How Many Hours Americans Have to Work to Afford MLB Tickets
Do you live to work or work to live? Most Americans would choose the latter, but in this day and age, people have to be more mindful of their money and where it goes. In a new survey of over 1,000 Americans, we learned more than 1 in 3 (35%) aren’t going to as many MLB games in 2023 because of the economy.
So, how much do you need to set aside to catch a few pro baseball games this season? We figured out the average ticket cost and determined how many hours the average American needs to work to go cheer on their favorite team.
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How Much Americans Need to Work to Afford MLB Tickets
Nearly 1 in 2 (47%) are planning to see a professional baseball game in person in 2023. Those who are planning to see a game are aiming to go to an average of three throughout the season. We determined how many hours Americans would need to work to pay for three tickets based on the average hourly wage of the largest metropolitan city closest to each MLB team.
People living in Houston have to work the most out of all MLB fans to afford tickets. Fans have to do more than a day’s work, about nine hours, to pay for three tickets. With $58.61 as the average ticket cost for an Astros game and the $20 average hourly wage, it’s an investment to see the newly crowned winners of the World Series play.
Not far behind the Astros are the New York Yankees. Fans need to put in about eight hours of work to go to three games. Even though some teams are located in the same city, not all teams are equal when it comes to ticket costs. New York Mets tickets cost half of what Yankees fans pay, so it takes only Mets fans four hours of work to make the money needed for three tickets.
Meanwhile, Boston Red Sox tickets cost the most across the entire MLB. But while the average ticket is $61.71 a game, with Boston’s average hourly wage of $32, fans only need to work about six hours to pay for three tickets.
The most affordable MLB teams to see in 2023 are the San Diego Padres and Colorado Rockies. Fans living in those cities only need to work two hours to make enough for three tickets. Not far behind that are the Seattle Mariners, San Francisco Giants, and Oakland Athletics, which only require about three hours of work.
How Much Americans Need to Work to Afford an MLB Game Suite
When it comes to splurging, baseball fans really need to up their (work) game. Across the MLB, the average cost to rent out a suite is $5,722.
The Yankees have the most expensive suites, costing an average of $15,000 a game. Based on the average hourly wage, if one fan was planning to pay for it all, they would have to put in more than 15 weeks of work, a total of 78 days.
Meanwhile, a Chicago Cubs fan would need to work 58 days to pay for an $11,500 suite. Cleveland Guardians and Los Angeles Dodgers fans would have to put in 46 and 43 days apiece. The Red Sox have the fourth-most expensive suite rental cost in the MLB set at $10,750. So, fans would need to work 42 days to pay for that luxury.
The best MLB stadium to go VIP is the Oakland Athletics’ RingCentral Coliseum. The average suite rental cost is $2,250, which means fans would need to put in nine days of work to pay for it.
Extra MLB Gameday Costs
Even if fans aren’t renting out an entire suite, people are willing to pay a little extra to sweeten up their MLB gameday experience. On average, fans will shell out an extra $51 on top of paying for their ticket.
Most fans put their money toward food. More than 2 in 5 (43%) buy concessions and non-alcoholic drinks at games; 1 in 4 admitted they’ll pay extra for alcohol; and 24% like to dine at ballpark restaurants.
More than 1 in 3 (35%) will drop money on better seats, and 16% will pay for closer stadium parking or team swag at stadium stores.
When asked what they’d give up to save money for MLB tickets, people said fast food would be first to go. In total, 28% would skip those meals to afford a ticket, and 25% would give up going out to eat. A bold 22% said they’d even forgo alcohol to get the money needed for some MLB tickets.
Going even further, 1 in 10 actually declared they’d skip out on a spring break trip to save up for an MLB game, and 27% would take front-row tickets to an MLB game over a spring break trip.
MLB 2023 Season Plans
This spring, more than 1 in 5 (21%) are planning to watch their teams play spring training games. While most fans (94%) are not planning to actually go to a spring training game in person, nearly 1 in 10 (8%) have gone to a game in the past.
In total, 1 in 4 devoted fans have traveled out of state to watch their team play in a regular season game, and 28% have even taken a day off work to go to an MLB game.
The No. 1 team people hope will win the World Series in 2023 is the New York Yankees, followed by the Atlanta Braves, Chicago Cubs, and Boston Red Sox. Looks like most people are not betting on the current reigning champs, the Houston Astros. Houston was the seventh team in the league that fans picked to win this year. So, whether you’re planning to go big or go (watch from) home, here’s to another great season of baseball.
To determine the average MLB ticket cost, we analyzed data from Team Marketing Report’s 2022 MLB Fan Cost Index report (the latest data available at the time of this report). To determine each city’s average hourly wage we used US Census data on the median non-family household salary of the largest metropolitan city closest to each MLB team. For example, while the LA Angels stadium is located in Anaheim, we determined the average hourly wage based on the average salary of people living in Los Angeles. For the Texas Rangers, we determined the average hourly wage by determining the average salary of both Dallas and Fort Worth.
To determine the average suite cost for each MLB stadium we used data from the Suite Experience Group.
In January 2023, we surveyed 1,055 people about the MLB and costs associated with it: 48% were female, 49% male, 2% non-binary/non-conforming, and 1% prefer not to respond. Respondents ranged in age from 18 to 93 with an average age of 40.
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