The following is cross-posted from Noah Pransky’s Shadow of the Stadium blog.
Attendance numbers stink. And this post has nothing to do with the Tampa Bay Rays.
Last night, the Miami Marlins – in the second game of their second year at the magnificant Marlins Park – drew just 14,222 fans, a mere 38% of capacity. And who knows how many of those fans actually paid full price for their tickets – the Marlins were giving away freebies and half-price tickets as recently as last week to try and boost their gate numbers. But we already knew it would be a long season in Miami.
However, the Braves-Marlins game was merely the fourth-least attendend MLB game last night:
- The Indians drew just 12,663 against the Yankees on a 62-degree Cleveland night;
- The Royals drew just 11,697 against the Twins on a 71-degree Kansas City night;
- And the Mariners drew just 10,745 against the Astros on a mild 55-degree Seattle night in the newly-revamped Safeco Field against their former star, Erik Bedard.
Last year, the smallest early-April crowds belonged to roughly the same teams on the same days:
- 4/9/12 – White Sox at Indians, 9,072
- 4/9/12 – White Sox at Indians, 9,473
- 4/9/12 – Royals at Athletics – 10,054
- 4/8/12 – Blue Jays at Indians – 10,518
- 4/10/12 – Royals at Athletics – 10,670
But it’s not just the typical teams struggling at the gate this April – some of the bigger boys are too. Much has been made of the drop in demand in New York and Boston, and across the league, MLB teams are seeing 801 fewer fans on average per game.
That’s a significant number, especially considering the fairly mild weather across the country this spring. Fortunately for MLB, soaring TV revenues will render any drop in attendance relatively moot.