2014 MLB Ticket Prices Show Huge Increase in Demand Among Marlins Fans

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.

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Top 10 Most Expensive MLB Opening Day Tickets

For many baseball fans, Opening Day serves as a symbol of rebirth, a chance to forget last season and start fresh with a 0-0 record. This translates into record ticket demand, as fans clamor for a seat to the game.  A ranking of the top 10 most expensive MLB Opening Day tickets can be found here.

While most of North America was fast asleep, the first Opening Day game in 2014 took place on March 22nd on a cricket field in Australia, with both games expected to draw over 40,000 fans.  Excluding the prime-time Padres-Dodgers match-up on March 30th, all other MLB teams will kick off their 2014 season on March 31st or April 1. A few match-ups that stand out on the list:

Opening Day TicketsMilwaukee Brewers at Boston Red Sox, April 4  With last season’s World Series Championship title under their belt, the average ticket price for the Red Sox Opening Day game is currently $265. Ticket prices are up 143% compared to last year’s opening game (average ticket price in 2013 was $109). The Red Sox are also playing in the second most-expensive Opening Day game of the season against the Baltimore Orioles’ at Oriole Park.

Philadelphia Phillies at Texas Rangers, March 31st - Texas Rangers Opening Day ticket prices are up 30% from last year. The investments the Rangers made in their rooster during the off season seem to have re-ignited fans after the team fell short last season. Additionally, Phillies opening day starter Cliff Lee will be making his first return to Arlington since leaving Texas Rangers following the 2010 World Series.

Cincinnati Reds at St. Louis Cardinals, April 7 - Rivals Cincinnati and St. Louis hold the #4 & #5 spots for both Opening Day games. Last year’s MVP Michael Wacha will start in the Cardinals home opener against their rival Cincinnati.  The last time these two teams faced each other, Wacha held the Reds to six scoreless innings, allowing just 3 hits.  The average ticket price for both Opening Day events is $157.

 

2014 MLB Season Preview: Chicago White Sox

Konerko is a veteran leading a team of youngsters

 

The Chicago White Sox were nothing short of a mess in 2013, with almost 100 losses to go along with one of the highest payrolls in the Major League Baseball. The White Sox have made some big moves over the last few months to try to right the ship, catching the Detroit Tigers in the AL Center might be a pipe dream at this point.

Transactions:

7/30 – Traded Jake Peavy, received 4 players

8/9 – Traded Alex Rios, received Leury Garcia.

12/10 – Traded for Adam Eaton

1/2 – Signed Scott Downs

(Did not re-sign Gavin Floyd)

Projected Lineup:

C: Tyler Flowers
1B: Jose Abreu
2B: Gordon Beckham
SS: Alexei Ramirez
3B: Matt Davidson
LF: Alejandro de Aza
CF: Adam Eaton
RF: Avisail Garcia
DH: Adam Dunn

Pitching Staff

SP: Chris Sale
SP: Jose Quintana
SP: John Danks
SP: Erik Johnson
SP: Felipe Paulino
CL: Nate Jones

The White Sox are being picked to finish 3rd in the division by most analysts, and that sounds about right. I’d bet the house on the Tigers winning the Central once again, and at least one wild card spot will come from the AL East, if not both. I can’t see the White Sox making the postseason in 2014, but they could manage getting close to 80 wins.

2014 MLB Season Preview: Chicago Cubs

Things haven’t gone well at Wrigley recently

 

The Chicago Cubs haven’t had a winning record since 2009, and the fans are getting restless.  Last year saw an anemic offense once again, and the eventual firing of manager Dale Sveum. Rick Renteria, previously the Padres bench coach, was hired to take over in November to try to steer this club in the right direction. Not too many moves were made in the offseason, but the Cubs will still look to get to .500 and maybe into the playoff hunt if the chips fall into the right places.

Off-season transactions:

12/16 – Signed LHP Wesley Wright

12/27 – Signed RHP Jose Veras

2/13 – Signed RHP Jason Hammel

2/15 – Signed UTIL Emilio Bonifacio

The Cubs didn’t spend any big money in the offseason, instead filling out some spots with buy-low options that could turn out well for them. Jose Veras will step into the closers role, while Jason Hammel will find his way into the back end of the rotation.

C: Welington Castillo
1B: Anthony Rizzo
2B: Darwin Barney
SS: Starlin Castro
3B: Luis Valbuena
LF: Junior Lake
CF: Justin Ruggiano
RF: Nate Schierholtz

Pitching Staff:

SP: Jeff Samardzija
SP: Travis Wood
SP: Edwin Jackson
SP: Jake Arrieta
SP: Jason Hammel
CL: Jose Veras

The Cubs will likely not reach .500 this season, as the talent is just simply not there — yet. The immediate future doesn’t look good for the northsiders, but they may not be too far away from competing in the NL Central once again.

MLB Season Preview: Boston Red Sox

Xander Bogaerts is the most heralded Sox prospect since Hanley Ramirez

 

The Boston Red Sox were crowned World Series champions in 2013, beating the St. Louis Cardinals in 6 games in the Fall Classic. The Sox were coming off a season in which they came in last place, winning only 69 games. A big trade sent Josh Beckett, Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford to the Dodgers, freeing up space to sign guys that ended up being key pieces in the postseason run – Mike Napoli, Stephen Drew, and Shane Victorino. The Red Sox are favorites to win the division in 2014, but Vegas thinks it’s the Tigers that are the best team in the American League.

Off-season transactions:

11/22 – Traded for RHP Burke Badenhop

12/4 – Signed C A.J. Pierzynski

12/12 – Re-signed 1B Mike Napoli

1/22 – Signed OF Grady Sizemore

2/22 – Signed LHP Chris Capuano

(The Red Sox did not re-sign Jacoby Ellsbury, Stephen Drew or Jarrod Saltalamachhia and Ryan Dempster will not play this season)

Losing Jacoby Ellsbury, an all-star centerfielder that has been with the club since 2007, is tough. Losing him to the Yankees is even tougher. GM Ben Cherington made a tough decision to not fork over the money, instead opting to sign Grady Sizemore to compete with Jackie Bradley Jr. for the starting CF spot. Xander Bogaerts will take over full time at shortstop after impressing last season, while Will Middlebrooks will get another chance to get the 3B job.  The Red Sox will get Jake Peavy for a full season and if Lackey and Lester can stay healthy, this will be one of the best pitching staffs in baseball.

Projected 2014 Lineup:

  • A.J. Pierzynski, C
  • Mike Napoli, 1B
  • Dustin Pedroia, 2B
  • Will Middlebrooks, 3B
  • Xander Bogaerts, SS
  • Shane Victorino, RF
  • Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
  • Daniel Nava, LF
  • David Ortiz, DH

Rotation:

  1. Jon Lester
  2. John Lackey
  3. Jake Peavy
  4. Clay Buccholz
  5. Felix Doubront

Closer: Koji Uehara

The Red Sox will win 90+ games in 2014, but will the Yankees or Blue Jays rebound to content for the division crown? The Orioles also got better in the offseason, and the Rays are always in contention. While I’d be willing to wager on a spot in the new five-team AL playoffs, the division title is wide open with all five teams in contention.