Cubs pass Red Sox in ticket prices

The Chicago Cubs might not compete for a World Series this year, but they will lead baseball in one category: ticket prices.

The Cubs jumped over the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees for the highest non-premium average ticket in Team Marketing Report's 2010 Fan Cost Index.

The Cubs' average ticket went up 10.1 percent to $52.56 this season. The team raised prices on some seats, and was hit with a 1 percent increase in the amusement tax.

But the team also put more games in its platinum level. There are 26 games in platinum this season and 30 in gold. Last year there were 14 games classified as platinum and 34 as gold. These increases were announced in December.

One important caveat in the numbers is premium ticketing. The Cubs' have the smallest percentage of tickets (not including luxury suites or the team's new PNC Club or Batter's Eye club) classified as "premium" at just below 1 percent.

Team Marketing Report's survey separates "premium" and "general" tickets into different categories. The Cubs' premium ticket averages out at $256.98.

By comparison, the New York Mets classify 37 percent of their tickets as premium, the Red Sox 21 percent and the Yankees 16 percent.

The Chicago White Sox's average ticket is nearly $14 cheaper, but it is still the fourth-highest in baseball at $38.65, after a 4.3 percent increase. They only classify 6 percent of their tickets as premium. The White Sox's premium average is $94.24.

Boston is still the most expensive park to take a family of four, using Team Marketing Report's formula, at $334.78. The Cubs are second at $329.74. The figure includes two adult tickets at the average price, two child tickets at the average if available, two small draft beers, four small soft drinks, four hot dogs, parking, two programs and two adult caps.

Overall, the average cost of a non-premium ticket for a major league game is up 1.5 percent to $26.74, the Team Marketing Report said Wednesday in its annual survey. The rise is the smallest since TMR started tracking baseball tickets in 1991.

The NFL's average last season was $74.99. In seasons still underway, the NBA is averaging $48.90 and the NHL $51.27, TMR said.

Many teams mostly held off on increases following a drop of 6.7 percent in Major League Baseball's average attendance last season, from 32,528 to 30,350.

The Arizona Diamondbacks have the lowest average at $14.31. The New York Mets cut their average 12.9 percent to $32.22 following a dreadful first season at Citi Field, San Diego fell 15.4 percent to $15.15 and Detroit dropped 14.2 percent to $23.48.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.