Meaning – The word ballpark means to make a rough estimate. When a service provider meets a potential client, the first meeting involves the discussion of a ballpark figure for the budget. At this stage, the budget numbers are not accurate or agreed upon, and as such, cannot be used as leverage in the actual discussions. Ballpark numbers are used by people to get a basic idea of benchmark that is believed to be the absolute maximum. The real numbers however, may be lesser or sometimes, even more than the ballpark figure.
Even when it comes to more sensitive subjects like the performance benchmarks of a processor, the company has to set a ballpark figure first, keeping in mind the resources on hand and limitations of the technology. Once the actual study begins, a more detailed approach is taken up.
Example of usage – “When I went to meet a client, the first thing I asked for was the ballpark figure of their budget.”