Every year they come out with a new Team Marketing Report, which chronicles the cost of attending a baseball game for a family of four. It adds up the cost of two adults tickets, two child tickets, four hot dogs, two sodas, two beers, two caps, one program, and parking.
Every year sportswriters uncritically accept this number and wail that baseball is "out of reach for the average American". It is a lot of money. "$287 to attend a game at Fenway, that's absurd!"
It's also completely ridiculous, and I have yet to read a story that points out some of the absurdity. For instance, why the two hats? They're not really part of the cost of the game. You can buy hats anywhere. For that matter, why the two beers? I stopped drinking beer at baseball games years ago when I tired of paying $7 for it. Why always include parking? Along with *thousands* of other fans, I normally take public transit to A's games (and I walk to Giants games). Fenway, for instance, is extremely well served by public transit. For that matter, when I do drive to Oakland, I can just park across the street for free and walk to the game--no $14 parking for me!
But do sportswriters ever bring up these factors? Nooooooo. That would require critical thinking.
However, thanks to Microsoft, it's easy to adjust their chart for a more realistic cost. The following is a modified chart, taking into account 2 adult tickets, 2 child tickets, 4 hot dogs, and 4 sodas.
Whoa! The numbers look a little different! Granted, they're still high, but it looks a lot more reasonable. And kudos to the Yankees! Cheaper than both Houston and St. Louis.
The numbers aren't perfect. The ticket prices are listed as "average"; if one was trying to save money, one might think that the better option would be to buy tickets for special promotional events. But one point of this analysis is that I'm spending about 30 minutes on it. Any sportswriter could also spend 30 minutes and come up with a more interesting story, or they could mindlessly parrot the same story about how it costs $287 to take the family to Fenway.