Baseball, one of America's most beloved sports, has a significant cost associated with it. One of the key elements of this sport is the baseball itself. But have you ever wondered how much a Major League Baseball (MLB) baseball costs? Let's delve into the details.
The Production Cost
The production cost of an MLB baseball is around $7. This price includes the raw materials and labor involved in creating each ball. Rawlings, the exclusive manufacturer of official MLB baseballs, begins the process by producing the cork center of the ball in a rubber factory in Alabama. This core is then shipped to Costa Rica, where it is machine-wrapped with 316 yards of yarn, covered with cowhide, and stitched together by hand. Each baseball has precisely 108 double stitches or a total of 216 red stitches at the seams.
While the production cost is $7, the retail price of an MLB baseball is significantly higher. Retail and online stores sell these baseballs at prices ranging from $10 to $25, with an average retail price of around $15. The price can vary depending on factors such as brand, quality, authenticity, and limited edition releases.
Game-used MLB-authenticated baseballs are a different story altogether. These baseballs, which have been used in professional games, can go for $100 or more, making them highly sought-after collectibles. They come with a certificate of authenticity, adding to their value.
The Annual MLB Budget for Baseballs
The MLB spends a considerable amount on baseballs each year. With the postseason potentially doubling the use of balls and considering extra-inning games and practice balls, it's estimated that the MLB uses around 900,000 baseballs annually. This puts the annual MLB budget for baseballs alone in the $10 million range.
The Cost of Baseballs for MLB Teams
For MLB teams, the cost per baseball is around $7. On average, about nine dozen baseballs are used per game. With 2,430 total MLB games per regular season, that's approximately 262,440 baseballs used per MLB season, costing around $1.8 million!