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Baseball stadiums are bustling with fans on game days. In 2019, Major League Baseball games had an average attendance of 28,204 fans. If you’ve attended a baseball game recently, you probably noticed the steep price for classic ballpark food like a hot dog, soda, or beer. If you’ve ever wondered how much money is made on game days, you’re in the right place.
Once the final out is made and fans are heading home, just how much money does the baseball stadium make? Total revenue from tickets, food, and merchandise comes to an average of $4,033,068.10 per game among Major League Baseball stadiums. Here is a breakdown of how we got to the average revenue baseball stadiums make per game:
|Average fans per MLB game:||28,204|
|Average ticket price:||$32.99|
|Average ticket revenue per game:||= $930,449.96|
|Average food and merchandise revenue per game:||= $3,102,618.14|
|Total of average revenue from tickets, food, and merchandise per game:||= $4,033,068.10|
The millions of dollars baseball stadiums bring in per game winds up being more than $325 million after a full season of 81 home games. Because this is an average of all 30 teams in Major League Baseball, some stadiums make much more than $4 million per game and some make less. We’ll explain what influences the revenue a baseball stadium makes, which venues make more, and which make less.
Why Do Different Baseball Stadiums Make Different Revenues?
The underlying reason revenues vary from stadium to stadium is because of the teams that play there. Fanbases vary from team to team, with some drawing large, sold-out crowds while others struggle to fill up half the stadium. Additionally, the good teams that win many games generally attract more fans to the stadium than the losing teams do.
The market size the stadium is located in also contributes to the money it makes. Stadiums in densely populated areas, usually cities, allow for a strong local fanbase. Additionally, large metropolitan areas tend to have reliable public transportation. This makes games accessible for fans who live beyond walking distance or those without cars.
On the other end of the spectrum are smaller market teams. These tend to be stadiums in more rural communities because smaller populations leave fewer potential fans. These towns are often a great distance away from a baseball stadium and lack the public transportation systems that bigger cities have. This smaller market size serves as a barrier to attending baseball games at the stadium.
One thing that both market sizes have in common is that it impacts the way the team operates. Because big market teams tend to have higher revenues, they are more willing to sign popular, higher-priced players. This decision to spend more money on team payroll ends up benefiting the team in the long run because it excites fans and draws them into the ballpark to see a game. As you can imagine, smaller market teams with lower revenues tend to spend less on players. If the team is playing poorly, the fan base loses hope and doesn’t bother to attend games at the stadium.
One last factor that contributes to how much money a baseball stadium makes is the prices it sets for tickets, food, and merchandise. There isn’t a rule that says all hot dogs at baseball games must cost a certain amount. At Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., for example, one hot dog costs $7. About 40 miles away in Baltimore, MD, one hot dog at Camden Yards costs $1.50.
Prices vary, but ballpark food is generally overpriced. The average cost for a stadium hot dog is $4.95. In addition to food, ticket and merchandise prices can also differ from stadium to stadium.
The Baseball Stadium That Makes the Most Money on Game Days
Yankee Stadium is home to the New York Yankees and is the stadium with the highest game-day revenue. Fans flock to the ballpark in record numbers — the average attendance at Yankee Stadium is 40,795. Every home game, $8,432,098.77 is made on tickets, food, and merchandise. Over the span of one season, Yankee Stadium reaps $683,000,000. How does it all break down? Take a look:
- Average ticket price at Yankee Stadium: $86.85
- Price of a hot dog at Yankee Stadium: $3
- Price of a beer at Yankee Stadium: $6
Yankee Stadium benefits from its location in Bronx, NY. Because so many people attend Yankees games, more money is made. As you might expect, teams that make more money are more likely to attract popular players with high valued contracts, and, generally, teams that sign the best players tend to win more games than the teams that pinch pennies.
The Yankees, for example, had the highest team payroll and ended up first place in their division with 103 wins. Fans attend games when they’re excited about seeing their favorite players and watch their team win. So, the more fans that head to the ballpark directly correlates to more money being made.
The Baseball Stadium That Makes the Least Money on Game Days
Marlins Park, home of the Miami Marlins, makes the least amount of money on game days. Even though Miami is a bustling city, Marlins Park is situated in the neighborhood of Little Havana. A few miles away from downtown Miami, Marlins Park does not have viable public transportation options for sporting events.
This is part of why the Marlins don’t draw much of a crowd. An average of 10,016 fans attend each game. Every home game, Marlins Park makes $2,740,740.74 on tickets, food, and merchandise. Over the span of one season, the ballpark reaps $222,000,000. How does it all break down? Take a look:
- Average ticket price at Marlins Park: $24.65
- Price of a hot dog at Marlins Park: $3
- Price of a beer at Marlins Park: $5
Besides being in an inconvenient location, Marlins Park struggles to make money because many fans don’t want to attend games when the team is performing poorly. Marlins Park has the lowest average attendance in all of baseball by a wide margin —4,500 fewer fans than the next-lowest team.
Looking back at how the Marlins played in 2019, it’s understandable that they struggled to attract fans. They had a dismal record, losing 105 games. They also didn’t spend money to sign popular players, so fans weren’t incentivized to show up at the stadium.
Are there any other ways that stadiums and teams make money during games?
Yes. About 40% of a team’s total revenue comes from stadium purchases and game day tickets, so teams make even more money in other ways. Advertisements inside the stadium on scoreboards or outfield walls offer more opportunities to raise money, as well as sponsorship programs like stadium naming rights.
What are the profits from stadium revenue after expenses are paid for?
Just like different stadiums bring in different amounts of money, they all have separate expenses. According to Forbes, the New York Yankees stadium revenue after expenses is $470 million. The Miami Marlins stadium revenue after expenses is $47 million, per Forbes.
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