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01 September 2005

Measuring a stadium's value

SI.com just released their baseball Fan Value Index, which attempts to quantify the experience at each of the thirty MLB ballparks based on prices, amenities, and "intangibles" such as neighborhood and atmosphere.

McAfee Coliseum landed right in the middle, at #15 between Yankee Stadium and U.S. Cellular Field. In giving the Coliseum a score of 40 out of 70 possible points, reviewer James Black hit the nail right on the head in one of his closing comments:
"Despite regularly producing playoff teams since the 1970s, the A's play in one of the majors' least interesting ballparks, while across the Bay the Giants' inconsistent play (at best) is rewarded with a veritable Taj Mahal."
Surprisingly, that very Taj Mahal across the bay placed 24th on the list, scoring a total of 37. The low scores came largely from inflated prices cited from Team Marketing Report's Fan Cost Index, with which I have to take some issue. It basically assumes that a family will buy the same food and souvenirs at every game, which is less likely to happen the more one goes. I can't comment on souvenirs since I don't buy them, but food prices are only slightly higher at SBC versus those at the Coliseum. A microbrew usually costs a quarter more in SF, while a hot dog is 25-50 cents more. SBC, through its pouring rights deal with Coke, has one pretty unique item not found in other ballparks: Coke vending machines. When the park opened in 2000, those 1.5 L bottles cost only $1. They've steadily gone up since then and are no longer a great deal at $3 (IIRC), but they more than did the job since they didn't have long lines and the sodas were always cold. It's an idea that should be considered for a new A's ballpark, since the overhead compared to using vendors is relatively low. No, I am not arguing for the return of the Automat, but for something as simple as a drink, there are obviously more efficient ways of selling it, and vending machines make sense.

Incidentally, the top-ranked venue this year was Miller Park, which like the Coliseum has lots of parking and plenty of walk-up tickets available. Limited public transit options knocked it down a bit, but the great tailgating experience and the amenities available in the new ballpark boosted its score. PNC Park placed second, Coors Field third, and Angels Stadium fourth (thanks to Arte Moreno's promise of reasonably-priced concessions and tickets).

1 comments:

The Cactus Leaguer said...

That has got to be the worst "rate the stadiums" piece I have ever read. As an example - I have seen games at Jacobs Field and the BOB within the past couple of months, and Jacobs blew away the BOB in every category that they listed. And yet SI ranked Phoenix higher.