Padres' Fan Cost Index for 2010 paints an affordable (imaginary) picture

Now, let me just say that I think this ownership is doing a lot of things right by the fans. I'm not one of these fans that expects an ownership group to come in that consists of one insane person willing to drop unspeakable sums of money on the Padres to acquire them outright and then somehow come up with another $120 million in player payroll to buy all the best talent (available or not).

I'm also willing to round up when the team says they'll spend $40 million payroll and they get to $39.8 million or whatever it is. What do I care if David Eckstein gets an extra $200k this season?

I also do think that Padres games are probably maybe going to be more affordable this season.

Finally, I've got problems with the whole Fan Cost Index thing in general. I've got me a Sports MBA. I know me some analysis of numbers. So whenever these things FCI things come out, I get punchy.

However, all that said, I have issues, with the 2010 Fan Cost Index for the San Diego Padres. For the new people, every now and then I put on my analyst hat. When I do, I can get long winded. If you don't want that, then don't jump.

Seriously, jump though.

Ticket Prices

First off, the ticket prices. The average ticket price in the ballpark is listed as $15.15, which is 15.4% lower than it was last year, but I just don't see how this is possible without doing some advanced math I don't know. Here is a seating chart:

 

2010-map_thumb_medium

There are three groups of seats that are less than $15.15. Upper Field Reserved (the blue sections at the far right and left of the map) are $14 and the Bleacher seats (the green area in right center) are $10. Park in the Park are less than $15, but it still doesn't make sense that there are more tickets available in those sections combined than there are in the rest of the park. Obviously, there would have to be for the average price to be as low as it is.

The $15.15 appears to ignore a lot of relatively expensive seats.

Premium Seating

Also, the average premium ticket price is listed as $30.56, which also strikes me as fibbed. A premium seat is one that receives extra amenities. It does not have to include luxury suites.

In the past, everything in Toyota Terrace should have been listed as premium for the fact that you couldn't access the Terrace restaurants without a Terrace ticket. You could also get in-seat service in those seats at one point and, unless that's been taken away, the TT should/could probably be considered premium. But those seats cost $26, $37, and $58, with the $26 version easily being the smallest number of seats.

The Padres currently have an all you can eat ticket for $29, which helps the average premier ticket price, but this is a relatively small number of seats. I can only assume that "Premier Club" seats ($63 per ticket) are considered premium and the Field Box Infield ($61 gray seats) are premium.

So again, like the ticket prices, I just don't see how it's possible to have the average cost of a premium seat as $30.56.

Dog & Drink

The $4 hot dog is real and is annoying if you've ever been to CostCo or IKEA, but you're not going to Petco Park for the Friar Franks. The $5 14 oz beers are real, and apparently, they're amazing. The $4 22 oz soda bums me out unless they get Coke Zero and Dublin Dr Pepper in the house.

Parking

Parking is listed as $4, which sets my B.S. detector off. There is a good amount of free parking around the ballpark, but any paid lots are going to set you back at least twice that.

Program

The program is listed as free, but Padres Magazine is $5 and I've never seen a free program unless they're talking about the scorecard, which I'm pretty sure they'll trade you for a buck. Maybe the $5 is optional. They'll give you a copy if you happen to be in the offices and see one lying around. This must be what they're talking about.

Cap

The cheapest adult ball cap is $7. I have no idea what this cap looks like. A quick search of the Padres online store will reveal that the cheapest adult ball caps available online are in the neighborhood of $14 to $20.

A Real Index Estimation

So the Fan Cost Index totals up:

  • 2 adult tickets
  • 2 child tickets
  • 2 beers
  • 4 sodas
  • 4 hot dogs
  • parking for 1
  • 2 programs
  • 2 adult caps

If I calculate those things up myself (based on memory, what I know of the new prices, and what I figure I can get away with on an "average" day):

  • 2 adult tickets - $36
  • 2 child tickets - $36 (assuming these aren't lap kids)
  • 2 beers - $10
  • 4 sodas - $16
  • 4 hot dogs - $16
  • parking for 1 - $0
  • 2 programs - $10
  • 2 adult caps - $50 (I'm not willing to search no basement for a mythical $7 cap)

Check my math: $174, which still puts us below average. If you add in $20 for parking (assuming you don't want to walk through as many homeless villages as I'm willing to walk), the total comes to $194, which is just about at the league average of $195.08.

Conclusion

Again, I don't doubt that it's less expensive to go to the games this season. I do doubt just about every which way that the FCI gets calculated. I've never liked using "averages" to try to come up with a number that's supposed to speak to an experience. Average metrics lead to average results.

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