My local area AM talk radio station has a new advert up of its site this morning: Special Ticket Offer for ‘Alabama Day’ at Turner Field – for Saturday, June 29th. “Save up to 50% on tickets!”
Well, right off the bat, that declaration is apparently a lie… as I click through the ad, it seems that the best I can do is a 33% savings… for two Upper Box (nose bleed section) seats. If I – being from way out of town – am going to go to any game, I’m gonna at least get seats that make it a bit more worth my effort and expense. From the Upper Box sections, I have it on good understanding that there is a game going on below, but it’s difficult to verify this as I’m having to dodge the Delta Jets going by on their way to Hartsfield-Jackson Airport.
Um, not really.
Section 222 does indeed have a precious few seats remaining for the DBacks afternoon game. I like this side of the stadium for afternoon games since I will neither melt in the heat, nor be sunburned the next day. Okay: how much? $35.00 per ticket… plus $5.25 for “fees”?? $40.25 each. That’s $80.50 for two… quite a bit above the alleged $70.
Well, how does that compared to other games?… like tomorrow night vs. the Mets? Through the atlantabraves.com website, those identical seats cost $40.00 plus $6.25 in “fees”: $46.25
Well, now wait a second… how about that ‘savings’ thing? That’s only 13% – not the claimed 27% for the Terrace Reserved seats… and nowhere near the “up to 50%” teaser. Okay, the team has instituted a flexible pricing policy, so all games are not alike. A check of non-discounted tickets in Section 222 for that Saturday game shows me a price of $44 + $6.25 = $50.25 per ticket. That now means that the discount $50.25 down to $40.25 is $10, or 19.9%. Slightly better, on a percentage basis, but still not the claimed discount rate.
It certainly doesn’t encourage me to buy tickets from these guys when I’m being lied to… at least twice… in the process.
But all of this got me to thinking about the actual costs of going to a Braves game. And I’m going to identify myself as a “typical middle-aged, middle-class fan who lives out of the Atlanta area.” So let’s go through the exercise of ‘costing’ a weekend visit to Turner Field.
Let’s do the numbers.
Travel: 240 miles each way. Figure 4 hours each way plus 4 hours on site. 12 hours minimum.
Gas: 10 gallons each way… 20 total. Price @$3.30/gal: $66.00, subject to daily fluctuations.
Game Tickets: for 2 – @$40.25 discounted, @$50.25 regular price: $80.50/$100.50
If the whole family goes – there are five of us in total: $201.25 or $251.25
Parking: $15.00. This actually ends up looking to be the cheap part!
Hotel: If there’s an evening game involved, then this is almost required. In the case of the June 29 DBacks game, it’s a 4:05 start, so this could be done without a hotel, albeit with a very long day. I will price it for all combinations below. For traffic considerations, I stay outside the racetrack (I-285), around Marietta. Rates vary wildly… $42 to $140. I also tend to be “practically frugal” – I’ll select something in the $80 range if the whole family is going… because I then need two rooms. If it’s only my wife and myself, then I’ll “splurge” for $105 (confiscatory tourist taxes factored in for both).
Food: Because the travel is a bit odd, this is tougher to specify.
> Bringing your own drinks: you can bring precious little into the stadium with you… basically a large water bottle per person and that’s it. So do that: $2 each/$4 for two/$10 for five.
> For a 1pm game, we need to get lunch at the stadium. This is ugly. I’ve done it twice recently… $90 once; $105 the next time (for all 5). It was worse for a hot day game because of all the water we had to buy despite bringing the allowed bottles. For just 2, then you’ve still got to figure on about $60. Last year I bought an entire pizza for $33 for the family. It wasn’t nearly enough…. oh, and then there’s dinner on the way back. We’re all tired, so drive-thru works: $15 for 2; $30 for 5.
> For a 4pm game, we need to get lunch on the road: $15 for 2, $25 for 5. Still have to assume at least extra drinks: $15 for 2, $35 for 5. The dinner thing on the way back still holds: $15/2, $30/5.
> For a 7pm game, we need to get dinner early: roughly the same as lunch. However, breakfast the next day would be required as well… $20 for 2; $40 for 5 (yes, it really works this way). The extra drinks calculation still holds, though: $15 for 2, $35 for 5.
Note that you can go to Subway or some place like that and get sandwiches to bring into the stadium – must be contained in plastic bags – to save money. I’ll let you make the adjustment in costs if you opt to do something like this.
Souvenirs: forget it. Nothing. Can’t do it. They’ve overpriced anyway.
> 1pm game. $66 + $100.50 + $15 + $4 + $60 + $15 = $260.50
> 4pm game. $66 + $100.50 + $15 + $4 + $15 + $15 + $15 = $230.50
> 7pm game. $66 + $100.50 + $15 + $4 + $15 + $15 + $105 + $20 = $440.50
For the whole family of five:
> 1pm game. $66 + $251.25 + $15 + $10 + $105 + $30 = $477.25
> 4pm game. $66 + $251.25 + $15 + $10 + $35 + $30 + $30 = $437.25
> 7pm game. $66 + $251.25 + $15 + $10 + $30 + $35 + $80 + $80 + $40 = $607.25
Oh, and that ticket discount? Saves $10 per ticket. Doesn’t exactly push me over the top. But hey, thanks for trying.
Kinda makes the MLB Extra Innings package look a lot better… oh, snap: I’m blacked out of Braves games in this area. Never mind.