Taking your family out to the ball game costs $140
A pair of baseball game ticket stubs on second base with a ball and glove.
Taking the family to a Major League Baseball (MLB) game is a beloved American tradition. Yet, the price tag associated with this pastime may come as a surprise — on average, $140 for a family of four. MoneyGeek analyzed budget ticket prices for the remainder of the 2023 season, along with parking and concessions, to determine the average cost of attending a baseball game for a family of four for each team. Additionally, the study calculated the average ticket price for each team and found that certain teams tended to either increase or decrease the cost of their game’s tickets.
- The Los Angeles Dodgers are the most costly team to see, costing $219 for a family of four. The Miami Marlins are the least expensive team at $83.
- The most affordable Boston Red Sox tickets cost $35.90, on average. That’s double the overall MLB average cheap ticket price of $17.67.
- When the New York Yankees are on the road, ticket prices for the competing home team have the largest increase of any other visiting team.
- Attending a game between “natural rivals,” such as a Chicago Cubs vs. Chicago White Sox, costs families an average of $48 more.
- Seeing a game on a weekday rather than a weekend (Fri-Sun) can save families $25, on average.
Family outing expenses by MLB team
A bar chart where each Major League Baseball team is ranked according to the various costs associated with attending one of its home games.
While the study found that the average price is $140, the cost of a family day out at an MLB game can vary significantly depending on the team. For example, attending a Los Angeles Dodgers game costs $218 when factoring in the cost of four tickets, parking, four hot dogs, two beers and two sodas. At the other end of the spectrum, a trip to a Miami Marlins game totals $83 for the same expenses.
To account for the variation in the cost of living across the nation, the study compared these expenses with the median weekly household earnings in each team’s metropolitan area. Even with this percentage of weekly income adjustment, the Dodgers remain the priciest option. Interestingly, the Houston Astros rise as the second most expensive MLB team outing when accounting for cost of living.
Cheap MLB tickets cost $17.67 on average
A table ranking Major League Baseball teams by the average ticket price in their home stadiums.
For the everyday fan seeking the most affordable ticket options, the analysis found the average ticket price is $17.67. This cost was calculated using the cheapest ticket prices for each team’s home games scheduled from July onwards, as listed on seatgeek.com on June 29, 2023.
In addition to calculating the average price for a cheap ticket across the U.S., the study also calculated the average price for each team in their home stadium. Tickets to watch the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park will set you back an average of $35.90, double the average across all teams. In contrast, fans can enjoy a Miami Marlins game for $7.43, reflecting one of the best value-for-money experiences considering their current competitive power ranking published by the MLB. Notably, there isn’t a direct correlation between ticket prices and a team’s performance, allowing fans to enjoy games affordably regardless of their team’s current standing.
Prices are higher for rivalries and “popular” teams
A table ranking the 8 teams in Major League Baseball whose away games bring the largest ticket-price increases.
Nothing fuels the excitement of a baseball game like a heated rivalry. However, the catch is that ticket prices increase for popular matchups. The analysis looked into how natural rivalry series, such as when the Los Angeles Dodgers play against the Los Angeles Angels, impact prices. The study also looked into which teams — regardless of matchup — drove the largest increases in prices.
2023 saw the MLB expand the number of interleague games, pitting National against American league teams more often. While this ramps up the excitement with natural rivalry games, like the Chicago Cubs vs. the Chicago White Sox, it also means higher prices. In fact, the study found that tickets for these natural rivalry games cost, on average, an extra $12 per ticket or an additional $48 for a family of four.
The most loved (or hated) teams in baseball
Additionally, some teams seem to naturally drive ticket prices. Is it because of a love of the visiting team or a deep desire to watch the visiting team lose? This year, the Yankees are the most love-hated team in baseball. On average, a visit from the Yankees spikes the home team’s ticket prices by $11.87, a 67% increase from the average ticket price. For example, Marlins’ ticket prices leap from an average of $7.43 to a hefty $32 when the Yankees come to play. This reflects a $24.57 premium for just one ticket or about $100 more for a family.
Less buzzy teams mean lower ticket prices
A table ranking the 8 teams in Major League Baseball whose away games bring the largest ticket-price decreases.
Certain MLB teams don’t seem to spark the same interest and corresponding price hikes when they visit. This doesn’t reflect their performance or their own fan base but rather the home fan’s ambivalence. The study found that the Arizona Diamondbacks have the least buzz in baseball, selling at a $3.43 discount or a 19% decrease compared to the average national cheap ticket. However, the D-backs were ranked fifth in the MLB power rankings as of this analysis.
How to attend an MLB game affordably
A table listing all the Major League Baseball teams with specific data on the average costs of different components of attending a game at their home stadiums.
Taking the family out to the ballgame costs $140, on average. While an MLB game can be a fairly expensive affair for the average family, it’s possible to balance frugality with your loved one’s enjoyment by doing the following.
Buy low-price tickets.
MoneyGeek’s cost analysis is based on buying the cheapest tickets available, but you can certainly spend much more than the average cheap ticket ($17.67) to attend a game.
Go to a weekday game.
Weekday games are typically less expensive than weekend ones. The data indicates a savings of $6.89 per ticket for weekday games, translating to around $25 in savings for a family of four.
Bring your own food and skip the drinks.
With the average cost of a hot dog at $6.13, you could save $24 by bringing your own food to an MLB game. Most stadiums permit fans to bring their food in soft-sided containers (up to 16x16x8), but be sure to confirm these rules before you go. You can save even more by packing sealed water bottles and avoiding purchasing drinks at the game.
See less buzzy teams.
Part of the fun of an MLB is an exciting game, but you can potentially find that during any game. Seeing marquee games can add a lot to the cost of your outing. For example, seeing the Diamondbacks instead of the Yankees could save your family $61 on average.
Take alternative transportation or walk further.
If public transit is an option, you may be able to get to the game for less than the cost of parking. While cheaper parking further away may also be an option, it can be an inconvenience, especially when attending with children.
Earn while you pay.
Assuming you’re paying off your credit cards each month in full, you can use your steep outing costs to at least earn points or cash back. There are also many team-branded credit cards that are a special type of rewards credit card for die-hard fans. But, before taking out one of these cards, the researchers recommend comparing the rewards offered to other cards, especially if you’re only planning to attend a game once or twice a year. There are many great rewards cards available — especially if you have excellent credit — that may be better suited for you and your spending habits.
To analyze ticket prices, the study gathered data on the least expensive tickets for all regular-season games occurring after July 1, 2023, from seatgeek.com. The reported ticket price for each team represents the average of all collected home game prices. A linear regression model was utilized to discern premiums and discounts associated with different factors.
To calculate the cost of taking a family to the game, the study used a hypothetical family of four parking at the game buying four tickets and hot dogs, two beers and two sodas.
The Toronto Bluejays were excluded from the analysis due to limitations in scope to the United States. Bluejays away games were included in the price analysis for other teams.
Parking costs and food policies were obtained from official team pages on mlb.com. The study selected parking prices either from official team parking areas or locations in close proximity to the stadiums and represented the lowest prices observed.
Information about concession prices was sourced from several places, with a May 9, 2023, article by USA Today article being the primary reference.