family of four can now get tickets and park for $18 (plus fees if you don't purchase tickets in person).

2005-04-25 10:24:55
1.   Chris H
I've always found these surveys to be a load of crap. If a family is looking to go to a game on the cheap it is very feasible. Most teams, including the Dodgers, have family plans that include 4 tickets, parking, 4 hot dogs, and four drinks for under $50. If you are looking for a bargain look no further (although the $2 Tuesday probably gives that a run for value).

If you are looking for value at the ballpark then you aren't buying programs, hats, or alcohol.

2005-04-25 10:33:56
2.   Jon Weisman
I tend to agree with you, though I think the survey is less about what the actual price of going to a game is, and more about providing a means of comparison between ballparks.

But certainly, it might be worth doing a comparison of the best deal each team offers, as opposed to the average deal.

2005-04-25 10:46:30
3.   Linkmeister
One of the last times I was at Dodger Stadium (late 1980s) I walked up with a friend from Arthur Young (now EY). For some reason we didn't have corporate tickets from his employer. I think we paid $6 for GA tickets, and we sat in the upper level behind home plate. What are those prices now? Anybody know?
2005-04-25 10:52:09
4.   Jose Habib
For fans interested in relatively cheap, good beer at a baseball game, I recommend Toronto. When I was there, it was $8 Canadian for a Molson's or Labatt's.
2005-04-25 10:58:18
5.   jff123
We have a family of four so we've used the family plan quite a bit. It does not come with parking this year so it's not such a good deal, though the free dogs do help. Two years ago it was under $40. Those were the days.

Also, the new ticketmaster fees really add up. I think they're about $3 a seat. We're taking my dad to the Cubs game on Memorial Day and when I was purchasing tickets on line I purchased the parking because it was an option. They tacked on a $2 convenience fee to the $10 parking fee. I'll never make that mistake again.

When we went last week I noticed that they have a full bar now on the field level. They haven't had that before have they? Hard alcohol and seats right on the field might not be a good idea if they want to keep fans from getting unruly.

The best deal for us is when some freinds of ours give us (for free) their field level season tickets with a parking pass incuded.

2005-04-25 11:34:50
6.   jff123
I just bought 4 $6 top deck tickets and it came to $38.30 with the fees. Next year I think I'll plan ahead and go down to Dodge Stadium to buy them all at once. I live up in Ventura county so it's not exactly close.
2005-04-25 11:35:33
7.   subclub
Top Deck and Pavillion seats are still $6. If you bring your own food you can have a very affordable day at the stadium.
2005-04-25 12:30:18
8.   LAT
Keep in mind that although the Giants charge $20 for parking, they have very good mass trasportation to SBC. This is not a real option at DS. The Dodgers or the City of LA have to address this issue (assuming DS is going to stay where it is for the long term). Also this issue keeps DS from having any life before or after the game--think SBC or Wrigley.

The cost of soda is not $2.50. It is indeed $4-5.

I would like to see a peanut index. I know you can bring your own, but I don't want to pay $5 for peanuts, even if I do get the Costco size bag which I don't want becasue I have no self control and eat the whole thing. Bring back the 2 bagger!

2005-04-25 13:03:59
9.   scareduck
Get your caps at Home Run Park batting cages in Anaheim. Much cheaper than any park, and they have all teams.
2005-04-25 13:30:58
10.   Bob Timmermann
I plan on going to Wednesday's game and I also plan on not eating anything at the game.

Unless there are extra innings.

2005-04-25 13:39:52
11.   22 Gallons
I have to believe these price indices are more reflective of the casual ballgame experience (1-2 games/season). I couldn't imagine spending this much money every time at the ball park. Since I usually go to about 15 games/season I eat before I go, or bring my grub. Definitely bring my own bottled water and snacks (seeds, peanuts, gummyworms).

Personally, my two essentials: beer at the start of the game, and a chocolate malt in the 7th inning. Otherwise, it's bring my own.

2005-04-25 13:51:52
12.   brendan glynn
9.   scareduck

'Get your caps at Home Run Park batting cages in Anaheim. Much cheaper than any park, and they have all teams."

On Beach Blvd? I haven't been there in years. Batting cages and proshop. I'll have to stop by

2005-04-25 13:53:55
13.   Jon Ericson
A price index is intended to reflect "typical" costs. The Consumer Price Index that is used to measure overall inflation lists "funeral expenses", which presumably isn't a cost for most people most of the time.

The problem I have with this index is that it really ought to be normallized. For instance, beer and soda prices ought to be adjusted so that you can compare equal sizes. But I think you still get a pretty good idea of which fans pay the most.

2005-04-25 13:58:32
14.   jff123
We bring our own peanuts, snacks and water but usually can't resist having one beer each (and maybe sharing another). One son always gets a chocolate malt and another a frozen lemonade. Since traffic now dictates that we leave at 3:30 PM to get to the game on time, we usually end up getting hotdogs for dinner at the ballpark.
2005-04-25 13:58:32
15.   Bob Timmermann
The CPI includes funeral costs in its "basket of goods"? Hmm, I'll have to double check that. I have to talk about the CPI to a group of people next week.
2005-04-25 14:07:05
16.   Jon Ericson
Looking at the numbers, I wonder if the Angels are manipulating prices to look better than other teams. They have lowered prices the most of any team primarily by lowering the cost of the programs and caps (by far the lowest now). Also, they've reduced beer size which has no effect on the index, but should save the team money. Ticket prices have gone up 4.6% while their index number has gone down 5.4%.

The index could solve that by pricing foam fingers and T-shirts instead next year. :-)

2005-04-25 14:09:06
17.   Jon Ericson
I got the CPI factoid from
2005-04-25 14:09:43
18.   Doug N
I have first hand experience with the most expensive ballgame in town, Fenway Paaaaa-hk.

The Dodgers sound like such a deal when I think back on dropping $20 for standing room only tickets to see Tampa Bay on a Wednesday. Nevermind buying food; it could be a hundred bucks for a family to see the Sox and not actually have a seat.

What that index doesn't show is the scam of ticket wholesalers. For example, the entire 2004 season at Fenway sold out in a matter of a day. You could still get tickets, if you bought them at Stub Hub, or some other place that took thousands of seats off the Red Sox hands before sales even started. Believe me, I thought long and hard about buying a $350 bleacher seat to see the Dodgers at Fenway last year. But then I found a round trip plane ticket to Miami for $160 and spent a weekend in the sun & saw the Dodgers come back and beat the Marlins.

There aren't many places a family can afford to go to most home games, but keeping the cost around $150 would go a long way to making baseball the national past time again. Sorry for the long post...

2005-04-25 15:23:00
19.   kngoworld
If your going to buy food from the game, buy from the aisle vendors. The prices are the exact same as in the stands and you wont miss any of the game waiting in long lines. The only thing you can not get from vendors are dogs and beer. All other items the vendors will bring right to your seat.
2005-04-25 15:47:30
20.   Robert Fiore
Back in the '80s there was regular bus service from downtown to the ballpark, if you had the patience for it. You could definitely tell when Fernando Valenzuela was pitching. I suppose it fell to bus system cutbacks. I don't see how restoring it would create any more "life" before or after the game; it didn't back then. I don't see what crying need there is for it considering 3 and a half million people came to the ballpark last year without it.
2005-04-25 16:12:26
21.   Jon Ericson
Last year the MTA had a shuttle service from Union Station. But it was only on Fridays and cost $2 a person. Since the shuttle didn't accept transfers it was cheaper to park at Dodger Stadium unless you went alone. I don't see any information about it this year.
2005-04-25 17:28:35
22.   Robert Fiore
Unless you ran a subway through the hills of Chavez Ravine or an overhead cable car over them, it's really not a very attractive way to get into the park. When they had regular bus service on the way home you caught the bus behind the pavilion across from where the 76 station is, and you basically had to wait until everyone else left the ballpark. At the end of the game I just walked down Elysian Park to the Sunset bus stop. You could come that way too, if you can stand the climb up the hill.
2005-04-25 17:55:11
23.   molokai
I hope this is okay with Jon. I've got the buy 2 get 2 plan and I can't make all the games. So for several nights this year I have 4 tickets for games I can't make. The tickets are in the Loge, 3rd row and overlook the Dodger bullpen. The retail price is 18.00 per ticket but with the season ticket plan they only come out to 7.50 per ticket. For anyone who would like to take their family and use the four tickets for 30.00(all four tickets) and sit in the 3rd row instead of GA or Pavillion or in the boon docks of the reserve contact me at Put Dodger Tickets in the subject line. Kids love the seats because you can watch the pitchers warm up and then when Gagne gets up they are the best tickets in the house. Strangest thing I've ever seen is a crowd go crazy over watching a guy warm up.
Time to leave for another Dodger victory.

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