Thursday, December 26, 2019

Can a Family of Four Enjoy a Major Sporting Event in Orange County/Los Angeles for $100 for Tickets, Food, and Parking?

My favorite games are Saturday nights at Anaheim Stadium, where Angels games are followed by fireworks. We sit up on the top deck usually, and tickets are about $50 bucks for the whole family, sometimes less. (Once in a while we'll get field level, but my wife likes sitting up top, as she's not craning her neck every which way for foul balls and what not.) I get hot dogs, peanuts, and beer --- then I hand my wallet over to the family for the rest of the night, lol.

In any case, a great piece, at the Los Angeles Times, "Good luck getting a family of four into a professional sport for $100 — not in good seats, but any seats":

A lifetime of sports fandom often starts with that first vision of the towering stadium before you, that first peek at the vibrant green grass of a ballpark, that first chance to see star players up close on the court and even closer on a gigantic video screen, that first moment to stand and scream for your team.

“We do remember that first ballgame our parents, our friend, our Scout troop might have taken us to,” said Andy Dolich, who has run marketing operations for teams in all five major North American sports. “It’s one of those indelible memories for tens of millions of people.”

That experience has become all but unaffordable for the typical family in the Los Angeles area.

As teams focus on maximizing revenue from the current generation of fans, they risk losing a future generation of fans, particularly at a time when kids limited to experiencing games on a screen might well prefer Fortnite to ESPN.

The arms race to turn athletic venues into opulent cash machines — with gourmet dining, finely appointed luxury suites, VIP seats within sweating distance of the action, and video boards suited for Hollywood premieres — has all but left the common fan behind. Good luck getting a family of four into a game for $100 — not in good seats, mind you, but in any seats.

Dolich is a former chief operating officer of the San Francisco 49ers and Golden State Warriors and a former president of business operations for the Memphis Grizzlies. He now runs a sports consultant firm, and he is worried for an industry in which kids are increasingly priced out.

“You’re not yelling. You’re not screaming. You’re just not going,” Dolich said. “That, I think, is the most pernicious part of it.”

The median income for a family of four in Los Angeles County is $78,673, according to the USC Price Center for Social Innovation. After accounting for the costs of housing, child care, health care, food, transportation and taxes, that family would be left with $3,413 in discretionary income for the year, $284 per month.

Elly Schoen, data and project manager at the Price Center, said it would be “reasonable” to consider $100 as a price point for a family day at a sporting event.

“You’re thinking about going out to one or two games a year,” Schoen said, “and you’re thinking about spending about half your monthly discretionary income on that kind of family outing.”

The Times asked the 11 major professional teams that call Los Angeles and Orange County home whether a family of four could attend a weekend game for $100 — tickets, parking, and something to eat and drink. When prices exceeded that amount, The Times asked teams what the most affordable option for a family might be.

The Angels are the only team that guarantees any family can get to a weekend game for that amount. The team offers a $44 family pack that includes four field-level tickets, four hot dogs, and four soft drinks. Parking at Angel Stadium is $10.

The Sparks offer a $100 family pack that includes tickets, food and autograph vouchers, with parking for an additional $10. The Galaxy offer a family deal for $128, including a $10 concession credit and souvenirs but not food or parking.

The Ducks have a weekend family pack at $120, not including parking. The Kings have a family pack at $220, which includes family activities before Saturday games and a skating session at the team’s training facility.

LAFC offers 200 first-come, first-served tickets at $22 each, with discounted food and drinks in that section.

The Clippers sell $10 tickets at Staples Center on game day — first come, first served, with 50 to 200 tickets available for each game. They also provide the 120,000 participants in their Jr. Clippers youth basketball program with a free ticket to one game each season; parents pay for their game tickets.

The Lakers suggested the option of their minor league affiliate, the South Bay Lakers. The team plays at the Lakers’ team headquarters in El Segundo, where parking is free, and a $125 family pack includes $40 in food and beverage credit.

The Chargers and Rams both noted that training camp is free, often with interactive activities designed for families. The lowest single-game price this season is $35 for the Rams and $70 for the Chargers, although the Chargers anticipate a lower price when they move into the larger Sofi Stadium next season.

The Dodgers declined requests to participate in the survey. According to the initial 2020 single-game prices posted on the team website last month, the Dodgers are selling tickets for as low as $10 to the two midweek Freeway Series exhibition games. The Dodgers are selling $21 tickets for only one weekend game next season; the minimum price for all others is $30...
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