Ballgame inflation

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A beautiful day to see a game

I took my family to see a baseball game last night, something I love to do and an experience that I want my kids to enjoy as well. It is a great way to spend a few hours while keeping the kids away from the TV and/or electronics. The cost to go to a game, however, has increased to a point such that it is out of reach for many families. For last night’s game, in which we had relatively low cost tickets, the cost exceeded $200. Here is a breakdown.

Ballpark cost craziness

To start with, look how the actual cost of tickets, $115.60, are actually 45% higher than the base ticket price of $80!! You have a processing fee of $3.60, a service fee of $5 per ticket or $20, sales tax of $2.40, and the cherry on top; a $9.60 amusement tax charged by the City. Note the amusement tax is 9% of total charges paid, meaning a tax on top of service charges and sales tax as well!! The mitigation is that you could buy tickets at the ballpark rather than online, which would save you the order processing fee and service fee, or $23.60. Of course you run the risk of getting worse seats. Parking was $20, which is the cash price we paid at the gate. We could have purchased beforehand online but an additional processing fee would have applied.

The other big “bucket” of cost is food and drink. This bucket added up to about $70, of which $33 was attributed to alcohol for my wife and I. The obvious thing to cut out is alcohol or beers, however having 3 beers among 2 adults over 3 hours is certainly not splurging. If you have young kids, beer is almost a necessity :). One thing we forgot to do was bring a water bottle, which ended up costing us $6.25 for a water (really?). We also could have packed some food for the kids which would have perhaps saved us on the pretzels.

The moral of the story is that ballgames are expensive, even when buying cheap tickets. You can trim some of the cost, but in the end you usually end up going to less games per year to keep things within budget.