Prices go up each year for everything from milk to car insurance. That is a given. It is also a given that the cost to attend a professional sporting event is also going up. These price increases and lack of disposable income are making many families choose to stay home instead of head to the ball park. Students in our Professional Sports Administration course looked at this problem and commented on the alternative of attending a minor league team. Read a few responses below.
By: Jordan Belfiori
Luckily, I have never been one that believes I have to attend an event or game to be part of the action. Now, I have been to my fair share of Detroit Lions and Tigers games over the years; however, my participation to these stadiums is becoming more and more obsolete. The reason for this is because of the outrageous cost to attend a sporting event live. Last year, I took my girlfriend to the Week 17 Lions vs. Packers game at Ford Field. The total cost for both of us to attend the game was nearly $400. When you combine the cost of tickets, parking, food and beverages I do not see how people can consistently go to sporting events.
When it comes to other alternatives, I believe going to Minor League games will be a growing trend for families. In Utica, Jimmy John’s Stadium just opened last summer and it has been a huge success. I know many people that frequently attended multiple games at the stadium and spend less than $75. I plan on going to a game or two this summer and checking out the venue.
When it comes to a professional sports bubble, I believe many fans are already at a tipping point with rising ticket prices. I know many individuals that rather watch the game from their home rather than going downtown. If a team doesn’t provide a good product on the field or court and you accompany that with high ticket prices, you get fan frustration and a lack of care for attending the game live.
By: Kelly Riegler
I believe the cost of attendance of sporting events has gotten out of hand. It is near impossible for an average family to attend a game, but maybe once a year as an extravagant expenditure. This would explain the shift in popularity to minor league baseball. Families, and individuals alike are searching for a low cost alternative. While I understand prices need to be raised for overall financial success of a team, there is a difference between profit to stay afloat and be successful, and excessive profit. It may be difficult however, to find the balance in creating a better fan experience all-the-while maintaining acceptable ticket prices. According to the FCI, it cost a family of four an average of $213.03 in 2015 to attend a Tiger’s game. While I believe in cost and demand, prices like these (which are mild in Detroit compared to some luxury areas), I also believe in equitable access to these luxuries. Simply put, ticket prices ought to be more reasonable. (I am not advocating either way for a cap or intervention – simply expressing my thoughts!)
I suppose as long as fans are attending games, then there isn’t anything that can currently be done about rising ticket prices. However, ethically speaking perhaps games should be more affordable for people by providing family discount initiatives as many teams have done. The sports industry is a luxury industry overall, but pricing tickets so high will inevitably drive away fans to more cost effective alternatives, and hurt leagues when the next inevitable economic downturn occurs and tickets are first cut in the family budget.
By: Robert Anshila
Fans want to enjoy the full in-game experience but the high costs for attending games are deterring the organizational progress of growing their fan base. Individual tickets don’t seem like so much, but once an entire family is considered into the cost, expenses for MLB are soaring up to $360 per game! There was a time when a more affordable option was to purchase less favored seats for a lower price which inevitably meant lower in-game experience. But these days, all seat prices are inflated resulting in fans seeking alternative sports entertainment.
I think there are advantages to fans attending Minor League ball games rather than Major League. But essentially people want to be part of something bigger and more attractive. The Major League Baseball teams offer a larger crowd generally in a populated area which adds transportation and other local attractions as a convenience. The Major League facilities cater to the experience which is something that Minor League teams and their venues necessarily don’t have the financial backing to make a priority. There are several Minor league teams that are not located near downtown of any major city. The communities surrounding these suburban teams have a better chance to take advantage of the opportunities the Minor Leagues has to offer. The price is much more affordable for them and there are more opportunities for locals to familiarize with the players.
The sports industry as a bubble is far from bursting. Professional sports has so much to offer as far as entertainment and live experiences. Professional sports offer a wide range of pricing and offer to which it can make adjustments before critical issues arrive. For the bubble to burst there would need to be a sequence or combination of negative factors. I think organizations would have to abuse subsidies incorporated with the local communities among other issues. For example, if prices significantly exceeded affordable fan expectations, in an impoverished area where the organization has accrued large government subsidies. Also, if several teams in each league were operating with the same negligence without the appearance to compromise for the cities, then I believe the bubble would absolutely burst with consequential backlash.