Ticket Prices & Local Fan Income: A Search for the Cheapest MLB Ticket
Everybody wants to know what MLB teams have the cheapest tickets. But it’s not always as simple as finding the lowest prices. It’s also a matter of looking at the average income of the people in a particular city because that will tell you what they’re able to afford. After all, the cost of living is different in different parts of the country. Let’s take a closer look at the true cost of MLB tickets for each team in search of the cheapest ticket.
Before the 2020 MLB season was played without fans, the Boston Red Sox had the honor of having the most expensive tickets with an average price of $167. In fairness, the Boston metro area has the fifth-highest per capita income in the country at $37,311. The New York Yankees had the second most expensive tickets at $145 despite the tri-state area being 14th in income at $28,819.
On the other side of the spectrum, the Baltimore Orioles had the cheapest tickets in baseball at $52, even though the Baltimore metro area was one spot ahead of New York in income at $29,771. The Tampa Bay Rays were fourth from the bottom in tickets at $56, which is sensible because Tampa is 65th in income at $21,784. Finally, the Toronto Blue Jays were middle of the pack in tickets at $70 (US dollars) while the metro area’s per capita income translates to $36,878 (US dollars), which would have been sixth in the US, right behind Boston.
As mentioned, New York’s per capita income is $28,819, and the New York Mets were more in line with that number with an average ticket cost of $64, which was barely outside the bottom 10. The Washington Nationals had the highest ticket price in the NL East, albeit coming off a World Series win in 2019, at $102. Of course, the Washington metro area also has the highest per capita income at $47,411. The Philadelphia Phillies were among the top-10 in ticket prices at $75, while the Philly metro area ranks 43rd in income at $22,874.
Not surprisingly, the Miami Marlins have the cheapest tickets in the NL East and fifth-cheapest overall at $57. But Miami is also 103rd in income at $20,454. Finally, the Atlanta metro area is 15th in income at $25,288, yet the Atlanta Braves are in the bottom-10 of ticket prices at $58.
In the AL Central, both the Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox are among the top-10 in most expensive tickets at $92 and $81, respectively. Meanwhile, Cleveland ranks 23rd nationally in income at $24,275. Surprisingly, both the Minnesota Twins and Kansas City Royals are in the top half of ticket prices, despite both being small-market teams. The Twins sit at $73 and the Royals at $72. However, the Twin Cities in Minnesota are seventh in income at $35,388, while Kansas City is much lower at $23,326. Finally, the Detroit metro area has a per capita income of $22,319, while the Detroit Tigers have the second-cheapest tickets in the majors at $53.
In the NL Central, the St. Louis Cardinals own the most expensive tickets at $101 despite St. Louis ranking 45th in income at $22,698. The Chicago Cubs are close at $93, followed by a big drop-off to the Milwaukee Brewers at $68 in the middle of the pack. The Milwaukee metro area is 39th in income at $23,003. Near the bottom of ticket prices are the Pittsburgh Pirates and Cincinnati Reds at $58 and $55, respectively. Somewhat fittingly, Cincinnati is 41st nationally in income at $22,947, while Pittsburgh’s metro area is much further down at $20,935
Shockingly, the small-market Oakland A’s have the most expensive tickets in the AL West at $73. Of course, the Bay Area ranks fourth in per capita income at $38,355. The Houston Astros are tied at $73, even though the Houston metro area at $21,701. The rest of the teams in the AL West are slightly below average in ticket prices. The Texas Rangers sit at $68, with the Dallas-Fort Worth area ranking 29th in income at $23,616. The Seattle Mariners and Los Angeles Angels are close on price at $64 and $63, respectively. Of course, Seattle has the third-highest income per capita at $39,322 while L.A. is 86th nationally at $21,170.
Speaking of the relatively low income in Los Angeles, that doesn’t stop the Los Angeles Dodgers from having the third most expensive tickets at $108. As mentioned, the Bay Area has one of the highest incomes in the country, while the San Francisco Giants are in the bottom 10 of ticket prices at $62. Of course, the San Diego Padres have the cheapest tickets in the division at $58, while the city ranks 42nd in income at $22,926. Finally, the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies are middle of the pack in ticket prices at $69 and $65, respectively. The difference is that Denver has a top-10 income at $32,399 while Phoenix ranks 59th at $21,907.
Where are the Cheapest Prices?
What did we learn from this exercise? Well, if we compare the per capita income of a metropolitan area with the average ticket price of MLB teams, the Baltimore Orioles, Toronto Blue Jays, Atlanta Braves, Minnesota Twins, Seattle Mariners, San Francisco Giants, and Colorado Rockies have some of the cheapest tickets in baseball. The Washington Nationals also offer a surprisingly good deal despite having some of the most expensive tickets in the majors.