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Baseball still cheaper than NFL, NBA

Baseball's average ticket price increased by nearly
4 percent this year, and the Boston Red Sox charge the most for the
seventh straight season.

The average price of a major league ticket is $19.82, the
Chicago-based Team Marketing Report said Monday, a day before the
major league season opener. That's up 3.9 percent from last year's
revised average of $19.08.

Among the major sports, the NFL has the highest average ticket
price of $50.02, according to TMR, followed by the NBA at $43.65
and the NHL at $41.56.

Boston, which plays in the smallest ballpark in the major
leagues, has the highest baseball average at $40.77. That
translates to an average 5.7 percent increase at Fenway Park, which
holds about 34,000. About 200 seats are being added on the
right-field roof, one year after seats were built atop the Green
Monster in left.

The Chicago Cubs were second at $28.45, followed by Philadelphia
at $26.08 and the New York Yankees at $24.86.

But while TMR said the Yankees had no change in their prices
from last year, the team itself said in December that 31,00 seats
had price increases and about 24,700 will remain the same. New York
said last week that it already had sold 2.8 million tickets at an
average of $41.25 _ the remaining unsold seats are primarily in the
upper deck at lower prices.

Becky Vallett, executive editor for the publication, said the survey was based on figures provided by teams.

Philadelphia and San Diego, which open new ballparks, had the
steepest increases. With the move to Citizens Bank Park from
Veterans Stadium, the Phillies' average increased 51.3 percent. The
Padres are going from Qualcomm Stadium to PETCO Park and have
increased their average 31.9 percent to $21.41.

Both ballparks are smaller than the previous homes of the teams,
meaning there are fewer cheap seats, which results in a higher
average.

The Cubs, Houston, Baltimore, Tampa Bay, Arizona, Minnesota and
Kansas City also increased prices by 10 percent or more.

Montreal has the lowest average at $10.82 U.S., a figure that
includes only Olympic Stadium, not San Juan's Hiram Bithorn
Stadium, where the Expos are scheduled to play 22 home games for
the second straight season. Milwaukee is just above that at
$10.88.h

Nine teams had a lower average price this year, led by
Pittsburgh, which dropped its average 12.6 percent to $17.08.
Florida did not increase prices, unusual for World Series winners,
who have had an average rise of 8 percent in seasons following
titles.