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Sports in the US: Year-round madness

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Even these relatively cheap alternatives for family getaways are still costly, though: The Team Marketing Report, a sports research firm, found that the average cost for a family outing to a Major League Baseball game last season (which includes four tickets, parking, and the inevitable hot dogs and hats) was $196.89. In New England, the cost of being a fan is even higher: At Fenway Park, those accouterments totaled $326.45. The only place more expensive to catch a game is the new $1.3 billion Yankee Stadium, where family fun consumed $410.88.

"If you're going to spend your money somewhere to be entertained, chances are you're more apt to sit in a ballpark for a game than to take a flight to Cancún," Mr. Johnson says.

That rationale probably extends to other "necessities" as well. "I'm sure the sports TV cable package is the last thing that's being canceled by somebody that's unemployed," Johnson adds. "You would probably be maintaining your health insurance, maybe your car payment, but you're certainly not going to lose your sports package on cable."

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