NEW YORK (AP) -- It's fitting that baseball keeps naming new ballparks after banks -- fans need cash machines before they sing "Take Me Out To The Ball Game" this spring.
Average ticket price increased nearly 13 percent to $18.99 this year, and the Boston Red Sox have the highest average at $36.08 -- more than $7 above any other team.
Eight teams increased their average price by more than 20 percent, according to the Team Marketing Report's annual survey, which was released Thursday.
Pittsburgh, whose new PNC Park replaces Three Rivers Stadium, had the largest rise at 82 percent, from $11.80 to $21.48. The Pirates' new stadium follows a trend set when Arizona's Bank One Ballpark opened in 1998.
Milwaukee, which moves from County Stadium to Miller Park, increased its average 55 percent, from $11.72 to $18.12. Cincinnati was next with a 43.4 percent hike to $15.40, followed by Tampa Bay with a 42.6 percent increase, to $18.41.
Baseball's average ticket price has more than doubled in a decade, increasing 120 percent from 1991, when it was $8.64. In the same time period, the Consumer Price Index has increased 30.4 percent, according the U.S. Labor Department.
The average salary of players, $851,492 in 1991, has more than doubled in the same time period and is expected to be more than $2.2 million when the season opens Sunday.
"Players have absolutely nothing to do with ticket prices," union head Donald Fehr said. "We had nothing to do with the recent decision to charge for Web broadcasts. These are management decisions, which management makes based on what each club or central baseball determines is the economic condition of the country and each market."
In comparison, the average NFL ticket price was $48.97 last year. It's $51.02 in the NBA and $47.69 in the NHL.
"At a time when increased industry costs have resulted in an increase in ticket prices, major league baseball is pleased to note that our ticket prices remain by far the best value among the major professional sports leagues, and most forms of entertainment," commissioner Bud Selig said.
Boston's average price at Fenway Park rose 27.4 percent and leads the major leagues for the fourth straight year. The ballpark, which holds 33,991, is the smallest in the major leagues.
The Yankees are second at $28.90, an 11.4 percent rise, followed by the New York Mets at $26.53, Detroit at $23.90, San Francisco at $23.38 and Seattle at $22.87.
Minnesota has the lowest average price at $9.55. Montreal, which at $9.70 in U.S. dollars has the second lowest average price, was among three teams to lower their averages, dropping the cost 5.7 percent.
Detroit lowered its average by 3.7 percent, and Seattle dropped 2.4 percent. Houston and Los Angeles left prices unchanged.
On the Net: http://teammarketing.com
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