Wednesday, July 11, 2012

MLB Attendance Trends

Since the All-Star Game is the proverbial midway point of the season, let's take a look at per game attendance trends of each Major League club, compared to last season.

After the chart below, we'll try to make some sense of this.


Rk Tm 2011_AttendpGm 2012_AttendpGm DiffPerGame ▾
1 MIA 17,214 28,330 11,116
2 DET 28,506 36,866 8,360
3 WSN 22,469 29,678 7,209
4 TEX 36,971 43,608 6,637
5 LAD 36,084 40,839 4,755
6 BAL 21,180 25,746 4,566
7 KCR 19,224 23,559 4,335
8 STL 37,648 41,855 4,207
9 TOR 22,203 26,379 4,175
10 ARI 24,087 28,208 4,121
11 CIN 25,074 28,397 3,323
12 ATL 27,042 29,896 2,854
13 OAK 19,157 21,011 1,854
14 PIT 23,031 24,882 1,852
15 CHC 36,015 37,522 1,507
16 TBR 19,269 20,583 1,314
17 SDP 24,570 25,675 1,105
18 BOS 37,585 37,582 -3
19 SFG 41,718 41,637 -82
20 MIL 35,007 34,916 -92
21 SEA 22,074 21,940 -135
22 PHI 45,462 44,747 -715
23 COL 35,146 34,056 -1,090
24 CHW 24,377 23,091 -1,285
25 NYM 30,156 28,746 -1,410
26 NYY 43,821 42,235 -1,586
27 LAA 38,966 37,211 -1,755
28 CLE 21,107 19,256 -1,851
29 HOU 25,823 22,049 -3,774
30 MIN 39,218 34,904 -4,313
total 29,372 31,170 1,797
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 7/11/2012.

It's no surprise that the Marlins are at the top of their list, as their new ballpark - particularly the new location - has lead to increase ticket sales. The other thing we can infer from what we've seen this season is that the Marlins are near the top in the league in no-show's. It's reasonable to think that many people in South Florida caught Marlins fever this offseason, with the new ballpark and additions of Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, Heath Bell, and Ozzie Guillen, which led to increased sales of season tickets. The problem now, is that many of those people don't go to all of their games. As a season ticket holder for the Chicago Cubs, I can say that going to multiple games per week can become a chore. It's a process, but winning should make that easier, as well as transferring tickets to friends or buyers on the secondary market.

The Tigers investment in Prince Fielder hasn't helped in the standings, but they've sold a lot more tickets.

The Nationals are winning, and sitting pretty in first place.

The Rangers are still glowing from winning back-to-back AL Pennants, as their ticket sales reflect improvements on top of improvements last season.

Dodger fans in Southern California lifted their McCourt boycott, not that he's sold to Magic Johnson and Friends. Leading the division helps, too.

As for the teams whose ticket sales are under-performing from last season, Minnesota probably has the worst 25-man roster in the big leagues. Compounding their performance, this is the Twins' third season in Target Field. So, the novelty of the new ballpark is beginning to wear off. Keep in mind, we're talking about attendance trends. While the Twins have the worst difference in attendance from last season to this one, they still rank 6th in the American League in per game attendance.

Houston fans haven't been supporting the young Astros as much as we would have expected after their early season success. They lost 106 games last season. The team this year is playing better. The new front office is doing the right thing. Yet, they still haven't cracked 1,000,000 fans after 45 home games this year (9,992,220 tickets sold).

Indians fans have even more to be embarrassed about. Also after 45 home games, their paid attendance is the lowest in baseball, with only 866,535 tickets sold. Making matters worse, they are only 3 games out of first place and still can't support the team. I'd say something cruddy about Cleveland fans right now, but I have too much respect for Joe Posnanski.

The White Sox, Mets, Yankees, and Angels are also surprising to see trending downward. Chicago is in first place. The Mets are playing much better than 99% of people expected. The Yankees have the best record in all of baseball; their tickets are just too expensive. And, boy, did the Angels whiff on their attempt to make LA an Angels town. They had a higher per game attendance than the Dodgers last season, but are beneath them in 2012. It's safe to say those bilingual Albert Pujols billboards wont be a case study for CBS Outdoor.

Maybe AM830 got a bump in ratings from this advertising.

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