The 2014 MLB season is well under-way. Heading into the fourth week of the regular season, most teams sit at the .500 mark; however, a few MLB teams like the Marlins seem to be playing an entirely different game than 2013. So how are fans reacting to early-season surprises and shake-ups? Ticket demand compared to this point in the season last year tells an interesting story about the fan bases that are most excited about 2014, and those that appear to be less than hopeful.
St. Louis Cardinals (Most Expensive)
After losing the World Series in 2013 to Boston, the Cardinals have jumped 1 spot in the rankings due a 10% increase in average ticket price compared to last season. Heading into 2014, the NL pennant winners shored up their two most glaring weaknesses in the offseason. Add the fact that Baseball Prosepctus ranked the Cardinals first among the 30 teams in 25-and-under talent, and it’s easy to see why Cardinals fans are willing to pay a premium for Cardinals tickets- both this season and for years to come.
Pittsburgh Pirates (Least Expensive)
The Pirates perennially sit at the bottom on the list for ticket prices on the secondary market. However, after breaking a two-decade streak of sub-.500 records in 2013 and gaining their first postseason berth in 20 years, the Pirates have seen a 22% increase in average ticket price in 2014. Still, it wasn’t enough to catapult them from their #30 ranking, most likely due to the fact that the Pirates did little during the off-season to address potential weaknesses, and fans are well aware.
Miami Marlins (Biggest Increase)
The league’s worst offense in recent history last season is, as of Saturday night’s win over the Seattle Mariners, the third-highest scoring team in baseball in 2014. In year two of their rebuilding project and with All-Star right fielder Giancarlo Stanton finally healthy after missing 85 games the last two seasons, excitement among Marlins fans has led to an 81% increase in average ticket price. Whether or not the Marlins can maintain their momentum, it won’t be the heartbreak season of years past- halfway through April Miami has already reached 16 homers, after claiming just 12 in all of April in 2013.
Cincinnati Reds (Biggest Drop)
For Red’s fans, who go into each season expecting to make it to the postseason, 2013 was a disappointing year- and they’re demonstrating this disappointment with their pocketbooks. The average ticket price to a Reds game has decreased by 44% compared to 2013. Additionally, no team has had to deal with the amount of key injuries that the Reds have dealt with this spring. The three highest-paid members of the bullpen – Aroldis Chapman, Sean Marshall, and Jonathan Broxton all started the season on the disabled list. With all three players now officially cleared to play as of this Saturday, ticket prices could increase over the course of the season after reaching record lows.
Below is full ranking of all MLB teams based on average ticket price for the 2014 season.