MoneyGeek Analysis:

Taking Your Family Out to the Ball Game Costs $140 in 2024

ByDoug Milnes, CFA
Edited byMegan Hull

Updated: January 8, 2024

ByDoug Milnes, CFA
Edited byMegan Hull

Updated: January 8, 2024

Advertising & Editorial Disclosure

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, we 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.

Key Findings:
  • 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.

Cost of taking your family to an MLB game

Family Outing Expenses by MLB Team

While MoneyGeek 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, we 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.

Average Cost of Taking a Family of Four to an MLB Game
Team
Family Game Cost
Family Game Cost as % of Weekly Earnings
Cost of Four Tickets
Cost of Parking
Cost of Food and Drink for Four

Los Angeles Dodgers

$219

12.1%

$127

$27

$65

Boston Red Sox

$215

8.9%

$144

$20

$52

San Diego Padres

$203

10.1%

$109

$33

$61

Houston Astros

$182

11.3%

$106

$20

$56

San Francisco Giants

$174

6.4%

$90

$25

$59

New York Yankees

$161

8.1%

$73

$47

$41

Cleveland Guardians

$158

9.8%

$108

$10

$41

Baltimore Orioles

$157

7.5%

$93

$10

$55

Cheap MLB Tickets Cost $17.67 On Average

For the everyday fan seeking the most affordable ticket options, MoneyGeek 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., we 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.

Average Cost Of Cheap Seats
Team
Field
Average Ticket Price
Team Power Ranking (June 26)

Boston Red Sox

Fenway Park

$35.90

17

Los Angeles Dodgers

Dodger Stadium

$31.81

7

San Diego Padres

Petco Park

$27.33

18

Cleveland Guardians

Progressive Field

$26.95

21

Houston Astros

Minute Maid Park

$26.50

10

Tampa Bay Rays

Tropicana Field

$23.81

1

Baltimore Orioles

Oriole Park

$23.23

4

San Francisco Giants

Oracle Park

$22.51

6

Prices Are Higher for Rivalries and "Popular" Teams

Nothing fuels the excitement of a baseball game like a heated rivalry. However, the catch is that ticket prices increase for popular matchups. Our analysis looked into how natural rivalry series, such as when the Los Angeles Dodgers play against the Los Angeles Angels, impact prices. We 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, we 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.

Most Buzzy Teams in Baseball
Rank
Away Team
Ticket Premium
% Increase in Price

1

New York Yankees

$11.87

67%

2

Los Angeles Dodgers

$11.46

65%

3

Boston Red Sox

$6.80

39%

4

New York Mets

$5.15

29%

5

Chicago Cubs

$4.00

23%

6

Atlanta Braves

$2.52

14%

7

St. Louis Cardinals

$2.48

14%

8

Houston Astros

$2.30

13%

Less Buzzy Teams Mean Lower Ticket Prices

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. MoneyGeek 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.

Least Buzzy Teams in Baseball
Rank
Away Team
Ticket Discount
% Decrease in Price
Power Ranking

1

Arizona Diamondbacks

-$3.43

-19%

5

2

Pittsburgh Pirates

-$2.75

-16%

23

3

Chicago White Sox

-$2.59

-15%

26

4

Kansas City Royals

-$2.56

-15%

29

5

Baltimore Orioles

-$2.52

-14%

4

6

Milwaukee Brewers

-$2.44

-14%

16

7

Tampa Bay Rays

-$2.24

-13%

1

8

Cincinnati Reds

-$2.08

-12%

8

How to Attend an MLB Game Affordably

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.

    creditCard2 icon

    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.

    discount icon

    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.

    foodDelivery icon

    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.

    family icon

    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.

    pickupTruck icon

    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.

    rewards icon

    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, we 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.

Methodology

To analyze ticket prices, MoneyGeek 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, we 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. We 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.

About Doug Milnes, CFA


Doug Milnes, CFA headshot

Doug Milnes is a CFA charter holder with over 10 years of experience in corporate finance and the Head of Credit Cards at MoneyGeek. Formerly, he performed valuations for Duff and Phelps and financial planning and analysis for various companies. His analysis has been cited by U.S. News and World Report, The Hill, the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times and many other outlets.

Milnes holds a master’s degree in data science from Northwestern University. He geeks out on helping people feel on top of their credit card use, from managing debt to optimizing rewards.


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