The Royals are well on their way to a seventh-consecutive losing season and have the third-most losses in baseball since 2018. But a drop in the standings hasn’t led to a drop in costs to attend a game, according to an article by The Hustle examining rising entertainment costs. Using data from FanCostIndex, they calculated the average cost of 4 tickets, 4 hot dogs, 2 beers, 2 sodas, and parking across the league and found the Royals have the 16th-highest cost in baseball for a family of four. Across baseball, the average family would spend $204.76 at a game, while Royals fans would spend just under that at $193.94.
Admittedly, some of the numbers raise some eyebrows. I think there are places you can find a $5 beer at Kauffman, but it is certainly the very low end, not the average cost. Parking is $20 if you pre-pay online, but it can be $30 if you pay at the gate. Ticket prices can also vary with “dynamic pricing” and the secondary market. The Royals do offer discounted prices on occasion such as Dollar Dog Night.
Still, the numbers show the Royals are not as good a value as other, better teams in the league, particularly those in similarly-sized markets. Take the Cincinnati Reds, in a market smaller than Kansas City, yet with ticket prices on average more than $10 cheaper. Or the Minnesota Twins who play in a fairly new stadium downtown with a first-place team, yet have ticket prices lower than those in Kansas City.
The article also shows how compares costs to inflation-adjusted numbers from 1960 and shows how much costs have gone up. The biggest inflation in cost has come from parking, where fans in 1960 paid an inflation-adjusted $2.47, and on average pay $16.79 now. Even worse for Royals fans, their stadium is not in the urban core and thus there are limited mass transit options, requiring most fans to park in the lot while fans of other teams may have more options.
It is not just baseball that has doubled in price in the last 60 years, the price of going to a movie has doubled as well. And the cost of going to Disneyland has tripled, according to their data.
The article also shows that median annual family incomes have risen since the 1960s, so families may have more income to spend on entertainment, although rising health care and energy costs eat into some of that income.
The Royals have had a frustrating season, just another in a series of frustrating seasons. If owner John Sherman wants to build the goodwill needed to persuade taxpayers to pay for a new downtown stadium or even renovate Kauffman Stadium, it would be a good gesture to publicly announce a drop in prices (player payroll has gone down since 2015, why haven’t prices?)