Prepare your baseball budget with the help of the Fan Cost Index

Every year, during baseball season's Opening Day, the people at Team Marketing Report publish the Fan Cost Index. Even though you really don't know about its name, there's a chance you know the mechanics. So you can compute, how much it costs, in their own terms, "for a family of four" to attend a baseball game. The Fan Cost Index for MLB baseball is computed by TMR by adding the cost of two average-priced adult tickets, two average-priced children's tickets, two bottles of small beers, four small glasses of soda, four hotdogs, parking fees, two adult caps and two programs.

Each year, several media stations feature the report. This year, Arizona Diamondbacks released a press statement to brag that they got the lowest cost index among MLB tournaments for the 8th succeeding year. They are over $80 cheaper compared to the average in the industry.

But it's somehow ridiculous to claim that the amount TMR publishes is the exact amount for attending one baseball match. For example, a seat in the upper deck will cost less compared to the average in the stadium; in some cases, it costs really way cheaper. There is really no need for the adults to get each one both a soda and a beer. Additionally, it isn't a requirement to eat while in the stadium, though in some instances that would be difficult for a child to understand. Moreover, who purchases two caps each time they see a game? Some parents could buy hats, not for the children but for themselves.

What's worse is the index clouds the truth that seeing MLB tournaments is a great bargain even when it's 2014. For example, the Boston Red Sox are only a little below average on the Fan Cost Index. Ticket prices for a game on a Saturday versus the Indians, which is their division rival, start at around $7. That's an authentic price and not a second-hand ticket sold by people who intend to get a refund for a ticket that might not be used. That's the actual ticket price when you buy it from the Red Sox's box office. There are even times when a ticket could cost lesser since the team uses a dynamic pricing system. The next day, tickets could be sold for only $5. Either way, you can go inside the U.S Cellular Field in the weekend for a ticket that's cheaper than seeing a movie.

Even the New York Yankees, who is on the number two spot on the index and play in a place where all things are known to be expensive, vend tickets at an affordable rate. Baseball being a part of everyday life is part of the reason why it's a great sport. It's something that's very accessible and doesn't need a lot of planning if you want to see a live tournament. Publishing that it would cost $337.20 in order for a family with four members to see a game of the Yankees is way misleading.

Despite this fact, there are parts of the report that is worth noting. It's great that they show how much is the average cost of seeing a live MLB game and compares it from one city to another. Seeing it live is a great deal as long as you don't feel compelled to sit in the prime spots.