The $32 off-night bargain becomes the nearly $1,000 seat when your team brings the World Series to town. But is all the griping about the cost of a ticket to Dodgertown during the World Series really justified?
If you compare the price of the cheapest single-game World Series ticket — Game 2 is at 5:09 p.m. — to the same for the last Super Bowl, you could be looking at a qualified bargain. The least expensive ticket for yesterday's Game 1 at Dodger Stadium was $901.98, and it was for standing room in the upper deck, according to Michael Colangelo, assistant director of the USC Sports Business Institute.
The lowest listed price for the next Super Bowl ticket is reported to be $3,705, but NFL season-ticket holders can enter a lottery for a chance to purchase seats for $800 to $2,750. Colangelo says the lowest price for the last Super Bowl before game time was "around." $2,700. That's nearly three times the cost of a single-game World Series ticket. "I was actually in Houston for the game and saw tickets for as low as $2,100 with fees Wednesday before the game," he said via email.
But the USC professor says this is, in many ways, a matter of apples and oranges. While many baseball fans might consider a single trip to the World Series a game of a lifetime, Colangelo notes, for example, that "standing-room tickets rarely if ever exist for Super Bowls. Everyone is assigned a seat. It's different for MLB World Series games with standing-room seats."
And with this World Series you'll get at least two chances to see your home team play on home turf.
"There are technically fewer tickets to the Super Bowl than there are to a World Series game," Colangelo said. "Dodger Stadium has 56,000 capacity. There will be at least two games played there. [Capacity is] 41,600-plus for Minute Maid Park in Houston. There will be at least two games played there. That's 195,200 tickets for a World Series Game. NRG Stadium has a capacity of 72,200. Those are the only seats available for a Super Bowl. It's a supply-demand issue."
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And, in the Dodgers-Astros saga, Justin Timberlake isn't performing during the seventh inning stretch. The Super Bowl is a show. A World Series matchup is mostly a game. The Super Bowl appeals to a wider base, too, the professor argues: "The Super Bowl is an experience any fan can go to. A Yankees fan might not want to attend a World Series game as much as an NFL fan without their team involved. The Super Bowl is a marquee event. It's more about the spectacle than a World Series."
Of course, value is in the eye of the beholder. Forbes Dodgers beat writer and former L.A. Weekly contributor Howard Cole, founding director of the Internet Baseball Writers Association of America (IBWAA), says you get more for your dollar with a global championship game on the diamond.
"The World Series is so vastly superior to the Super Bowl, it's laughable," he said via email. "The Super Bowl is a contrived event played on a neutral site in front of a crowd that is 90 percent VIPs. 'World Series' is the most glorious phrase in the English language, with 'I love you' being a distant second."
Sounds like a bargain. Or, as Colangelo put it, the value of a ticket is "what people are willing to pay for it."