7 Sports Teams and Venues That Pay You to Watch Games

NEW YORK ( MainStreet) -- Sports teams and facilities keep squeezing money out of fans for tickets, parking, concessions and new buildings. How much would fans pay to squeeze back?

The cost for a family of four to see a Major League Baseball game rose 2.5% from last season, to nearly $208. If that same family went to an National Basketball Association game this year, they paid 4.5% more than they did in 2010-11 and more than $300 for that privilege. The National Hockey League also bumped up costs by 5% to take $326 from that family for tickets, food, beer, souvenirs and parking. That's still a better deal than football families got last season, when they shelled out $427 to fill NFL stadiums.
Liberty Media owns the Atlanta Braves as well as the Starz and Encore television channels.

That's more than $1,200 for a family of sports fans to see just one game a year in each league. If they invested that amount into a sports team's stock instead, they'd at least have the board's ear when complaining about price hikes. At best, their investment would pay for itself if their shares perform and recoup some game spending every now and then.

There aren't many teams or venues that let fans buy into the franchise beyond the ticket window or concessions counters, but here are seven that give their faithful a stake in the action:

The Atlanta Braves
Parent company: Liberty Media ( LMCA)

Ted Turner's name is still on the ballpark, but he hasn't owned a stake in the Braves for some time now. Liberty Media, which owns the Starz and Encore television channels, bought the team from Time Warner in 2005 and watched a team that finished first in the National League East for the past decade have its first losing season in 18 years in 2006. The Braves have since rebounded back to respectability (last year's late-season collapse not withstanding), but fretting fans can still ease their nerves by buying a few shares.

The New York Knicks, Rangers and Liberty
Parent company: Madison Square Garden ( MSG)

The Nasdaq's been a lot more fun to follow since Cablevision spun off its sports holdings into MSG back in 2010. When Linsanity gripped Knicks fans this season, MSG stock followed Linsanity's ups and downs. When the Rangers advance through the Stanley Cup playoffs, MSG stock moves as well. Sure, MSG stock also buys a piece of cable television stations, a minor league hockey team, the Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular and the Garden itself, but it's the legal and potentially lucrative way of betting on New York franchises that's the stock's biggest draw.

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