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Turns out, being a Rays fan is one of the best deals in baseball

How much does it cost to be a Rays fan?

World Series: Philadelphia Phillies v Tampa Bay Rays, Game 1 Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Being a fan of a major league team can get expensive. There’s the cost of going to games, of paying for your subscription (if you’re like me and don’t even live in the same country as the Rays). Buying a new jersey, getting season tickets, all of it adds up.

But how does being a Rays fan compare to the rest of the MLB?

No, this isn’t a segue into a joke about empty stadium seats. As it turns out, Rays fans are among the luckiest in baseball when it comes to the value of going to games.

Recently the Berkeley School of Information did an in depth study, looking at the costs associated with being a sports fan, and which teams were the best deal. They also managed to find a metric for determining how “fun” a live stadium experience was by team, and ranking all the MLB franchises as a result.

All of the data and graphs below come from datascience@Berkeley, the online Master of Information and Data Science program from UC Berkeley.

First up, the team looked at the costs of going to a game, and encompassed all the main costs, like ticket, parking, and basic snacks. You can see their metric details below to better understand the infograph.

Courtesy of datascience@Berkeley

Using those pay-points, Berkeley determined that the Rays are the best deal in the MLB ranking 30th in cost. A note about the graphic below, the listing seems to indicate that parking is free, which it is not (DRB staffers have paid between $5 and $20 to park at games this year, so take their final numbers with a grain of salt). Food, however, can be brought in from outside the stadium, so perhaps that offsets some costs as well.

Courtesy of datascience@Berkeley

How does this low cost factor when it comes to how good of a deal it is to go to a Rays game? It’s one thing to have cheap tickets and low-cost hot dogs, but the ease on the wallet doesn’t necessarily equate to being worthwhile...

For Rays fans, though, it actually does.

The study looked at the correlation between overall expense, and how many games the team won over a five-year period, because everyone knows it’s more enjoyable to watch their team win.

The Rays ranked fifth out of 30 teams in terms of how good of a deal it is to go to a game.

Courtesy of datascience@Berkeley

The last thing the Berkeley team did was find a metric to determine which teams were the most fun to attend live games with. The way they did this was actually very interesting, in that they used the cost of beer and tickets, but also the fullness of the stadium (which contributes to excitement and ambiance).

Here’s how that infographic lays it out:

Courtesy of datascience@Berkeley

I assumed, going into this, that the Rays low attendance numbers would hurt them a lot here, but surprisingly they aren’t last, likely thanks to keeping their general costs quite low. The team ranks 24th overall, ahead of some surprising names like the Seattle Mariners. The St Louis Cardinals rank first place overall by “Fun.”

Courtesy of datascience@Berkeley

These metrics get subjective, but the ultimate takeaway here is that going to a Rays game is a great deal for the dollar. Not only are tickets inexpensive, but the team manages to show fans a good time and win a lot of games along the way.

Seeing a Rays game is money well spent. But we already knew that.