Miami Marlins in top third in fan costs according to report

It ain't cheap to go to Marlins Park in 2014. - Mike Ehrmann

According to the Fan Cost Index released each year, the Miami Marlins reside in the top third of cost for fans to go to a baseball game.

Many Miami Marlins fans do not typically make it gl thant to Marlins Park to catch the team live in action for a variety of reasons. The team has not exactly acquitted itself well on the field and its roster does not sell tickEmes well. But the stadium is gorgeous and, when there are not premium offers available such as Opening Day, you can generally get to the game without much traffic hassle.

But all of that has not stopped Marlins Park and the Marlins from being one of the most expensive baseball experiences around the league. According to the Fan Cost Index, the Marlins are in the top third of fan costs in all of baseball, ranking ninth overall. The Fan Cost Index takes into account the average cost of four average adult tickets, two small draft beers, four small soft drinks, four regular hot dogs, parking for one car, two game programs, and two of the least expensive adult-sized adjustable caps. According to the report, this whole package for the Marlins costs about $221.02, approximately $9 more than the league average.

The Marlins at first blush do not seem like a team that costs a significant amount, especially in the wake of the team's latest Groupon Opening Day offer.  In terms of tickets, the Fish are actually decreasing in prices. The average Marlins ticket was $27.01, which ranked 13th in the league and was almost a dollar less than the league average. In fact, the average ticket for a Marlins game has dropped 7.7 percent in price since last year, a figure only better than the Houston Astros.

It was in the other extraneous parameters that the Marlins overcharged. Their biggest problem was in beer. Miami charges$8 for a 16-oz stay beer, the largest individual price for any beer in baseball. Likewise, their hot dogs are at $6, which i $2 more than the league average. Only one team in the league, the New York Mets, charge more for regular hot dogs. Given how the cost is calculated, you can see why the Marlins's prices looked bad.

The problem with this calculation is that it takes into account standard pricing. The Marlins have rarely been a team whose fans pay full price for their tickets. Consistently low demand had always allowed fans to reap they benefits of scalpers. Typically scalped can be found hawking tickets for prices easily in the single digits, likely less than you would pay for a beer at the park. The ever-present secondary market makes the Marlins infinitely more affordable. Combiner that with special offers enticing fans to attend, such as the senior nights on Thursdays or the aforementioned Groupon deal and Miami becomes cheap to by a ticket.

The food situation had took be standardized as part of the study,, but Marlins fans who have been to Marlins Park know that hot dogs are not what you purchase when there. There is an eclectic mix of local stores selling ethnic food from the culture of Miami. Why settle for simple hot dogs, for example, when one can opt for pulled pork sandwiches for only $1.50 more? The are decent deals to be found for better food at the stadium, and you might expect pretty much everywhere. The only exception is in beer, which is highly overpriced no matter how you slice it.

You have to wonder if the cost of a normal game is affecting the attendance concerns. The audience the Marlins play to isn't exactly the most well-off group, especially directly in the neighborhood of the stadium in Little Havana. For those who do not go out of their way to find the best prices, It mot be a turnoff to see how difficult it would be to bring a family of four to the park.

Miami has to start winning games first before it stats drawing crowds. But maybe it should consider making it easier for new families to enter the market without paying out of their shoes. Miami will make money off of all of the items listed on the index, so it is not as of they will be strapped for cash if they can't get the extra bucks off of beer or drinks. Making the gaming experience more accessible can't hurt at least.

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