Baseball on a budget
Baseball on a budget
Baseball on a budget
“Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jacks.”
You hear it — and, don’t lie, sing along to it — during the seventh-inning stretch at every Major League Baseball game.
But what if those salty snacks, and your other ballpark favorites, cost a little too much when you’re at the stadium this season? With prices going up everywhere these days, the dollar signs may add up fast while you’re root, root, rooting for the home team. In fact, a group of four can now expect to pay around $200 to go watch our national pastime as tickets, concessions and souvenirs aren’t getting any cheaper.1
In 2022, the Boston Red Sox’s Fenway Park was the most expensive site for a family to visit at nearly $325, which includes parking, drinks and hot dogs. The Arizona Diamondbacks’ Chase Field was the lowest at $126.2
You don’t have to strike out, though.
From opening day to the all-star game to the Fall Classic, here’s a winning lineup of ways to save at a baseball game:
Know when to go
As with most major athletic events, timing is everything. MLB tickets are considered some of the most price-friendly in all of professional sports, but that doesn’t mean they’re always a home run. Nights, weekends and holidays, as well as big rivalry series, typically see elevated rates during the regular season.
If you’re looking to pinch pennies, attending a weekday matinee can make a “world series” of a difference on your budget. By going in the afternoon on a Thursday, you could trim several bucks off admission.3,4 Early season games, when the weather is colder and school is still in session, can also be a bargain.
Know where to sit
They’re called the “cheap seats” a for a reason. In 2022, the average ticket soared to north of $50.5 Depending on the location and section, you could end up shelling out triple-digits the closer you get to the action, like behind a dugout. While you may need to bring a pair of binoculars, sitting in the outfield bleachers or the upper deck stands may put some cash back in your pocket at the old ball game.
On sites like StubHub and Vivid Seats, you can find MLB tickets at many venues for less than $20 in the nosebleeds. Clubs such as the Colorado Rockies even have a special “Rockpile” area where all tickets are under $5.6
Know where to park
Own a good pair of walking shoes? Dig them out and wear them. In most cases, the farther away you park from the stadium, the less you’ll pay. At Yankee Stadium, for instance, parking your car in an official lot near the stadium can range from $30-$40 depending on the day and time of the game. But finding a garage, lot or spot a few extra blocks away from the gate could cut up to 50% off your payment.7
As The Hustle points out, the cost of parking your vehicle at a baseball game has skyrocketed more than 6,500% since 1960.8
Public transit, such as a local subway service or a bus station, may be a much cheaper alternative in many cities. In Boston, fans can take the “T” to Fenway Park for less than $3 per one way.9 Not only can mass transportation help you stretch your dollar, but it can also help you avoid traffic so you don’t miss first pitch.
Know what to eat
It seems some baseball stadiums these days are turning into five-star restaurants.10 From Carne asada burrito bowls at Oracle Park to Italian beef sandwiches at Wrigley Field to a pierogi hoagie at PNC Park, ballpark fare is getting fancier — and pricier — every year. Truist Park, home of the Atlanta Braves, even sells a giant Wagyu beef cheeseburger that will set fans back $151. On a much smaller scale, traditional staples like hot dogs and soft drinks are both nearing an average cost of $5. Meanwhile, a cold beer at Camden Yards in Baltimore is listed at $10 and $12 at the New York Mets’ Citi Field.11
If you don’t want to swing and miss on your budget, consider packing on your own food, especially if you have children. Most stadiums allow fans to carry in certain items and containers from the outside as long as they adhere to specific policies.12 Bringing your own candy, popcorn and water may not sound like fun, but it can prevent you from spending an arm and a leg at the concessions stand. Ballpark foods like cotton candy, ice cream and frozen lemonade though delicious, can eat away at your wallet.
Know the promo
Deals, discounts and dollar dog days. Many MLB clubs offer exclusive promotions to help fill seats during a long season.
The Cleveland Guardians, Houston Astros and Philadelphia Phillies have select games where fans can enjoy hot dogs for just $1. For all Monday home games at Kaufmann Stadium in 2023, Kansas City Royals supporters can purchase “View Reserved” tickets for just $10. In Chicago, you can get a family four-pack, which includes a hot dog, drink and chips, for $19 per person to cheer on the White Sox.13,14,15
Be on the lookout, and be sure to check your local team’s official website at MLB.com, for special bargains in your area. If there are minor league affiliates where you live, tickets and food may be more affordable.
1 USA Today Sports, “Cost for family of 4 to go to MLB game in 2022,” July 2022.
2 The Hustle, “America’s favorite family outings are increasingly out of reach,” July 2022.
3 Go Banking Rates, “Here’s Why It Costs So Much To Take Your Family to a Ballgame,” August 2020.
4 TicketsTo, “Right Time to Buy Baseball Tickets,” March 2023.
5 Seat Geek, 2023.
7 Stadium Parking Guides, “Yankee Stadium Parking Guide,” January 2021.
8 The Hustle, “America’s favorite family outings are increasingly out of reach,” July 2022.
10 Thrillist, “Every Stadium in MLB, Ranked by Its Best Food.,” April 2022.
11 Bleacher Report, “Braves Will Sell $151 Burger at Truist Park During 2022 MLB Season,” April 2022.
12 The Takeout, These Baseball Stadiums Let You Bring Your Own Snacks,” April 2022.
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