The Florida Marlins announced that they are closing the upper-deck of their multi-use stadium for the rest of the season. Team officials say this will “create a better atmosphere by having more fans in the lower level.” (“Um…it won’t,” reply the Oakland A’s).
The Marlins boast an MLB-worst 43.7% average attendance capacity. Perhaps their fans are just emotionally exhausted from their pursuit of 3,000 hits.
If you’ve looked at the MLB attendance stats (and I’m guessing you haven’t), the situation league-wide is pretty alarming. Only 4 of 30 MLB teams (13%) are averaging 90% capacity or higher. This is by far the lowest percentage of the four major leagues.
Percentage of teams averaging at least 90% attendance:
NHL: 63% (This will rise to 67% next year, with Atlanta moving to the already sold-out Winnipeg.)
At the low end, MLB has 6 teams which are averaging less than 50% attendance. This means that if the always-sold-out Phillies staged an “Every Other Person Gets Murdered” promotion (and let’s be honest…that’s not such a far-fetched notion), the resulting game would still outdraw 20% of the rest of the league.
The lowest-drawing team out of NFL/NHL/NBA is the New York Islanders, averaging 67.9%. MLB has 17 teams (17!) with a lower average percentage than that. Maybe MLB should play an outdoor game on New Year’s Day too.
Baseball fans…join me in a rousing chorus of “Take Me Out to 13% of the Ball Games.”
Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images
Fewer Empty Seats May Mean More Runs
Neither team [San Diego Padres, Tampa Bay Rays] is filling more than 65% of its seats this season despite playing well, and a new study says this could already have cost them several wins apiece. Erin Smith, a Ph.D. candidate at NYU’s Stern School of Business, co-wrote a paper that shows a 48% increase in a team’s attendance makes that team score an extra run every game.
…Ms. Smith’s study, which was published this year in the Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports, used a regression model to account for things like team ability, stadium size and weather. By doing this, she showed that increased attendance does, in fact, help teams play well, instead of this simply being a matter of good teams drawing more fans.
Continue reading… WSJ