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Courtesy of MarketWatch:
SeatGeek and ESPN ran the numbers so you know where to sit the next time you go to a game.
Bring your baseball glove with you if you’re sitting in one of these sections.
Modern Major League Baseball (MLB) is built on data. In particular, the study and measurement of in-game baseball statistics, or Sabermetrics, can tell coaches such things as where a particular player is likely to hit a ball. Can it also show fans where a ball is likely to land?
A study by SeatGeek — in collaboration with ESPN — does just that: it combines seat locations with where home run balls land to determine where fans should sit if they want to catch a home run ball. To determine if a home run was “catchable,” SeatGeek overlaid data from ESPN’s Home Run Tracker with their custom seating charts to figure out an approximate location of where each ball landed. Stadiums that have spots where fans are not sitting weren’t included in the catchable total. SeatGeak, which sells tickets to sports and entertainment venues, then created a measure to determine what sections will give you the best chances of catching a ball for the lowest average ticket price.
SeatGeek claims they created the analysis so fans could get the most bang for their buck. “The best souvenir you can get at a baseball game is a free one — a home run ball…We wanted to give fans a way to increase their odds of catching a homer at any ballpark across the majors,” said Chris Leyden, a content analyst for SeatGeek.
Based on their findings, the most affordable, home run-ridden section in the entire MLB is section 130 at the Minnesota Twins’ Target Field. The average price in 2016 was $24 and there were a total of 24 catchable home runs into the section throughout the season. If money isn’t an issue, Field Level 105 at Yankee Stadium saw the most catchable home runs (32) throughout the 2016 season and cost $86 on average.
Unfortunately, a study by The Wall Street Journal found that even if you have an opportunity to catch a ball, you might make an error: It found that roughly 30% of catchable balls were dropped.
It’s important to note that just because a section saw the most home runs one season doesn’t necessarily mean that trend will continue the next. However, if you look at overall home runs, you can get a better sense of which stadiums/fields have the most overall opportunities.
Spectators at a New York Yankees game had the most chances, with an estimated 188 home run balls that could have been caught throughout 2016. If you’re a Miami Marlins fan and caught a home run ball you are truly rare — SeatGeek estimated only 75 catchable home runs during last season.
For a full breakdown by stadium and section check out SeatGeeks’ Home Run Value Guide.