Pitchers and catchers reported earlier this month, signifying the start of that annual rite of passage -- spring training. As baseball's best get back into game shape in Arizona and Florida, it's time to start thinking about a day at the ballpark. And that day will come sooner than it ever has -- all of Major League Baseball's teams will play on March 28. The defending World Series champion Red Sox will open at Seattle while the World Series runner-up Los Angeles Dodgers will host the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Most Expensive MLB Teams
You’d think winning a World Series would drive up ticket prices, but in the case of the Boston Red Sox, the average asking price on the secondary market is 8% lower than in 2018, according to secondary ticket marketplace TicketIQ.com. But even with the decline, the Red Sox’s $155 average asking price is the highest in Major League Baseball. In October, the Red Sox won their fourth World Series since 2004, when they snapped an 86-year-old drought. The next priciest ticket on the secondary market is $141 for the Chicago Cubs, who snapped their 108-year drought in 2016. And that average is, yep, you guessed it, cheaper than last year. The New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals round out the top 5. Three of the teams with the Top 5 priciest tickets had declines in ticket prices from 2018 to 2019.
Least Expensive MLB Teams
The cheapest ticket in the Major Leagues is even cheaper than it was last year, according to TicketIQ.com. The average asking price for a Tampa Bay Rays ticket dropped 23% from $52 to $42, making it the cheapest ticket by $2. The next least expensive ticket is $44 for a seat to see the Mets at Citi Field. where tickets fell 62% between 2018 and 2019. Only one other team has an average asking price below $50 – $48 for the a chance to see the Cincinnati Reds. The San Diego Padres (even with Manny Machado) and the Miami Marlins are the other two teams in the bottom 5.
Just missing the bottom 5: Minnesota Twins ($53), Baltimore Orioles ($53), and Los Angeles Angels ($54).
|Team||2019 Season Avg||Year Over Year Change|
|Boston Red Sox||$155||-8.1%|
|New York Yankees||$133||10.2%|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||$132||-31.0%|
|St. Louis Cardinals||$104||20.7%|
|Chicago White Sox||$82||33.3%|
|Kansas City Royals||$80||5.9%|
|San Francisco Giants||$75||13.5%|
|Toronto Blue Jays||$67||-14.4%|
|Los Angeles Angels||$54||-77.8%|
|San Diego Padres||$52||-55.4%|
|New York Mets||$44||-61.9%|
|Tampa Bay Rays||$42||-23.0%|
Biggest MLB Ticket Price Gainers
There’s plenty of hype surrounding the Chicago White Sox--which may die down a bit with Manny Machado off the board--but up until now it has driven the average asking price for a ticket up more than 33% to $82, good enough to be the eighth priciest ticket in MLB. Chicago fans clearly think that avoiding arbitration with superstar Jose Abreu and adding first baseman Yonder Alonso could be enough to put the White Sox into contention. Demand in Milwaukee for the Brewers, which won the NL Central and got to within a game of the World Series in 2018, is up just over 31% to a $74 average asking price. Rounding out the top five biggest price gainers are St. Louis, up nearly 21% to a $104 average; the Philadelphia Phillies, thanks to their recent acquisition of Bryce Harper, also up just under 21%. and the Colorado Rockies, up nearly 19% to $56.
Biggest MLB Ticket Price Drops
A year after a massive increase average asking price, Los Angeles Angels fans are clearly feeling the disappointment of long-time manager Mike Scioscia’s retirement. The average asking price for a ticket to Angels Stadium is down a whopping 77% to $54 from $96. The next biggest dip is less than half that. The Mets have the 29th most expensive ticket after a drop of nearly 62% to $44 while San Diego fans appear to have also thrown in the towel before the start of the season. The average asking price for a seat at Petco Park is $51, down just over 55%. But with the recent signing of superstar Manny Machado, prices could begin to trend up in the coming days and weeks The Cincinnati Reds and Los Angeles Dodgers round out the five biggest price drops, at declines of 33% and 31%, respectively. Dodgers fans are clearly still feeling the sting of a second consecutive World Series defeat.
Just missing the bottom 5: Tampa Bay Rays (-23%), Minnesota Twins (-18.4%) and Baltimore Orioles (-16%)
MLB Team Value Index (Cost per win based on projected win totals)
|Team||Avg Price||Projected Wins||Cost Per Win|
|Tampa Bay Rays||$42||84.5||$0.50|
|New York Mets||$44||86.5||$0.51|
|Los Angeles Angels||$54||81.5||$0.66|
|San Diego Padres||$51||76.5||$0.67|
|Toronto Blue Jays||$67||75.5||$0.89|
|San Francisco Giants||$75||73.5||$1.02|
|Chicago White Sox||$82||76.5||$1.07|
|Kansas City Royals||$80||70.5||$1.13|
|St. Louis Cardinals||$104||88.5||$1.18|
|New York Yankees||$133||96.5||$1.38|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||$132||93.5||$1.41|
|Boston Red Sox||$155||93.5||$1.66|
Based on each team’s average ticket price on the secondary market and season projections, we can determine each team’s value in terms of dollars per win. There are plenty of opportunities to get the most bang for your buck. The number is derived by dividing the projected number of wins into the average asking price on the secondary market.
In terms of “cost per win,” the best deal in the league will be at Tampa, where the cost per win is 50 cents. Tickets are cheap, even though the Rays are projected to win more than 84 games. So if you’re in the neighborhood, it’s a great opportunity to see your team on the road. Other teams that based on their win total vs their secondary market average price that will be providing their teams with great deals are the New York Mets, Cincinnati Reds, Minnesota Twins, and the Los Angeles Angels.
At the other end of the spectrum, the priciest teams are also the teams that are the worst value in terms of "team value index." For example, the team with the highest “cost per win” is the Boston Red Sox, meaning fans will pay a premium for a seat at Fenway. The Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees and Seattle Mariners round out the Top 5 highest team value index. Of the five, Seattle is really the worst deal of the top five as they're projected to win only 70.5 games, but average asking prices are high.
Playoff & World Series Ticket Reservations Via Shoowin
With spring training well underway and the earliest Opening Day in history looming, it’s not too soon to start thinking about the postseason. Shoowin.com, which offers fans a chance to reserve face-value tickets to big events, is already taking reservations for the World Series, League Championship Series and Divisional Championship Series.
According to the Shoowin website, fans save an average of 22% using Shoowin versus secondary market ticket vendors, and can save as much as 98%. Here’s how it works: Fans select the team and event they are interested in, and then pay for a reservation. When the event becomes available, fans pay face value for their ticket. All deposits are non-refundable, so fans are gambling on the opportunity to buy a face-value ticket that combined with the reservation price will cost less than on the secondary market.
With the start of the baseball season still weeks away, even the priciest reservations -- $111 for the New York Yankees, $105 for the defending World Series champion Boston Red Sox and $90 for the 2017 World Series champion Houston Astros – look like a great deal. Should any of those teams get to the World Series, secondary market ticket prices will fluctuate, but a fan with a Shoowin reservation will have already locked in his price.
Below is a look at the teams with the Top 10 Shoowin reservation prices for the World Series.
New York Yankees
- World Series Reservation Price: $111
- ALCS: $177
- ALDS: $151
Always a hot ticket, the Yankees are commanding the highest reservation price for a World Series spot, are ranked No. 3 on Shoowin in terms of reservation price for an ALCS ticket, and No. 3 for a reservation for an ALDS ticket. While the Yankees haven’t won a World Series since 2009, they very nearly got there in 2017, losing in the ALCS in seven games to the Astros. Last season, Boston knocked New York out of the playoffs in the ALDS. Both seasons, New York needed a Wild-Card play-in game just to advance. Expect New York to be a contender again, though fans are understandably fuming that New York didn’t really try to add either of the two biggest free agents in the offseason, Manny Machado or Bryce Harper. But then again, they did sign slugger Giancarlo Stanton in December.
Boston Red Sox
- World Series Reservation Price: $105
- ALCS: $148
- ALDS: $119
It took the Red Sox only five games to win their fourth World Series since 2004, and but those five games included a history making 18-inning affair – that Los Angeles won. But after breaking an 86-year World Series curse in 2004, Boston has emerged as a consistent threat. In terms of demand, the cost to hold a ticket to a Red Sox World Series is ranked No. 2 among prices on Shoowin. Boston is No. 4 in the AL in terms of reservation price for both the ALCS and ALDS. The Red Sox have made few changes in the off-season, and why bother after a 108-win regular season? What will get Red Sox fans most excited for the start of the season is the return of everyday second baseman Dustin Pedroia. The veteran has played his whole career in Boston and was part of the 2007 and 2013 World Series’ teams.
- World Series Reservation Price: $90
- ALCS: $225
- ALDS: $188
Two years removed from a World Series – the Astros beat Los Angeles in 2017 for the first title in franchise history – the Astros currently have the highest reservation price in the American League should they make the ALCS. Houston has played in the ALCS for the last two seasons, beating Boston, 3-1, in 2017, and losing to Boston, 4-1, in 2018. The Astros switched to the AL starting in the 2013 season. With Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole as its aces, and few meaningful off-season changes, Houston should continue to dominate, and is considered by many to be the team to beat the American League.
- World Series Reservation Price: $81
- NLCS: $100
- NLDS: $111
One of only two teams with a reservation price of more than $100 for both the NLCS and NLDS, the Cubs are ranked No. 2 behind Los Angeles in terms of price for both series. In 2016, the Cubs snapped the longest World Series drought in MLB history, 108 years, when they beat the Cleveland Indians, who at 70 years now own the longest World Series drought in the league. Since that historic win, the Cubs advanced to the NLCS in 2017, and were eliminated from the postseason in a play-in game last year. In terms of personnel, the Cubs made no big changes during the off-season. But then, they won 95 games last year, so if they can overcome some of the off-the-field drama, they should be contenders again.
Los Angeles Dodgers
- World Series Reservation Price: $72
- NLCS: $150
- NLDS: $188
Twice bitten, the Los Angeles Dodgers reached the World Series in 2017 and 2018, but still have an 30-year drought since last winning in 1988. Given the World Series reservation prices, it seems fans aren’t convinced the Dodgers will get there a third consecutive time, but the $150 NLCS and $188 NLDS reservation prices are the highest in the National League. The Dodgers lost three key players – Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp and Manny Machado – during the off-season, but are still a good bet to win a record seventh consecutive NL West pennant. The face of the franchise – Clayton Kershaw – is back and along with Justin Turner is hoping to get to and finally win a World Series. Early in spring training, Kershaw was nursing a sore shoulder.
- World Series Reservation Price: $66
- NLCS: $73
- NLDS: $76
It’s been seven seasons since the Phillies even made it to the postseason, but fans are still full of hope, if Shoowin reservation prices are any kind of indicator. Behind only the Dodgers and Cubs, the Phils are ranked No. 3 in terms of reservation prices for the NLCS and No. 4 for the NLDS. Why? Bryce Harper. Philadelphia signed the hottest free agent of the offseason, and to a long-term contract, no less, giving fans a reason to go out to the ballpark. The Phils also improved their lineup, so maybe they’ll be able to snap their playoff drought.
- World Series Reservation Price: $52
- ALCS: $195
- ALDS: $188
Demand has pushed up reservation prices for the ALCS and ALDS. In fact, the $188 reservation price for the ALDS is the highest in the American League and the $195 for the ALCS is second only to Houston. Owners of MLB’s current longest World Series drought, the Indians last won in 1948, but have gotten to the Series four times since, most recently losing to Chicago in seven games in 2016. Cleveland has won the AL Central for three consecutive seasons, but hasn’t advanced past the ALDS since 2016. The Indians are projected to win the Central again, but if they do, it will be with a new cast of characters after letting Edwin Encarnacion, Yonder Alonso and Michael Brantley go to reduce payroll.
St. Louis Cardinals
- World Series Reservation Price: $48
- NLCS: $70
- NLDS: $83
After getting to four World Series in 10 seasons between 2004-13, the Cardinals haven’t made it to the playoffs since 2015. But St. Louis has a dedicated fan base – even more so since the NFL Rams left for Los Angeles – so demand for post-season ticket reservations it still fairly strong. Though the World Series seems like a longshot, fans have already pushed Shoowin reservation prices for the NLDS to No. 3 behind the Dodgers and Cubs, and for the NLCS to No. 4. During the offseason, the Cards added Paul Goldschmidt, a Gold Glove at first base with a big bat.
- World Series Reservation Price: $45
- NLCS: $62
- NLDS: $71
It wasn’t unexpected, but with Bryce Harper gone, Nationals fans are still adjusting to a new reality. Demand for post-season reservations remains high – the $71 price for the NLDS is tied with Milwaukee for the fifth highest in the National League, while the $62 reservation price for the NLCS is also ranked No. 5. Though Harper has long been the face of the franchise, the Nationals, who finished second in the NL East last season, have plenty of depth. During the offseason, Washington plugged a weak spot by signing catchers Matt Wieters and Kurt Suzuki. And, of course, they’ve got ace Max Scherzer back. Washington has been first or second in the NL East every season since 2012, but didn’t get a Wild-Card spot last season and missed the playoffs.
- World Series Reservation Price: $43
- NLCS: $55
- NLDS: $63
The glory days of the 1990s, when Atlanta got the World Series five times in 10 years, seem long gone, the Braves are hoping to build on last year’s success. Atlanta won the NL East and got to the playoffs for the first time since 2013. That enthusiasm has kept the idea of a playoff run alive for fans, and Shoowin NLDS and NLCS reservation prices are currently the seventh most expensive in the National League. In 2018, the Braves benefitted from their farm system, as a bevy of home-grown talent stepped into the lineup and immediately performed. During the off-season, Atlanta added depth in the bullpen, but with Harper’s move to Philadelphia, competition in the NL East just got that much tougher.