Two Hundred Fifty-Nine Empty Seats Ain't So Bad

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Breaking news via Maury Brown at Biz of Baseball: Major League Baseball's attendance numbers have dropped for the second year in a row! But before you start rending your garments and gnashing your teeth about the idea of Jerry Reinsdorf not being able to afford that gold-plated shofar he's been eyeing, fret not. The average attendance figures dropped by only 259 warm bodies per game, and most of it was the Mets' fault.

Fred Wilpon's sadsack team has drawn over 400,000 fewer fans over the first 64 games of 2010 as compared to the same period in 2009; we can only expect that differential to increase since the Mets have run themselves out of the playoff race. No more important games and no more bobblehead giveaways mean that the trains to Flushing will either be full of tennis fans or pleasure-seeking Philly folk.

Almost all of the teams who saw a decline in ticket sales are teams that are down in the dumps this year, except one notable exception: the Rays. The team that has flirted with the best record in baseball all season long has seen just 22,679 fans show up per game, down over 1,000 from last year's third place team. Still, this team should see an slight uptick in average attendance once the Yankees come to town next week.

Most of the good news on the list stems from the Twins' new ballpark. Minnesota drew an average of 11,000 extra fans per game to sold-out Target Field than they did to the final season of baseball at the Hankiedome. The novelty of outside baseball is a huge draw, but we all know that folks just want to see Jim Thome swat taters while chowing down on foodstuffs-on-sticks.

Pat yourself on the back if you attended the Walkoff Walk 2010 Field Trip to PNC Park in Pittsburgh: you helped the Pirates increase their average attendance by a whopping 3.3% over last year's figures! If the Pirates want to continue to put butts in seats, we HEIST folks think they should probably stop having George Thorogood postgame concerts and just get to the damn fireworks already.


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27 Comments

The Reds need to put a map to their ballpark at the bottom of some Skyline Chili bowls.

I'm confused, is a Shofar made with mozarella or parmesan?

Other than playing in a glorified tractor pull arena, can someone explain to me why Tampa Bay isn't drawing better? Currently, they are 9th out of 14 AL teams. They've been last or near the bottom of attendance for the past 10-plus seasons. Put that competitive team in a city where it is appreciated.

The Rays should change their name to the Homestead G-Rays and play "home games" in a rotating series of Joe Maddon-approved hipster cities: Austin, Madison, and Portland (both of them).

Maddon could even earn some overtime by drawing up Harlem Globetrotters-esque uniforms since he seems to love garish fashions so much.

One reason for the decline in Tampa's attendance? Ybor City. It almost kills people.

GET TO THE DAMN FIREWORKS ALREADY

Whooooa, don't call out Tampa's attendance unless you wish to be deemed a hater by Jonah Keri.

7:05 games are too late for most Tampa/St. Petersburg residents

Put that competitive team in a city where it is appreciated.

The Rays have among the highest local TV ratings in baseball. Ticket revenues are a fraction of clubs income and an antiquated way to judge the strength of a fanbase. The Reds and Padres are in first place and play in fantastic ballparks and have long histories and tradition. What's their excuse?

Single game ticket sales aren't a nightly referendum on the state of a franchise. A mere piece of the puzzle. It's 2010, people take in their entertainment in much different ways than before. Who cares?

Yeah I completely agree with Drew. Especially when the cost of taking a family of 4 to a game is pretty close to the cost of buying a nice TV (which you can watch all the games on)

Ticket and concession revenues are a very large fraction of a teams income. Why do you think owners push so hard for new stadiums?

Put that competitive team in a city where it is appreciated.

Yes, like actual Tampa and not shitty St. Petersburg. You know, closer to where the baseball fans actually live. The Rays' stadium problem is its location, not its catwalks and otherwise shitty architectural touch.

the Trop is 23 highway miles from Tampa
try again

Twenty-three miles is a long fucking way to drive in rush hour traffic.

Try again.

"It's 2010, people take in their entertainment in much different ways than before. Who cares?''
You can bet you're last buck the owners care. TV revenues do play a major part in a team's payroll, but fans buying tickets, souvenirs and concession items make up a large chunk as well. Currently, Tampa's attendance is 1.56 million and at $22 per ticket (avg. MLB price, according to Sports Business Daily) that's just over $34 million on ticket sales alone. Add enough $7 beers and $10 parking spots into the equation and it becomes serious money.

Matt_T is high. I never paid more than $10 for a ticket in ATL and I must have gone to 30 games there.

What do you think the 4 hours of adspace sold over 162 (road games count too!) are worth? I'm going to venture it's higher than $34 mil.

The guy in that TBO article is a stooge. Unless he switches to day shifts at "Timpano Italian Chophouse" the stadium could be next door and he still couldn't go.

No one lives in Downtown Tampa. Moving the stadium 23 miles wouldn't change a thing, they'll have to drive anyway. Public trans is a farce. You'll see it when the Marlins move. Some markets just don't draw.

It doesn't matter how many tickets you sell, your team will always cry poor. Always.

Tampa has 40% more residents than St. Petersburg and a per capita income 20% higher. But yeah, tell the 340,000 people who live in downtown Tampa that nobody lives there.

Why do you think owners push so hard for new stadiums?

Pushing for public monies isn't the same as pushing for a new stadium. They like the increased revenue options relative their the current situation, but don't want to pay for it themselves because STADIA ARE A HORRIBLE INVESTMENT. They aren't billionaires by accident.

But is the cash from four hours of adspace sold to car dealerships on local Tampa TV so much that it makes the $34 million in ticket sales into such a luxury that the owners can afford to ignore it?

No, I don't think anyone suggests they should ignore it. But it isn't the sole metric by which the viability of a franchise is measured. Yet people still crow THEY DON'T SELL TICKETS MOVE THEM TO UTICA!

...in this economy.

BURN UTICA TO THE GROUND

A round of steamed hams on me!

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