Cubs, Sox tickets among priciest

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Cubs continue to have one of the most expensive tickets in Major League Baseball, while the Chicago White Sox are gaining steam.

In the annual Fan Cost Index survey published by Team Marketing Report, the Cubs have the third-highest average ticket price at $46.90. The White Sox are fourth at $40.67.

The average season ticket in baseball costs $26.91, a 1.2 percent increase from last season, and the smallest increase in the survey's history.

The cost to take a family of four to a Cubs game, using the Fan Cost Index formula, is $305.60, and the White Sox is $258.68, the third- and fourth-highest totals in baseball.

The average Fan Cost Index number across baseball is $197.35, up 2 percent from last season.

The Red Sox are tops in ticket price ($53.38) and Fan Cost Index ($339.01), while the New York Yankees are right behind ($51.83 and $338.32).

The Fan Cost Index (FCI) shows the relative costs to take a family of four to a sporting event. The FCI is made up of four general non-premium tickets (using season ticket pricing), two beers, four soft drinks, four hot dogs, parking for one car, two programs or scorecards and two adult-sized hats.

In last season's survey, the Cubs overtook Boston for the top ticket at $52.56, but the Cubs -- in the second year of new ownership and management -- reclassified several thousand seats from general seating to premium, which is set off into a separate category. That lowered their average ticket price significantly. The Cubs also added a new pricing category -- marquee -- giving them five different tiers to price tickets.

By retroactively adjusting 2010 prices to show the changes, the Cubs' average ticket decreased by 1.3 percent in 2011.

The White Sox's average ticket increased by 5.2 percent from last year, or about $2 per ticket.

According to the USA Today payroll list, the White Sox have a higher Opening Day payroll than the Cubs -- $127,789,000 to $125,047,329.

The Cubs' average premium ticket is $103.47, which constitutes approximately 12 percent of Wrigley Field, not including luxury suites or clubs where season tickets aren't available. The White Sox's premium average is $99.77, but it only constitutes for 6 percent of season ticket capacity.

The main difference between the two teams' premium seating numbers in this survey is the White Sox provide added amenities, like all-inclusive food and drink packages, while the Cubs do not.

Across Major League Baseball, teams devote about 13 percent of their seating to premium ticketing, according to data provided by teams to Team Marketing Report.

Jon Greenberg is a columnist for ESPNChicago.com and has helped put together this survey for Team Marketing Report with information provided by teams since 2004.