There are certain things fans can expect when their professional sports team reaches the pinnacle of the sport – reaching and winning the championship and bringing the hardware home. The best players usually cost (or demand) the highest salaries, and while management will pay to have them play, fans will pay to watch them on the field. What follows is what any fan can expect when their home team is no longer the one where fans don paper bags as a show of embarrassment.
In general, compared to the rest of the league, the average Astros fan really isn’t paying that much more. The city and team is basking in the aftereffects of being a World Champion team and all the expectations that follow. Even if the Astros win back-to-back titles, a rarity these days, fans should see things settle down over the next few years.
Tickets have skyrocketed in price.
Talk about admission price sticker shock! Four years ago the average price of a Houston Astros ticket was $27.98. This year it sits (or stands) at $40.25. That is almost a 70% increase in less than four years. Apparently the fans think the uptick in price is worth it, in part because the Astros have brought home a World Series to them. Opening day ticket prices stunned and outraged more than a few fans, with SRO tickets (standing room only) going for $83. But some perspective is needed here that can be blinded by the rising ticket prices. The average cost of a single ticket to the World Series games in Houston were about $1,000 less than Los Angeles ($2970), and their stadium is the largest in the major leagues. It seems the time has come to pay up for having championship quality players.
Concession prices are above the league average
It makes financial sense that if ownership is going to raise the prices of a ticket, the concessions are not far behind on the price radar. Minute Maid Park, the official name of Astros stadium, you are likely to pay $6 for a hot dog to $6.95 for 2 scoops of Blue Bell ice cream. On the alcohol end, you will be spending between $9.25 and $13.25. For the simplest of drinks, a Coke, it will set you back $8.50 for a souvenir cup. That makes the average price for a hot dog and beer to about $16, and choosing a Coke is only slightly cheaper. There is good news in this refusal of management to concede on concession prices. Each ticket holder is allowed to bring in a bottle of water and all they can fit into a one gallon sized plastic storage bag to eat. If you can bring enough to eat to last you through the game, you likely are able to cut that average concession price in half.
Parking prices are the costliest in years.
Winning the World Series has been a real pain the pocketbook for regular season fans and superfans. It has gotten so bad that televisions station ABC13 in Houston did a piece on parking near Minute Maid stadium. They found the cost of parking for a single game at $60, which are the same spots that cost around $7 on non-game days. You can choose to walk about 3 blocks and it will only cost you $30, but the overall average was $40 for a single game day spot. It was also noticed that prices started to go up the closer it came to the start of the game, so the earlier you arrive, the better chance there is you’ll come in around the average.
All totaled, the average cost of one Minute Maid home game will be about $100 for one person. That is steep, even when compared to teams such as Boston and Los Angeles. There are other factors at work though, such as the fact that major league attendance in general has been declining for a number of years. Management may have made their pricing decisions in part because they cannot expect for the attendance to remain the same, World Series or not. Also, players are demanding higher salaries, especially those who have taken home personal hardware such as MVP or a batting title.
Stay tuned to see if prices will stabilize over the next few years while the team remains competitive.