For those who regularly attend Cubs games, it will not come as a surprise to learn that Cubs fans shell out more cash on average than fans of any other team in baseball.
In a recent study at UC Berkeley, a group tried to quantify certain cost elements associated with baseball fandom. They looked at everything from the cost of tickets, concessions, parking, and compared the fullness of the stadium, to the overall amount of games won over five years, and were able to create a large data set that determined not only which teams were the most expensive to cheer for, but also who got the best deal, and which fans were having the most fun for their money.
All of the below data comes courtesy of datascience@Berkeley, the online master in data science program from UC Berkeley.
The first thing they looked at was how much fans were spending, on average, for each game. This took into consideration several elements, which you can see below.
No surprise here, but the Cubs came in at number one, the most expensive single-game cost in the majors.
I grant you, that parking expense is pretty easily avoidable if you live in the city and can take the L or bike to the park, but not everyone has that luxury.
Next, the Berkeley team looked at those overall costs for all the teams, and also averaged out how often the team won games over the last five years, to determine how good of a deal it was for fans to go to the games.
Here’s where that hefty price tag really bites the Cubs, as they rank 21st of 30 teams as far as the quality of the deal. You can see from the graph that their wins aren’t the issue here, so much as the steep dollars-per-game cost. Ouch.
The last thing the data tried to determine might have been the hardest one to quantify, and that was figuring out which teams fans had the most fun. To do this, they looked at the above cost data, as well as the general fullness of the stadium on game day (nothing like a rowdy home crowd to make a game fun).
Here, the Cubs are looking really good. While their division rivals the St. Louis Cardinals come in at number one, the Cubs find themselves ensconced at number six, nothing to scoff at considering their company in the top 12.
And last but not least, the Berkeley crew determined how much it would cost a fan overall if they happened to watch all of the Chicago teams (they did different calculations depending if you were a Cubs or White Sox supporter). Chicago Cubs fans pay the second most overall for sports fans across the country, edged out only by New York “high end” fans who cheer for the Knicks, Giants, Rangers, and Yankees (side note: does New York really need all those teams?)
Chicago sports fans who cheer on the Bears, Blackhawks, Cubs, and Bulls can expense to spend at least $536.85 attending one game apiece each season.
The science might not think it’s a great deal to be a Cubs fan, but the balance works out in having more fun at games than 24 other teams. (And if we’re being biased, getting to watch them in one of the greatest stadiums of all time).
At the end of the day, you can work out all the numbers, but it’s hard to put a price tag on fandom.