Whether you obsessively counted down the days to Spring Training or are one of those one-game-per-summer fans, hot dog season is well upon us. With a long, hot summer of game days ahead, The Daily Beast set out to rank the 30 Major League ballparks. Taking the value of the visit, expert opinion, and the historical value of each park vs. the thrill of brand spanking new amenities into consideration, here is a look at which baseball stadiums you shouldn’t miss this season.
To calculate the best ticket value, The Daily Beast turned to Team Marketing’s Fan Cost Index (FCI), which represents the average price for a family of four to attend a game. The final value combines the total cost of four non-premium season tickets, two beers, four soft drinks, four hot dogs, parking for one car, two programs or scorecards, and two adult-size hats. Team Marketing determined these costs through standardized telephone interviews with representatives of the teams, venues, and concessionaires.
We then looked at wins per season for each stadium’s home team and compared that number with that stadium’s FCI to determine the greatest chance of seeing a winning game for the lowest cost. Averaged over the last six seasons, this served as our ticket value score (45%).
Of course, these scores can’t capture the atmosphere of a park or the overall impression on game day. To get a better sense of the total experience, we consulted expert Joe Mock. Of the 203 parks currently used for minor and major league practices and games, Mock has been to 202 of them. A sportswriter featured in USA Today Sports Weekly’s series In the Ballpark, Mock has written extensive reviews of each stadium on his website Baseballparks.com, and he provided The Daily Beast with his ranking of the 30 Major League parks (45%).
Finally, we wanted to take into account the history of the facilities. Over the years, parks have added amazing amenities. Brand new stadiums like the $634 million Marlins Park (with a retractable roof and a poolside nightclub) hold a definite draw for spectators, but there is also something to be said for the celebrated past of a park like Wrigley Field. To account for the equal allure of a brand new stadium as well as that of one with a rich history, parks in this category were scored by how far their opening years deviated from the average—essentially awarding the newest and oldest parks the highest scores (10%).