Fast facts about the pro-game spectator's experience

Pigskin the priciest

Pro football charges the highest average ticket prices. On average, you'll also pay more for beverages, hot dogs, parking, programs, and caps. Baseball remains the least-expensive ticket, averaging just under $19. (See chart page 17.)

Who says inflation is under control?

Double-digit increases in ticket prices were most prevalent in baseball this year. Fourteen major league teams raised average ticket prices by 10 percent or more. The Pittsburgh Pirates raised ticket prices the most - up 82 percent. In return, fans had the opportunity to watch a last-place team finish with 100 losses.

Ten pro football teams ratcheted prices up more than 10 percent. The Denver Broncos lead the way, boosting average tickets by 67 percent.

Five hockey teams raised prices more than 10 percent: Dallas, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, and Washington. Only two basketball teams did so: Dallas, up 56 percent and Sacramento, up 12 percent.

Paying for new stadiums and player salaries are frequently cited for big price hikes.

And you thought the Monitor was expensive:

Football's Washington Redskins, Philadelphia Eagles, and hockey's New York Ranger's charge the most for a program - $10.

Freedom of information

Eight teams in the NHL - Pittsburgh, Minnesota, Anaheim, Vancouver, Tampa Bay, Nashville, Ottawa, and the New York Islanders - don't charge a cent for programs. In the NBA, Atlanta and Cleveland are the only other major professional sports teams that hand out free programs.

Want cheap hot dogs? Head north.

Hot dogs at sporting events generally range from $2.50 to $3. But the only place where you can find a hot dog for less than a buck is Canada, where favorable exchange rates pushed down wiener prices to 96 cents (in US dollars) at a Toronto Blue Jays baseball game. Oh, and pro football fans in Washington, Miami, and San Francisco might want to pass the Grey Poupon to cover their hot dogs, which cost an eye-popping $4 each.

You don't even get a car wash with that:

Two of the three places where parking is most expensive should not surprise you. Driving into New York City to watch the Knicks play hoops or the Rangers pass the puck costs $30. But pay the same amount to park in Denver? Broncos fans do. To see sports other than football in Colorado, you'll pay between $6 and $10.

Praying for sunshine

While football's Arizona Cardinals have the lowest average ticket price ($37.60) and cheapest parking ($3), it charges more for a cap than any other pro team. Expect to pay $21 to keep the glare out of your eyes. For a dollar less, you can buy a cap at home games featuring the Carolina Panthers, Los Angeles Dodgers, and New Jersey's Nets and Devils.

Again, the only place to find caps under $10 are up in Canada.

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