billsportsmaps.com

April 2, 2017

MLB: Paid-Attendance (tickets-sold) map for 2016 (home/regular season average tickets-sold), including change from 2015 and percent-capacity figures./+ Illustration for: Toronto Blue Jays: 12.5-K-attendance-increase in 2 year span./+ Illustration for: Chicago Cubs (2016 World Series champions).

mlb_2016-attendance_tickets-sold_map_w-percent-cap_change-from-2015_post_e_.gif
MLB: Paid Attendance (tickets-sold) map for 2016 (home/regular season average tickets-sold), including change from 2015 and percent-capacity figures



By Bill Turianski on 2 April 2017; twitter.com/billsportsmaps.

Links…
-Official site…mlb.com.
-Teams, etc…Major League Baseball (en.wikipedia.org).
-[Current] MLB attendance at ESPN…MLB Attendance Report [current] (espn.go.com).
-2016 MLB attendance at ESPN…MLB Attendance Report – 2016 (espn.go.com).
-Attendance change (2016 v. 2015)…Change in Baseball Attendance (2016 vs. 2015) (baseball-reference.com).

-From Baseball Pilgrimages.com…2016 MLB Ballpark Attendance [with notes] (baseballpilgrimages.com).

-From Forbes.com…MLB Hits 73.159 Million In Attendance, 11th Highest All-Time, Down Slightly From 2015 (by Maury Brown at forbes.com).

-From Waiting For Next Year.com…Let’s talk about Cleveland Indians attendance (by Jacob Rosen at waitingfornextyear.com).

    For the fourth-straight season, the Los Angeles Dodgers had the highest average paid-attendance, at 45,719 per game.

Last season [2016], the Dodgers drew 45.7 K, and played to 81.6 percent-capacity at Dodger Stadium. And also for the 4th-straight year, the St. Louis Cardinals had the second-highest attendance, at 42.5 K at Busch Stadium (III). The San Francisco Giants filled their ballpark, AT&T park, the best, at 99.1 percent-capacity, and they drew 41.5 K (the 4th-highest attendance). Three other teams also played to near-full-capacity…the St. Louis Cardinals at 96.7 precent-capacity, the Chicago Cubs at 96.6 percent-capacity at the renovated Wrigley Field, and the Boston Red Sox at 96.1 percent-capacity at Fenway Park. The 5th-best at filling their venue was the Toronto Blue Jays, who played to an 84.9 percent-capacity, and have now increased their crowds at Rogers Centre [aka Skydome] by over 12 thousand per game in the past two seasons [since 2014] (see below)…

Best attendance increases in 2016…2016 average paid-attendance versus 2015 average paid-attendance [with attendance-rank shown]…
Toronto Blue Jays +7,376…41,880 in 2016 [#3] vs. 34,504 in 2015 [#8].
Chicago Cubs +3,366…39,906 in 2016 [#5] vs. 36,540 in 2015 [#6].
New York Mets +3,145…34,870 in 2016 [#9] vs. 31,725 [#12].
Texas Rangers +2,698…33,461 in 2016 [#10] vs. 30,763 [#16].
Houston Astros +1,889…28,476 in 2016 [#17] vs. 26,587 [#22].
Cleveland Indians +1,844…19,650 in 2016 [#28] vs. 17,806 in 2015 [#29].

Toronto Blue Jays: 12.5 K attendance increase in 2 years…
Not only did Toronto have a 7.37 K increase in attendance in 2016, Toronto had a 5.17 K increase in 2015 (versus 29,327 per game in 2014). So, that means the Toronto Blue Jays have increased their paid-attendance by a little over 12,500 per game in two years! Talk about reviving a moribund franchise. That just goes to show you that investing in a competitive team (as the Blue Jays have done these past 3 seasons) usually pays off at the turnstile. (Usually, but definitely not in the case of the Cleveland Indians, who had a banner season in 2016, winning the AL pennant and coming up just short of a championship, yet the Tribe failed to even draw 20 K per game during the regular season. Cleveland is simply NOT a baseball town; see link to article on the Indians’ bad attendance, further above. But I digress.)

In 2016, Toronto drew over 3 million for the first time in 23 years. [Note: drawing over 3 million means the team averages above 36.5 K per game.] As the following article at SB Nation points out, “comparing 2016 to 2014, average attendance at Rogers Centre was up 43%, or over 1,000,000 fans for the season.” (quote by Jon Shell from this article: A Business Case For A Much Higher Payroll at bluebirdbanter.com from Nov. 6 2016).

toronto-blue-jays_2014-to-2016_12-k-attendance-increase_rogers-centre_h_.gif
Photo and Image credits above –
Blue Jays home cap, illustration from sportslogos.net. Aerial shot of CN Tower and Rogers Centre, photo by destinocanadatoronto.blogspot.com. Exterior shot of Rogers Centre at night, photo by Empty Quarter at Toronto Flickr Pool via torontoist.com. Aerial shot of Rogers Centre, photo unattributed at blogto.com. Shot of full house at Rogers Centre [circa 2015], photo unattributed at engineeringharmonics.com. Fans cheering at Rogers Centre during 2015 playoffs, photo by Darren Calabrese/The Canadian Press via citynews.ca.

Notes on stadium capacities…
-Boston Red Sox’ Fenway Park has different capacities for night games (37,673) and day games (37,227). {See this article I wrote from 2016/scroll half-way down text for Fenway section}.
-Chicago Cubs’ Wrigley Field has been undergoing extensive renovations, and the renovations are planned to continue on up to spring 2019. In 2016, capacity was increased slightly, by 329, from 40,929 to 41,268. The capacity will most likely change again in the next 2-to-3 years, but probably not by a significant amount.
-Atlanta Braves played their final season at Turner Field in Atlanta in 2016. The team has moved into the suburbs, into Cumberland, Cobb County, GA (10 miles NW of downtown Atlanta). Their new ballpark, SunTrust Park, will have a capacity of 41,500. (That is a significant capacity-reduction, of around 4.4 K, as Turner Field’s seated-capacity was 45,986.)
-Both the teams below (Oakland and Tampa Bay) have tarps covering their upper-deck seats, which doesn’t change the fact that those seats are empty…
-O.co Coliseum, home of the Oakland Athletics, has tarps covering the upper decks for MLB games, making the seating “capacity” for baseball 35,067, which is about 20,800 less than the real capacity (real seating capacity of the stadium is 55,945). (That would make them having a real 2016 percent-capacity figure of around 33.5.)
-Tropicana Field, home of the Tampa Bay Rays, has tarps covering the upper decks for MLB games, making the seating “capacity” for baseball 31,042, which is about 11,600 less than the real capacity (real seating capacity of the stadium is 42,735). (That would make them having a real 2016 percent-capacity figure of around 37.1.).

    Chicago Cubs – 2016 World Series winners (the Cubs’ first World Series title in 108 years)…

Best Cubs players in 2016 as measured by WAR (wins after replacement)…
Kris Bryant (3B) 7.7 WAR (39 HR, 121 RBI, .385 OBP).
Anthony Rizzo (1B) 5.7 WAR (32 HR, 109 RBI, .385 OBP).
Jon Lester (LHP) 5.2 WAR (19-5, 2.44 ERA, 202.7 IP).
Kyle Hendricks (RHP) 4.9 WAR (16-8, 2.13 ERA, 190 IP).
Addison Russell (SS) 4.3 WAR (21 HR, 95 RBI, .321 OBP).

Cubs win ! Cubs win ! Cubs win !
chicago-cubs_2016-ws-champions_joe-maddon_kris-bryant_anthony-rizzo_jon-lester_kyle-hendricks_addison-russell_javier-baez_ben-zobrist_e_.gif
Photo and Image credits above -
Aerial shot of Wrigley Field with “CHAMPIONS” displayed on jumbotron-scoreboard, photo by Nick Ulivieri at flickr.com.
Joe Maddon, photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images North America via zimbio.com.
Kris Bryant, screenshot from video (uploaded by Sporting Videos at youtube.com.
Anthony Rizzo, photos by John Durr/Getty Images North America via zimbio.com & zimbio.com.
Jon Lester, photo by David Kohl/USA Today via usatoday.com/mlb.
Kyle Hendricks, photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images North America via zimbio.com.
Addison Russell, photo by Elsa/Gety Images via wgntv.com. aru
Shot of Cubs players and coaching staff after game 5 win over Dodgers in 2016 NLCS (with traveling Cubs fans’ “W” banners held aloft in background), photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images via chron.com/sports. Shot of Cubs players’ celebration after final out, photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images via sports.yahoo.com. Shot of Cubs fans outside Wrigley after final out, screenshot of NBC News video, at nbcnews.com/news/sports. Shot of Javier Báez stealing home (v Dodgers in Game 1 of NLCS), photo by AP at dailyherald.com. Shot of Ben Zobrist on 2nd base, after doubling in lead run in 10th inning of WS Game 7, photo by Al Tielemans at gettyimages.com. Shot of brick wall outside of Wrigley that fans decorated with chalk and paint, photo by Nick Ulivieri at flickr.com.

___
Thanks to NuclearVacuum for the blank map, File:BlankMap-North America-Subdivisions.svg (commons.wikimedia.org).
Thanks to ESPN for attendances & percent capacities, espn.go.com/mlb/attendance.
Thanks to Chris Creamer’s Sports Logos.net, for several (~17) of the cap logos, sportslogos.net.
Thanks to Baseball-reference.com, for stats.
Thanks to the contributors at en.wikipedia.org, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Major_League_Baseball#Current_teams.

April 2, 2016

MLB: Paid Attendance (tickets-sold) map for 2015 (home/regular season average tickets-sold), including change from 2014 and percent-capacity figures./+ Illustrations for: the Los Angeles Dodgers (highest-drawing MLB team for 3rd straight year) & the Kansas City Royals (2015 World Series champions and best-increase-in-crowd-size for 2015).

mlb_2015-attendance_tickets-sold_map_w-percent-cap_change-from-14_post_b_.gif
MLB: Paid Attendance (tickets-sold) map for 2015 (home/regular season average tickets-sold), including change from 2014 and percent-capacity figures



By Bill Turianski on 2 April 2016; twitter.com/billsportsmaps.
Links…
-Official site…mlb.com.
-Article on 2015 MLB attendance…from Sportsnet.ca, from 10 October 2015, MLB average attendance up slightly in 2015 (sportsnet.ca/baseball/mlb).
-[Current] MLB attendance at ESPN…MLB Attendance Report [current] (espn.go.com).
-2015 MLB attendance at ESPN…MLB Attendance Report – 2015 (espn.go.com).

    Highest-drawing team in MLB (for the 3rd straight year) – the Los Angeles Dodgers (at 46,479 per game)…

Below: Dodger Stadium (aka Chavez Ravine). Echo Park, Los Angeles, CA. Opened April 10, 1962. Capacity 56,000. 2015 average paid-attendance: 46,479.
los-angeles-dodgers_dodger-stadium_chavez-ravine_best-drawing-team-in-mlb_2015_h_.gif
Photo credits above -
Aerial shot of Dodger Stadium with downtown LA in background, photo unattributed at orbicair.com/gi-56684-dodger-stadium. Tight-aerial-shot of Dodger Stadium, photo unattributed at latimesblogs.latimes.com. Exterior-shot/parking-lot-view of Dodger Stadium with fans streaming in, photo by Juan Ocampo/Los Angeles Dodgers at dodgers.mlblogs.com/category/dodger-stadium [photo from 2010]. Exterior-shot of Dodger Stadium front entrance, photo [from Oct. 4 2014] by Sarah K. at yelp.com [Dodger Stadium]. Exterior-shot of giant Dodgers MVPs banner on side of main grandstand, photo by Ruel G. at yelp.com/biz_photos/dodger-stadium-los-angeles. Text-block of Dodgers MVPs, from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Los_Angeles_Dodgers_award_winners_and_league_leaders. Interior shot at sunset of Dodger Stadium from seats behind home plate, photo by ÉmmÉrōSiá S. at yelp.com/biz_photos/dodger-stadium-los-angeles. View as night falls of Dodger Stadium from upper-deck with large crowd, photo by Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports at bleacherreport.com. Exterior-ground-level shot of Dodger Stadium at twilight, photo by Daniel Sofer at hermosawavephotography.com.

    Best crowd-size increases in MLB in 2015…

All MLB teams which had an increase of +3,000 per game in 2015…
1). Kansas City Royals, +9,284 per game. The Royals increased from 25th-best crowd-size in 2014 (at 24,154 per game) to 10th-best-crowds in 2015 at (33,438 per game). The Royals won the AL Central/ beat Houston in ALDS/ beat Toronto in the ALCS/ won the 2015 MLB World Series (4 games to 1 over NY Mets).
2). Toronto Blue Jays, +5,177 per game. The Blue Jays increased from 17th-best crowd-size in 2014 (at 29,327 per game) to 8th-best-crowds in 2015 at (34,504 per game). The Blue Jays won the AL East/ beat Texas in ALDS/ lost to Kansas City in the ALCS.
3). Houston Astros, +4,960 per game. The Astros increased from 26th-best crowd-size in 2014 (at 21,627 per game) to 22nd-best crowds in 2015 (at 26,587 per game). The Astros were the lower-seeded-Wild-Card in the AL/ beat NY Yankees in the ALWCG/ lost to Kansas City in ALDS.
4). New York Mets, +4,865 per game. The Mets increased from 21st-best crowd-size in 2014 (at 26,860 per game) to 12th-best-crowds in 2015 (at 31,725 per game). The Mets won the NL East/ beat LA Dodgers in NLDS/ beat Chicago Cubs in the NLCS/ lost to Kansas City in the 2015 MLB World Series (in 5 games).
5). Chicago Cubs, +3,798 per game. The Cubs increased from 11th-best crowd-size in 2014 (at 32,742 per game) to 6th-best-crowds in 2015 (at 36,540 per game). The Cubs were the lower-seeded-Wild-Card in the NL/ beat Pittsburgh in the NLWCG/ beat St. Louis in the NLDS/ lost to NY Mets in the NLCS.
6). San Diego Padres, +3,264 per game. The Padres were the only MLB team in 2015 to have a +3,000-or-more increase in average attendance without making the playoffs, let alone playing above .500 (the Padres were 74-88). The Padres didn’t even have a better record than the previous year (they went 77-85 in 2014). They did have a bunch of young and exciting players and were involved in a lot of high-scoring and come-back games, and fan excitement there in San Diego translated into a healthy attendance increase. {See this article, and the comments there, at the Padres blog at SB Nation, Padres experiencing increased attendance and ratings, by jbox on Apr.27,2015 at gaslampball.com).}

    The 2015 Kansas City Royals:
    The Royals were 2015 MLB World Series champions (winning their second MLB World Series title);
    & the Royals also had the 2015 MLB best-increase-in-crowds (at +9,284 per game)…

kansas-city-royals_2015_world-series-champions_2015-best-increase-in-attendance_lorenzo-cain_mike-moustakas_eric-hosmer_wade-davis_ned-yost_r_.gif
Photo and Image credits above -
Unattributed at chatsports.com. Lorenzo Cain after hitting a triple [May 2015], photo by John Sleezer/ The Kansas City Star at kansascity.com. Mike Moustakas throwing out runner to first, photo by the Kansas City Star via gettyimages.com. Eric Hosmer swinging, photo by John Sleezer/ The Kansas City Star at kansascity.com. Wade Davis congratulates C Salvador Perez after a win, photo by Jim Mone/ AP Photo via ksn.com. Royals manager Ned Yost talking with C Salvador Perez as 3B Mike Moustakas and SS Alcides Escobar listen on, photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images North America via zimbio.com. Royals bench rushing to celebrate after Wade Davis gets final out of 2015 World Series, photo by David J. Phillip/ AP Photo via wina.com.


The map, and notes on the chart…
The circular-cap-logos on the map page are all each MLB teams’ 2015 home cap logo. That is, except with respect to Baltimore’s circular-cap-logo, which is of their all-black road cap, because the Orioles wear their white-paneled cap at home, and I wanted to maintain a uniformity to all 30 of the circular-cap-logos on the map. The circular-cap-logos were then sized to reflect crowd size, utilizing a constant gradient (the larger the team’s average paid-attendance, the larger their circular-cap-logo is on the map). If you are unsure about the term “paid-attendance”, my post on MLB paid-attendance from last year can clear that up for you {here, 2014 MLB paid-attendance map}.

On the chart on the map page, this year I decided to scrap the column for Percent-Change-from-previous-season [average attendance], and now I have a column for Numerical-Change-from-previous-season. (I just think it is easier to visualize a numerical-change figure, than it is to visualize a percentage-change figure.)

Notes on Capacity and Percent-Capacity numbers…
On the map page, under the attendance chart, are 3 notes; the following is a further elaboration on them…
1). Boston Red Sox, at Fenway Park. Since 1953, Fenway has had different capacities for day games and for night games: 37,227 seated capacity for day games/ 37,673 seated capacity for night games {see this, Fenway Park/Seating capacity (en.wikipedia.org)}. It was 426 less seats for day games from 1953 up to 2014, and now (currently [2015-16]) it is 446 less seats for day games. During day games, the furthest-to-leftfield centerfield seats – a triangle of seats in the centerfield stands (near the Green Monster) – is kept empty and covered with a triangular dark-greenish-grey tarp (see it at the lower-left of the photo below). This is to make a more uniform background for batters to more easily see pitched balls. Other MLB ballparks have benign backdrops for the batters’ sight-lines; and this is in that area of a batter’s sight-line that is often referred to as “The Batter’s Eye”. From time to time, because of night-game-rain-outs and then re-scheduled day-games with those tickets already having been sold, the Red Sox have been forced to keep that triangle of 400-odd outfield-seats open during a rescheduled day-game. In those cases, they solved the problem by handing out dark green t-shirts to all ticket-buyers who had bought tickets for seats in that triangle…so the batters still had a quasi-dark green background for their sight-line.

-Here is a thread (from 2012), on the subject of the dual/day/night-seating-capacities at Fenway, from Reddit.com/r/sports,
Why is the capacity larger at Fenway Park when it is a night game rather then a day game? (reddit.com/r/sports).

fenway-park_day-capacity_covered-seats-in-outfield-bleachers_h_.gif
Photo credit above – Cindy Loo/Boston Red Sox via boston.redsox.mlb.com/bos/fenwaypark100/timeline.jsp?year=2011

2). Oakland Athletics, at O.co Coliseum, have tarps covering the upper decks for MLB games, making the seating “capacity” for baseball 35,067, which is about 20,800 less than the real capacity (real seating capacity of the stadium is 55,945). They do this, of course, because the A’s draw so poorly and their stadium is (and always has been) too ridiculously large for the ball club. The O.co Coliseum (originally known as the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum) is one of the last of the oft-derided and basically hideous structures known as the dual-purpose stadium, a thing that has come and now is thankfully all but gone from the American landscape. Almost every other dual-purpose stadium has been torn down (see next paragraph). Three multi-purpose stadiums in the USA remain: Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego; RFK Stadium in Washington, DC; and the Houston Astrodome. But besides the San Diego Chargers (NFL) and DC United (MLS), these 3 venues are devoid of big-league tenants and are underutilized (and the Astrodome is virtually condemned).

{Multi-purpose stadium/History in the United States (en.wikipedia.org).} Once there were over a dozen multi-use stadiums in MLB and in the NFL, and they all sucked, because they were designed to host two very incompatible configurations (baseball and gridiron football). They were giant soul-less concrete doughnuts that gave the fan – for either sport – vast yawning empty spaces where there should have been seats, and sight-lines looking upon totalitarian-architecture backdrops of brutal concrete. There were 9 now-demolished multi-purpose stadiums that were built in the USA in the same era or a few years later than the stadium in Oakland (which opened in 1966). Specifically, in San Francisco [which was re-purposed as a multi-use stadium for the 49ers in 1970] (Candlestick Park demolished in 2015). In Minneapolis (the Metrodome demolished in 2014). In Queens, NYC, New York (Shea Stadium demolished in 2007). In St. Louis (Busch Memorial Stadium demolished in 2005). In Philadelphia (Veterans Stadium demolished in 2004). In Cincinnati (Riverfront Stadium demolished in 2002). In Pittsburgh (Three Rivers Stadium demolished in 2001). In Seattle (the Kingdome demolished in 2000). And in Atlanta (Atlanta–Fulton County Stadium demolished in 1997). There is only one multi-purpose stadium still in use in both the NFL and in Major League Baseball, and that is Oakland’s stadium, and its days are numbered. And when it is gone, good riddance.

3). Tampa Bay Rays, at Tropicana Field, also have tarps covering the upper decks for MLB games, making the seating “capacity” for baseball 31,042, which is about 11,600 less than the real capacity (real seating capacity of the stadium is 42,735). The Tampa Bay Rays, as pretty much all baseball fans know, are hands-down, the absolute worst-drawing ball club in the Majors. This, despite, these days, being a very competitive team (most seasons). And the Rays’ dreary and surreal and pathetic stadium is a big reason why. The other major reason why the Rays draw so horribly is because the team is based in Florida. Floridians do not really like to go to baseball games – because there’s not enough tackling and fist-fights in baseball, and because baseball’s pace is too slow and nuanced for Florida Man.

Tropicana Field is like a Bizzarro-world Major League ballpark. The place just exudes a pervasively gloomy atmosphere. And need I say more than catwalks in play all around the roof of the dome? For that matter, how on Earth can it be, that in 2016, Major League Baseball still has a team which plays in a fixed-roof dome? On friggin’ artificial turf (as does Toronto). Look how long the list is, of criticisms about Tropicana Field, at the Trop’s page at Wikipedia, {here, Tropicana Field/Criticisms}. In 2013, USA Today, in a 30-part series, ranked Tropicana Field as the worst MLB venue {see this, Tropicana Field: All dome and gloom, by Joe Mock of BaseballParks.com}. At the StadiumJourney.com site, their review of Tropicana Field notes that…’Tropicana Field is one of those places where you get excited to see the game until you walk into the stadium for the actual game. The concourse areas in the stands have plenty to do and look at. Entering the stadium you will find a wide-open atrium with very colorful displays, but this disappears when you enter the seating bowl. Once inside however, you will encounter one of the dullest professional sports atmospheres anywhere. It feels like going into an early 1980′s time warp. The ugly field and tarp covering the top rows of the upper deck are depressing.’ { – excerpt from Tropicana Field, by Scott Bultman at stadiumjourney.com.}

Hey Major League Baseball – move the Tampa Bay Rays franchise to Montreal, Canada. {See this, from the New York Times on August 18, 2015, Baseball Fever Grows in Montreal With Hope of a New Team, by David Waldstein at nytimes.com/sports.} There’s your Tropicana Field problem solved right there. Then the new-and-improved Major League Baseball would be a product with 50%-less-Florida…and the new-and-improved MLB would be a product with 50%-more Canuck. Like in “the good old days“.

___
Thanks to NuclearVacuum for the blank map, File:BlankMap-North America-Subdivisions.svg (commons.wikimedia.org).
Thanks to ESPN for attendances & percent capacities, espn.go.com/mlb/attendance.
Thanks to Chris Creamer’s Sports Logos.net, for several (~17) of the cap logos, sportslogos.net.
Thanks to Baseball-reference.com, for stats.
Thanks to the contributors at en.wikipedia.org, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Major_League_Baseball#Current_teams.
Thanks to yelp.com, and photo-contributors there at yelp.com/biz/dodger-stadium-los-angeles.
Thanks to the Kansas City Star for some nice photos of KC Royals stand-outs.

February 17, 2015

MLB: Paid Attendance (tickets-sold) map for 2014 (home/regular season average tickets-sold), including change from 2013 and percent-capacity figures.

mlb_2014-attendance_tickets-sold-map_post_h_.gif
MLB: Paid Attendance (tickets-sold) map for 2014



Please note: to see the most recent MLB paid-attendance map-and-post, click on the following: category: Baseball >paid-attendance.

MLB attendance is defined as tickets sold.
If you buy a ticket for a Major League Baseball game, and then you don’t attend that game, your ticket that MLB sold you still counts in the officially announced attendance figure for that game. To put it another way, MLB attendance figures do not represent actual attendance, but rather, the total tickets sold for that game. The National League used to count turnstile clicks (aka ‘people in seats’), while the American League has always counted tickets sold. In 1992, the National League also began counting tickets sold instead of how many ticket-holders actually attended. Some sources say this was mainly because of revenue sharing (and the need to standardize the bookkeeping for all the MLB franchises), but revenue sharing only began ten years later, in 2002, which was a decade after the NL had started measuring attendance by tickets sold {see this, Attendance figures that count tickets sold, not turnstile clicks, make it hard for fans to reconcile what they hear with the empty seats they see (by Bill Shaikin at the Los Angeles Times)}.

In any case, counting tickets sold rather than turnstile clicks conveniently allows all 30 Major League ball clubs to get away with consistently painting a rosier picture of their attendance than what the reality is. The sad truth of the matter is, late in the season, with respect to games where the home team is out of the Pennant race, many MLB games have actual crowds that are up to around 40% less than the announced crowd size. That is because many fans who had bought tickets for that game earlier in the year then decided that it wasn’t worth attending a meaningless game late in the season, because their basement-dwelling ball club had nothing to play for.

Here is an article on this subject from the New York Times baseball blog, by Ken Belson, from Sept. 22 2012, The Official Attendance Can Become Empty of Meaning (bats.blogs.nytimes.com).

If you think that this is all pretty disingenuous, I won’t argue with that. I will simply point out this…the way that they tabulate official attendance figures in two of the three other major leagues – the NBA and the NHL – is far more dishonest. That is because the NBA and the NHL count tickets distributed toward what their official attendance figures are announced as. [Meanwhile, the NFL leaves it up to the teams, and 30 NFL teams count tickets sold, while the New York Giants and the Pittsburgh Steelers count turnstile clicks/ {see this, specifically paragraph 6 (cbssports.com by John Breech)}; {also see this, which lists the 4 major leagues' attendance-count policies, The book on attendance (utsandiego.com by Mark Zeigler)}].

And when the NBA and the NHL are measuring attendance by tickets distributed, that includes the often sizable number of tickets given away for free {see this article, How Sports Attendance Figures Speak Lies (by Maury Brown of the Biz of Baseball site, at forbes.com)}. And it is even more dishonest, because as they inflate the attendance by measuring it this way, they are inflating the “attendance” figure even more, because that tickets-distributed-attendance-figure includes all tickets distributed…even in those cases when the recipient of the free ticket didn’t even attend the game (seriously). Some NHL teams, particularly those outside of Western Canada and Toronto and Montreal, as well as those outside of the US Northeast and the US Upper Midwest, give away up to 3,000 free tickets a game! Which is how poor-drawing major-league hockey clubs in the Sunbelt, for example, can pretend they have far more ticket-buying fans than they really do. Thankfully, some franchises are seeing the corrosive effects of this (how would you feel if you shelled out big bucks for season tickets for a major-league hockey team, when sitting all around you are people seeing the game for free?)…{see this article from Oct.2014, where one of those under-supported-NHL-Sunbelt teams (the Florida Panthers) now has new ownership that is trying to stop the attendance-figure-dishonesty, by announcing actual turnstile clicks as the announced attendance, The Florida Panthers’ Empty Den (onlyagame.wbur.org)}.

So, at least, when you are given figures that measure not the actual attendance, but instead measure total tickets purchased (as in MLB)…well, you know one thing for sure, and that is that they (the MLB teams) are not lying about how many ticket they sold. They are only lying about the number of actual spectators at (some of) their games.

    Below, 2014 tickets-sold, the biggest change versus 2013 figures: change in tickets-sold of over 1,000 per game
    (11 MLB teams with plus-1,000-or-more tickets-sold / 9 MLB teams with minus-1,000-or-more tickets sold)…


Best increases in tickets sold in 2014 (versus 2013)…
Seattle Mariners: +3,738 per game.
Milwaukee Brewers: +3,287 per game.
Kansas City Royals: +2,540 per game.
Oakland Athletics: +2,399 per game.
Pittsburgh Pirates: +2,293 per game.
St. Louis Cardinals: +2,109 per game.
Miami Marlins: +1,802 per game.
Boston Red Sox: +1,516 per game.
New York Yankees: +1,507 per game.
Baltimore Orioles: +1,320 per game.
Houston Astros: +1,234 per game.

Worst decreases in tickets sold in 2014 (versus 2013)…
Philadelphia Phillies: -7,266 per game.
Texas Rangers: -5,145 per game.
Minnesota Twins: -2,803 per game.
Atlanta Braves: -2,400 per game.
Detroit Tigers: -2,502 per game.
Toronto Blue Jays: -1,988 per game.
Cleveland Indians: -1,673 per game.
Chicago White Sox: -1,452 per game.
Colorado Rockies: -1,401 per game.

On the map page…
At the far right of the map page is 2014 paid-attendance for all 30 MLB teams, along with 3 other statistics: percent-change from 2013, 2014 ballpark seating capacity, 2014 percent-capacity (which is paid-attendance divided by stadium seating capacity). At the lower right-hand corner of the map page, there are asterisk-type notes on 3 things: Boston’s different home capacities for day games and night games at Fenway Park in Boston, MA; notes on the Oakland A’s pretend-capacity (via huge tarps covering the upper decks at O.co Coliseum in Oakland, CA); and also notes on the Tampa Bay Rays’ pretend-capacity (also thanks to the egregious deployment of tarps, at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, FL).

The circular-cap-logos on the map page are all each MLB teams’ 2014 home cap logo, except with respect to Baltimore’s circular-cap-logo, which is of their all-black road cap, because the Orioles wear their white-paneled cap at home, and I wanted to maintain a uniformity to all 30 of the circular-cap-logos on the map. The circular-cap-logos were then sized to reflect crowd size, utilizing a constant gradient (the larger the ball club’s 2014 home regular season average paid-attendance, the larger their circular-cap-logo is on the map). I used cap logos from either the ball clubs’ pages at Wikipedia or at the excellent Chris Creamer’s Sports Logos.net, depending on which was more accurate in terms of actual cap-color as well as in terms of the logo itself (Yankees and Cubs cap logos are wrong at Wikipedia, and it looks like about 17 cap-logo background colors are wrong there as well).
___
Thanks to NuclearVacuum for the blank map, File:BlankMap-North America-Subdivisions.svg (commons.wikimedia.org).
Thanks to ESPN for attendances & percent capacities, espn.go.com/mlb/attendance.
Thanks to Chris Creamer’s Sports Logos.net, for several (~17) of the cap logos, sportslogos.net.
Thanks to the contributors at en.wikipedia.org, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Major_League_Baseball#Current_teams.

February 16, 2014

MLB: attendance map for 2013 (home/regular season average attendance), including change from 2012 and percent-capacity figures.

http://billsportsmaps.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/mlb_attendance2013_segment_.gif
MLB: attendance map for 2013 (home/regular season average attendance), including change from 2012 and percent-capacity figures



Please note: to see the most recent MLB paid-attendance map-and-post, click on the following: category: Baseball >paid-attendance.

MLB attendance in 2013 was 30,514 per game as a league total, which was down from 30,895 in 2012 – in other words, crowds last season in the Major Leagues were down -1.2 percent from 2012. Here is an article at USA Today from October 1 2013, ‘MLB attendance drops 1.2 percent this year‘ (usatoday.com/story/sports). Nevertheless, 2013 was the sixth-highest drawing season for MLB (for full seasons/ the MLB league attendance record was set in 1993, the year before the last players’ strike, at 31,337 per game) [you can see year-by-year league-attendance averages, from 1980 to 2013, in the link above].

    Biggest attendance increases and worst attendance drop-offs for 2013 in Major League Baseball

{MLB attendance figures here (espn.go.com)}.

In 2013, the Toronto Blue Jays, owing to pre-season excitement in Ontario, Canada about the Jays’ big signings (that flopped), had the highest increase at the turnstiles, going from 25,921 per game (in 2012) to 31,315 (in 2013) – which was an increase of 5,394 per game or +20.8 percent. The Blue Jays ended up only winning one more game (than in 2012) last season, finishing in last in the AL East at 74-88. But that spike in attendance could see some positives, as this article from the Toronto Star from Sept. 20 2013 by Brendan Kennedy points out, {‘Blue Jays: Boost in attendance could mean payroll increase‘ (thestar.com/sports/bluejays)}.

The only other team with a crowd-size-increase above 10 percent last season was the Los Angeles Dodgers, who won the NL West and drew best in MLB in 2013 at 45,216 per game at Dodger Stadium (an increase of of 4,176 per game or +12.6% from 2012, when the Dodgers drew 41,040 [for 5th-best in MLB in 2012]). So the LA Dodgers, now under new and non-dysfunctional ownership, reclaimed their status as the highest-drawing baseball club on Earth – they last led the Major Leagues in attendance in 2009. Look for the Dodgers to repeat as the top drawing ball club in 2014.

Other success stories in MLB in 2013 with respect to crowd-size increases could be seen at the following ball clubs.
Baltimore Orioles: attendance increase of +9.3% [18th-best attendance in MLB in 2013 at 29,105 per game], which was an increase of +2,495 per game. This on the heels of a playoff-season in 2012 for the O’s; in 2013 they went 85-77.
Washington Nationals: attendance increase of +9.1% [11th-best attendance in MLB in 2013 at 32,745 per game], which was an increase of +2,735 per game. This, like nearby Baltimore, was also on the heels of a playoff-season in 2012 for the Nats; in 2013 they went 86-76.
Cincinnati Reds: attendance increase of +7.9% [15th-best attendance in MLB in 2013 at 31,288 per game], which was an increase of +2,310 per game. Attendance in Cincy continues its gradual rise, as the Reds made the playoffs again in 2013 (and for the 3rd time in 4 years)…in 2013, the Reds drew their best since their move to their then-new ballpark in 2003.
Pittsburgh Pirates: attendance increase of +7.8% [19th-best attendance in MLB in 2013 at 28,210 per game], which was an increase of +2,062 per game. Attendance was of course boosted by the Pirates’ successful playoff run, as Bucs made the playoffs for the first time in 21 seasons (previously in 1992).
Oakland Athletics: attendance increase of + 7.7% [23rd-best attendance in MLB in 2013 at 22,337 per game], which was an increase of +1,609 per game. The A’s, under GM Billy Beane, have written the book (well Michael Lewis did, with Moneyball), on how to exploit market inefficiencies for the last decade-and-a-half. But Oakland has had traditionally poor attendance, and in 2009, 2010, and 2011 had the lowest in the league (in the 17-18K range). But a party-like atmosphere there at the Coliseum and a second straight AL West title saw the A’s inch up to 22.3 K per game in 2013.
Colorado Rockies: attendance increase of +6.2% [10th-best attendance in MLB in 2013 at 34,491 per game], which was an increase of + 2,017 per game. The Rockies were bad once again, finishing in last in the NL West, but they continued to draw well. The Rockies were aided by 5 high-drawing inter-league home games in 2013: three home games versus the Yankees in May, and two home games versus the Red Sox in August…those 5 games averaged over 40,000. {See this article by David Martin at Rockies Review blog from Sept. 12 2012 that accurately predicted this attendance upswing for the Rockies, ‘Colorado Rockies will get great attendance in 2013 regardless of disappointment‘ (rockiesreview.com)}.

Meanwhile the Miami Marlins (at their new instant-White-Elephant of a stadium) had the worst drop-off at the turnstiles, going from 27,400 per game [and 18th-best in 2012] 2 seasons ago, to an abysmal 19,584 per game last season [second-worst in MLB in 2013, better only than their fellow Floridians, the perennially lowest-drawing MLB team, the Tampa Bay Rays]. That was a drop-off of over 7,500 per game for the Marlins compared to 2012. This in a brand-new stadium.

Below is a chart I put together that shows the 8 MLB teams which had the highest average attendance increases in 2013 (Blue Jays, Dodgers, Orioles, Nationals, Reds, Pirates, A’s, and Rockies); and the 8 MLB teams which had the most drastic average attendance decreases in 2013 (Yankees, Cubs, White Sox, Rangers, Brewers, Twins, Phillies, and Marlins).

mlb_2013_average-attendance_best-increases_worst-decreases_versus-2012_c_.gif
Data for chart above from – http://espn.go.com/mlb/attendance/_/year/2012.
___
Thanks to ESPN for all MLB teams’ 2012 and 2013 attendance figures (and for Boston Red Sox’ 2013 home percent-capacity figure), at espn.go.com/mlb/attendance.
Thanks to mlb.com/shop for 29 of the MLB teams’ home cap photos.
Thanks to sportsstation1.com for the photo of the Baltimore Orioles’ home cap.

February 22, 2013

Major League Baseball: Attendance map for the 2012 regular season, with percent changes from 2011, and percent-capacities.

mlb_attendance2012_segment_3b.gif
2012 Major League Baseball average attendance map



Please note: to see the most recent MLB paid-attendance map-and-post, click on the following: category: Baseball >paid-attendance.

On the map, which you can see in full by clicking on the image above, a photo of each ball club’s 2012 home ball cap is sized to reflect 2012 gate figures…the higher the team’s average attendance, the larger the team’s ball cap is on the map. At the right on the map page are the 30 MLB teams (with their 2013 home cap crest), listed by 2012 attendance rank. Three extra stats for each team are included at the far right-hand side of the map page – Percent-Change from 2011 attendance, Stadium Seating Capacity, and Percent-Capacity [percent-capacity is arrived at this way...average attendance divided by stadium capacity equals Percent-Capacity]. As was the case in 2011, again last season (2012), two teams played to a cumulative percent-capacity of above 100% – the Philadelphia Phillies and the Boston Red Sox. That did not necessarily mean they sold out every game though, as MLB stadiums are allowed to issue Standing Room Only (SRO) tickets and that is the norm at Fenway Park in Boston and at Citizens Bank Ballpark in Philladelphia (the San Francisco Giants are also issuing a good deal of SRO tickets these days). So in practical terms, when you know that a league allows for overflow/SRO tickets and you see a percent-capacity figure of, say, 100.4%-capacity, what that number is most likely telling you is that a certain amount of the games were totally sold out plus had a couple hundred or so standing-room-only ticket-buyers; and a certain amount of the games came very close to being sold out at around 98 or 99%-capacity. That is what is happening most recent seasons with both the Phillies (for the last 4 seasons {since 2009}) and with the Red Sox (for the past 10 seasons now {since 2003}). It is just that one of those two teams is pretending they actually sell out every game (see below).

    The MLB teams that fill their ballpark the best
    (The top 5 percent-capacity figures for 2012) -

#1., at 100.8 percent-capacity – the Philadelphia Phillies. Citizens Bank Ballpark, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
In 2012 the Phillies averaged 44,021 per game, and they led the Major Leagues in average attendance for the second straight season.
philadelphia-phillies_citizens-bank-ballpark_2012-best-attendance-in-mlb_e.gif
Photo credits above –
princetonvarsityclub.org.
shop.mlb.com.

#2., at 100.4 percent-capacity – the Boston Red Sox. Fenway Park, Boston, Massachusetts.
The Red Sox averaged 37,567, which was 8th highest in Major League Baseball in 2012.
boston-red-sox_fenway-park_d.gif
Photo credits above –
Phillip Greenspun / philip.greenspun.com.
shop.mlb.com.

The Red Sox have officially had a current sold-out streak of over 780 straight games but that claim is bogus because the Red Sox ticket office has been manipulating the concept of “sold-out” for a while now. True, the Red Sox do cumulatively draw above 100 percent, with standing-room-only the norm at most of their games at Fenway, and Boston has been drawing above 100% of seated capacity since 2003. But in recent seasons, some games, especially in the early-season (ie, cold weather games) are not completely sold out even if the Red Sox ticket office is giving away some tickets at the last minute. The following article from May 2012 flatly refutes the idea that the Red Sox’ home game sold-out streak is still alive… from boston.com, from May 4, 2012, by Bob Holher and Seth Lasko, ‘Red Sox sellout streak a real numbers game‘. In an early May 2012 game at Fenway, the reporter is at the Red Sox ticket booth when the box office is closing…{excerpt from the article linked to above}…’The correspondent saw the window clerk give away four more tickets moments after he received his. He then checked with the clerk just before the booth closed at 9:35 p.m. and was told that tickets remained unsold.’… {end of excerpt}.

Below, a photo of some of the crowd art a supposedly “sold out game” at Fenway Park in Boston in early May 2012…
boston-red-sox_bogus-sold-out-streak_.gif
Photo credit above – Yoon S. Byun/Globe staff via boston.com.

#3., at 99.4 percent-capacity – the San Francisco Giants. AT&T Park, San Francisco, CA.
The 2012 World Series Champions San Francisco Giants averaged 41,695, which was 4th highest in Major League Baseball in 2012.
san-francisco-giants_at-and-t_park_.gif
Photo credits above –
twgsponsorship.com/att-park.
shop.mlb.com.

#4., at 91.5 percent-capacity – the St. Louis Cardinals. Busch Stadium (III), St. Louis, Missouri.
The Cardinals averaged 40,272, which was 6th highest in Major League Baseball in 2012.
st-louis-cardinals_busch-stadium-iii_1.gif
Photo and Image credits above -
angelsarms.org.
Cardinals Nation logo from stlouis.cardinals.mlb.com.
shop.mlb.com.

#5., at 90.6 percent-capacity – the Detroit Tigers. Comerica Park, Detroit, Michigan.
The Tigers averaged 37,383, which was 9th highest in Major League Baseball in 2012.
detroit-tigers_comerica-park_.gif
Photo credits above –
etsy.com.
shop.mlb.com.
___

Thanks to the contributors to the pages at en.wikipedia.org, ‘Major League Baseball‘; and at the Ballparks of Baseball.com site, for ballpark capacity numbers.
Thanks to ESPN site for 2012 and 2011 attendance figures.

Thanks to mlb.com/shop for 29 of the MLB teams’ home cap photos.
Thanks to sportsstation1.com for the photo of the Baltimore Orioles’ home cap.

February 21, 2012

Major League Baseball: Attendance map for 2011 regular season, with percent changes from 2010, and percent-capacities.

mlb_attendance2011_post_.gif
2011 Major League Baseball average attendance map



Please note: to see the most recent MLB paid-attendance map-and-post, click on the following: category: Baseball >paid-attendance.

On the map, which you can see in full by clicking on the image above, each ball club’s 2011 home ball cap crest is sized to reflect 2011 gate figures…the higher the team’s average attendance, the larger the team’s circular logo is on the map. At the right on the map page are the 30 MLB teams (with their 2012 home cap crest), listed by 2011 attendance rank. Three extra stats for each team are included at the far right-hand side of the map page – Percent-Change from 2010 attendance, Stadium Seating Capacity, and Percent-Capacity [percent-capacity is arrived at this way...average attendance divided by stadium capacity equals Percent-Capacity]. Two teams played to sold out and standing-room-only crowds all last season – the Philadelphia Phillies and the Boston Red Sox.

philadelphia-phillies_citizens-bank-ballpark_c.gif
Image credit above – bing.com/maps/Bird’s Eye satellite view.

In 2011, the Philadelphia Phillies supplanted the New York Yankees as the highest-drawing team in Major League Baseball. For the third straight season, and ever since they won their second-ever World Series title (in 2008), the Phillies have been playing to standing room only, for their entire 81-game home schedule. For the 2011 regular season, the Phillies pulled in an impressive 104.0 percent-capacity at their 43,651-capacity Citizens Bank Park in downtown Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Phillies drew 45,440 per game in 2011. And yes, the Phillies only led in attendance in 2011 because of certain decisions that the New York Yankees’ front office has made in the last 4 or 5 years (see below), as well as the implosion of the Los Angeles Dodgers, who have been the best-drawing MLB team throughout much of the last 5 decades (and who most recently had the best MLB gate figures in 2009). But it is still a noteworthy achievement that the best-drawing ball club in America in 2011 was from the 5th largest city in the United States – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (1.5 million city population/5.9 million metro-area population {2010 census figures}).

new-yankee-stadium_new-york-yankees_.gif
Image above credit above -bing.com/Bird’s Eye satellite view.

The New York Yankees, who drew second-best last season, only played to 89.6 percent-capacity at the prohibitively expensive Yankee Stadium (II) in The Bronx, New York. In the 2011 regular season, the Yankees drew 45,107 per game at Yankee Stadium II (opened in 2009). When the Yankees began building their new ballpark in the mid-2000s, they decided to make the new Yankee Stadium around 6,000-capacity smaller than the original Yankees Stadium. Yankee Stadium (I), 1923 to 2008, had a final capacity of 56,936. The present-day Yankee Stadium has a capacity of 50,291. That makes its capacity 6,645 seats smaller than the original Yankee Stadium. The Yankees’ top brass knew they could recoup revenue by higher-priced tickets, and by luxury boxes, and by things like putting restaurant franchises in the new stadium. But the thing is, the Yankees’ organization priced out a whole segment of fans who either couldn’t afford high three-figure-priced tickets or were offended by the concept of paying such larcenous fees for good seats. They call the first eight rows the “Legends Suite”. Giving the obscenely expensive ($500 per seat, on average) front rows some pretentious name like the Legends Suite was pretty pompous. When the stadium opened, after the first couple of games, there started to be vast swaths of empty seats right behind home plate and up each foul line. On television broadcasts, it looked so weird, in a bad way, in a way that you couldn’t stop looking at it, like a car wreck. No one wanted to pay a thousand bucks or so for one ball game. It’s like the Yankees front office went on this collective gigantic ego trip, and thought that people would actually be willing to shell out over a thousand dollars for one ticket to one regular-season ball game – because it’s a Yankees game – like every game in Yankee Stadium is supposedly a Super Bowl-caliber event. Please. The arrogance of the Yankee organization is truly stupefying. So a few months into the 2009 season, the Yankees slashed their most expensive tickets (some tickets were actually $2,600). The final average attendance in 2009 in the first season at the new Yankee Stadium was 45,364 – meaning there were, on average, over 4,500 empty seats per game…in the opening season of the stadium (!). In 2010, average attendance rose a little bit over one thousand per game to 46,491 (an increase that was aided by the inevitable uptick in crowds following a title-winning season, after the Yankees had won the 2009 World Series title). In 2011, average attendance went down around 1,350 per game to 45,107. So the Yankees had even worse attendance in 2011 than in 2009, when they had their empty-seats-in-most-of-the-front-rows public relations disaster.
the-new-yankee-stadium_empty-seats_2009-2010-2011_c.gif

Photo and Image credits above – jordoncooper.com zackhample.mlblogs.com. duelingcouches.blogspot.com. nymag.com.

There are fundamental fan-unfriendly design problems in the new Yankee Stadium. The partitioning of fans in the “cheap” seats (see photo above at the left), fenced off from the rich-folks-seats is creepy (it evokes the sense that the Yankees’ organization and their rich fans in the Legends Suite seats are part of the 1%). Here is an excerpt from the Wikipedia page on Yankee Stadium (II), “…Legends Suite seats are also separate from the other lower bowl seating and are vigorously patrolled by stadium security, with the divider being described as a “concrete moat”. Fans that do not have tickets within this premium section in the front rows are not allowed to access it, nor stand behind the dugouts during batting practice to watch players hit or request autographs.”…That’s the New York Yankees management for you, building a moat to separate the 1% from the masses. Another egregious aspect of the new Yankee Stadium is the fact that there are hundreds of seats that have large and crucial parts of the field obscured from view. Management fit so many things like a Hard Rock Cafe and an Indian casino sports bar into the new Yankee Stadium layout, that two large sections – one section in the right-center field stands, and one section in the left-center field stands (see photo above at the right) – cannot see a big chunk of the left field or right field areas (see the satellite image of the new Yankee Stadium [further above] where you can see how the center field restaurant blocks views from the stands on either side of it). $35 to park your car in the lots around the stadium also shows the Yankees organization’s disdain for their fans. The seats-with-blocked-views problem, as well as the fact that some fans are not renewing season tickets because of the poor fan experience at the new stadium, is discussed in the following short article – From the Field of Schemes site, from April 6, 2011, by Neil deMause ‘Yankees fans disguising selves as empty seats again‘. Outside of the left field bleachers area (which are just aluminum slats with no back, more suitable for a high school stadium than for the most successful baseball team on the planet) or nosebleed third deck seats, it is still pretty much a rip-off to attend a Yankees game these days. As a commenter in the post linked to above says, “It’s just not fun when everything costs twice to 10 times more than it should.” And it shows in the gate figures…the New York Yankees, the most successful franchise in North America, the winner of 27 World Series titles, as well as a team that has made 16 out of 17 straight post-season appearances and won the most championships in the last 2 decades (with 5 World Series titles in 17 years)…these Yankees cannot draw higher than 90 percent-capacity. In a stadium whose capacity they reduced by 6,450 from their previous stadium. A previous stadium which had charm to spare and an awesome and historic grandeur, and which, in its final season in 2008, had an average attendance of 53,069 per game (93.2 percent-capacity). Message to Yankees’ management – nice epic fail with your new stadium. Your corporate greed sucked the soul right out of the place. And no thanks at all for tearing down the House that Ruth built.

att-park_san-francisco-giants_c.gif
Photo credit above – marriott.com.

Third-best-drawing in 2011 were the then-reigning champions, the 2010 World Series winning San Francisco Giants, who just missed out playing to full capacity in 2011, at 99.7 percent-capacity. The Giants drew 41,818 per game last season to their 41,915-capacity AT & T Park, a jewel of a ballpark on the shore of San Francisco Bay. The Giants saw a +11.5% increase in attendance after winning their first-ever World Series title as the San Francisco Giants [the New York (baseball) Giants won 5 World Series titles in the years that this franchise was located in Manhattan, NY (from 1883 to 1957)]. The San Francisco Bay area has 2 MLB teams (the Giants and the Oakland A’s) and is the 5th largest combined statistical area in the USA, with (via a 2012 estimate) a population of 8.3 million in the 11-county region (which includes San Francisco/Oakland/San Jose, plus Santa Cruz and San Benito counties), see this ‘San Jose/San Francisco/Oakland, CA Combined Statistical Area‘.

http://billsportsmaps.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/target-field_minnesota-twins_b.gif
Photo credit above – markwhitt at flickr.com.
The fourth-best-drawing ball club in 2011 did not even play .500 baseball, and that was the Minnesota Twins, who drew 39,112 per game in their second season at beautiful Target Field in downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota. Coming from a municipality of their size, the Minnesota Twins have drawn pretty decent over the last decade, even before they had a good venue, wih a 23,759 average in 2002, then starting a 6 post-seasons-in-9-years run and closing their Metrodome era with a 29,486-per-game figure in 2009 (the poor Vikings of the NFL are still stuck in that dump). Nevertheless, one can see the effect a brand-new ballpark has on increasing attendance. The Twins are drawing 39,000 per game, while playing in the 16th largest metro area in the USA. Minneapolis/St. Paul’s metro area population is 3.3 million {2010 figure}. If the Twins rebound and challenge for the post season once again in 2012, they will probably maintain these numbers (they played to 99.0 percent-capacity in 2011).

angel-stadium-of-anaheim_los-angeles-angels_.gif
Image credit above – bing.com/maps/Bird’s Eye satellite view.

Fifth-best-drawing ball club in 2011 were the Los Angeles Angels, who challenged for the post season but eventually fell off the Wild Card pace. In 2011, the Los Angeles Angels did something they had never done in their 52-year history – they outdrew the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Los Angeles Angels averaged 39,090 (which was actually a -2.6% drop from 2010), while the owner-from-hell-plagued Los Angeles Dodgers averaged 36,326 (a drop-off of -17.6%, the worst in MLB; and the Dodgers have dropped fom #1 attendance draw in MLB in 2009 to the #11-highest drawing in 2011, losing 14,000 per game in a 2-year span). The Angels had come close to out-drawing the Dodgers twice before. In 2003, the year after the Angels won their first and only World Series title [in 2002], the team, then called the Anaheim Angels, drew about 1,400 less than the Dodgers, at 37,330 per game (an increase of 8,900 per game versus 2002), while the 2003 LA Dodgers drew 38,748 per game. And in 1987, the year after the Angels had made the playoffs and then agonizingly lost to the Boston Red Sox in the 1986 ALCS, the team, then called the California Angels, averaged 33,288, which was about 1,300 less than the Dodgers, who averaged 34,536 that year (1987). The Los Angeles Angels, along with the Washington Senators (II) [present-day Texas Rangers], were American League expansion teams in 1961, and the Angels spent their first season at the old PCL ballpark Wrigley Field (Los Angeles), before being renters at Dodger Stadium for 4 years from 1962-65. Since 1966, the Angels have played next door to Disneyland in Anaheim, Orange County, California at Anaheim Stadium [now called Angel Stadium at Anaheim, and NFL-free since 1995, thank goodness].

busch-stadium-iii_st-louis-cardinals_c.gif
Photo credit above – Peter Bond at panoramio.com.

Sixth-best-drawing MLB club last season were the 2011 World Series champions the St. Louis Cardinals, who pulled in 39,196 per game, seeing a -6.2% drop in average attendance compared to 2010, and a 86.8 percent-capacity. This is the second time in 7 years that the Cardinals have crept into the playoffs almost anonymously, way below the radar and with the worst record of any playoff team that year, yet then gone on to outlast everyone else and claim the title [the St. Louis Cardinals boast the second-most World Series titles, with 11, second only to the New York Yankees, who have won 27 World Series titles]. From 2005 to 2010, St. Louis had a 6-season run drawing above 40,000 per game, and you can bet that in 2012 the Redbird faithful will swell the ball club’s gate figures this season closer to the 43,975-capacity of Busch Stadium (III). St. Louis, Missouri has the 18th largest metro area in the US, with a metro area population of 2.81 million {2010 figure}. The 18th largest city in the country, with just 2.8 million in the Greater St. Louis area, and the Cardinals are drawing 39 K to 40 K per game, year in, year out – that’s impressive.

miller-park_milwaukee-brewers_famous-racing-sausages_.gif
Photo above by Christian Petersen/Getty Images North America via zimbio.com.

Seventh-best-drawing ball club in 2011 were the Milwaukee Brewers, who drew 37,918 per game (a +10.6% increase over 2010). The Milwaukee Brewers are much like the Minnesota Twins and the St. Louis Cardinals in that all three are Midwest-based ball clubs with a relatively new stadium and a recent record of post season qualification (the Brew Crew have made the playoffs twice in the last 4 years) – and who all draw very well for cities of their size. The metro area population of Milwaukee, Wisconsin is 1.55 million {2010 figure}, making it the 39th largest metro area in the United States [from en.wikipedsia.org, 'Table of United States Metropolitan Statistical Areas']. Miller Park, which opened in 2001, is sort of a surreal venue that features a retractable roof and plenty of open-air vistas thanks to transparent walls, and seems more like an amusement theme park than a ballpark. It has a fan friendly vibe including the Famous Racing Sausages (see above), and mascot Bernie Brewer and his multi-story slide (in the photo above you can just make out the huge, yellow, corkscrewing slide Bernie uses to celebrate Brewer home runs and Brewer victories, between the Chorizo Sausage and the Bratwurrest Sausage) {see this; also see this, from mlb.com, ‘The Famous Racing SausagesTM – A Historical Perspective‘.}. The Brewers can pack them in for a medium-small-sized market, but it must be pointed out that the Milwaukee Brewers have it easier than most MLB clubs when it comes to competition for the sports entertainment dollar – Milwaukee has no NHL team, no Division I college football team (the closet is the Wiscionsin Badgers football team in Madison, WI, which is 72 miles west of Milwaukee), and the closest NFL teams are in Green Bay, Wisconsin and Chicago, Illinois. But still, drawing over 37,000 per game, for 81 baseball games, in only the 39th biggest city in America – hats off to Milwaukee.

_

Thanks to Captain Walrus for the circular logos I used on the map, ‘Captain Walrus’ Circular Logos‘ (http://www.ootpdevelopments.com/board).
Thanks to the contributors to the pages at en.wikipedia.org, ‘Major League Baseball‘; and at the Ballparks of Baseball.com site, for ballpark capacity numbers.
Thanks to Baseball-Reference.com for attendance data from past decades, the following link set at 1987 MLB attendance.
Thanks to ESPN site for 2011 and 2010 attendance figures.

March 31, 2011

Major League Baseball: Attendance map for 2010 regular season, with percent changes from 2009, and percent capacities.

mlb_attendance2010_post_h.gif
2010 MLB attendance map



Please note: to see the most recent MLB paid-attendance map-and-post, click on the following: category: Baseball >paid-attendance.

On the far left of the map page you will find, for all 30 MLB teams, four statistics – A). 2010 attendance figures (for home, regular season games). B). 2010 versus 2009 percentage change in average attendance. C). Ballpark seating capacity. D). 2010 percent capacity [average attendance divided by ballpark capacity].

The map shows each ball club’s location, and their home cap. Each cap is sized to reflect the ball club’s 2010 average attendance.

From the Biz of Baseball site, from March 29, 2011, by Maury Brown, ‘Is MLB Poised to see an Attendance Rebound in 2011?‘.

The New York Yankees drew the highest in 2010, supplanting 2009 attendance leaders the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers had an off-season, and attendance plummeted -5.3 %. Before the New York Yankees new stadium was built (and their capacity shrunk from 56,936 to 50,086), the Yanks were average attendance leaders year-in, year-out for a five-year period (from 2004 to 2008). Before that, the Seattle Mariners were the best-drawing ballclub, from 2001 to 2003. And if that is not surprising enough in context of where the Mariners are today (Seattle was the 19th best draw in the Major Leagues in 2010), then how about the fact that a decade ago, in 2000, the best-drawing ballclub in North America was the now-hapless Cleveland Indians {see this, 2000 MLB attendance, from Baseball-reference.com}. The Cleveland Indians have gone from the best-drawing MLB team to the worst-drawing MLB team in the space of 10 years.

mlb_attendance2010_northeast_b.gif

The largest percentage increase from 2009 to 2010 was with the Minnesota Twins, who had a 35.1 % increase. Second best percentage increase was the 17.9 % increase at the turnstiles that the Cincinnati Reds produced. Third highest increase was the 11.9 % produced by the Texas Rangers. All three of those teams had playoff-qualifying seasons. For the Twins, both playing in their brand new Target Field and being in yet another playoff run contributed to a 100.1% capacity. That made Minnesota one of 3 teams in Major League Baseball to play to full capacity in 2010 [the other two were the Philadelphia Phillies and the Boston Red Sox].

mlb_attendance2010_upper-midwest_b.gif

Minnesota ended up with an average attendance of 39,798 per game – which was 10,332 per game higher than the Twins drew in 2009 in their last season at the dreary Metro Dome. Minnesota had the sixth-best average attendance in Major League Baseball last season. Listed below are the top 10 draws in MLB last year.

Here are the top 10 highest-drawing teams in Major League Baseball in 2010…
1. New York Yankees, 46,091 per game (92.0 % capacity); up +0.4 perecent from 2009.
2. Philadelphia Phillies, 45,027 per game (103.2 % capacity); up +1.3 percent from 2009.
3. Los Angeles Dodgers, 43,979 per game (78.5 % capacity); down -5.3% from 2009.
4. St. Louis Cardinals, 40,755 per game (92.7 % capacity); down -1.7 percent from 2009.
5. Los Angeles Angels, 40,133 per game (89.1 % capacity); up +0.3 percent from 2009.
6. Minnesota Twins, 39,798 per game (100.1 % capacity); up +35.1 percent from 2009.
7. Chicago Cubs, 37,814 per game (91.9 % capacity); down – 4.5 percent from 2009.
8. Boston Red Sox, 37,610 per game (100.6 % capacity); down -0.5 perecent from 2009.
9. San Francisco Giants, 37,499 per game (89.5 % capacity); up +6.2 percent from 2009.
10. Colorado Rockies, 35,940 (71.3 % capacity); up +9.2 percent from 2009.
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Thanks to ESPN, for attendances, here.
Thanks to MLB.com/shop, for ball cap photos.

October 13, 2009

Major League Baseball: attendance map for 2009 regular season.

mlb_attendance-map2009_post_2b.gif



Please note: to see the most recent MLB paid-attendance map-and-post, click on the following: category: Baseball >paid-attendance.

Attendance dropped 6.58% for Major League Baseball in 2009.  {see this article,  from the Biz of Baseball site,  from October 5th, 2009}

Attendance was down for 22 of 30 Major League Baseball clubs.  There were only 8 teams with attendance increases.  They were Texas Rangers (+13.6%),  Florida Marlins (+12.7%),  Kansas City Royals (+12.4%),  Seattle Mariners (+5.7%),  Philadelphia Phillies (+5.2%);  Tampa Bay Rays (+3.9%),  Minnesota Twins (+3.7%),  Los Angelesw Dodgers (+0.8%).

Largest attendance decreases…Toronto Blue Jays (-21.8%),  Washington Nationals (-21.7%),  San Diego Padres (-20.8%),  Detroit Tigers (-19.9%),  Cleveland Indians (-17.6%),  Oakland Athletics (-15.4%),  Arizona Diamondbacks (-15.2%),  Cincinnati Reds (-15.1%),  Houston Astros (-10.4%).

Thanks to ESPN site for the attendance figures {click here}.  Thanks to MLB shop for the cap photos {click here}.

April 7, 2009

Major League Baseball, 2008 attendance map.

mlb_08attendance_map_post.gif



Please note: to see the most recent MLB paid-attendance map-and-post, click on the following: category: Baseball >paid-attendance.

On the map,  each MLB team’s 2008 average attendance is listed on the far right.  On the map itself, each ball club’s cap crest is sized to reflect their 2008 gate figures.   Last season’s overall attendance was the second highest ever,  at 32,516 per game, 1.4% behind the record-setting figures of 2007.

Here are the top 5 drawing ball clubs from 2008, and their gate figures from five seasons before, in 2003…

[One note...In 2008, the Boston Red Sox drew to 104.0% capacity, and the Chicago Cubs drew to 99.1% capacity  {capacity-based 2008 gate figures , here}.  Both these ball clubs have smaller sized parks than the top 5 teams listed below.  Of course,  much of the charm of Boston's Fenway Park and Chicago's Wrigley Field is just this intimate (and well-aged) atmosphere,  so it is sort of pointless to debate whether these two clubs would be pulling in top-5-drawing-ball-club numbers if their parks were bigger.  Because if their parks were bigger,  the two ball clubs wouldn't be playing in Fenway and Wrigley, but rather in new ball parks, because there is basically no room for significant expansion at both sites. And both the Red Sox and the Cubs would be crazy to move out of these priceless landmarks.]

1. New York Yankees. 2008: 53,069 per game / 2003: 42,785 [1st highest].  I remember going to Yankees games in the early 1990′s, when there would never be more than 25,000 on a weekday game. In 1990 , the Yankees averaged 24,771 per game. After the New York Yankees’ dominance of the 1996-2000 period (with 4 World Series Titles and 4 AL Pennants in 5 years), the crowds swelled.  By 2000,  the Yankees were averaging 38,193. There followed average gates of 40,811 (2001), 43,323 (2002), 42,263 (2003), 46,609 (2004), 50,502 (2005), 52,445 (2006), and 52,729 (2007).

The Yankees’ on-field failures in the latter part of the last five seasons have not in the least affected their gigantic crowds, but of course the gate figures will go down this season only because the new Yankee Stadium has a smaller capacity. Yankee Stadium (II) seats 52,325, around 4,100 less than the final capacity of  the old Yankee Stadium.  Compare this to the situation in the late 1980′s and early 1990′s.  After the Yankees great run in the late 1970′s and early 1980′s,  the organization started spending unwisely on a revolving door of over-the-hill players and/ or players unable to handle the full-glare media presence in New York City. The team underachieved for years, and fans just stopped showing up. People like to be associated with a winner. Of course, the Yankees did make the playoffs every season from 1995 to 2007,  and in comparison,  the Yankees did not make the playoffs from 1982 to 1994.  So even if the team plays in the most populous metropolitan area in the USA, the sparse crowds of the 1980′s and early 1990′s are understandable. 

The new stadium probably assures attendances won’t fall off, even if the Yankees continue to fall short of a successsful season…except for one crucial factor. That is the combination of increased ticket prices coming at a time of a severe economic downturn.  I guess we’ll see. One thing should be remembered: even in the Yankees’ greatest eras, their attendance was not as good as it has been in the last 12 years.

When Roger Maris hit his 61st home run on the last day of the 1961 season, there were just 23,154 in attendance (the Yankees averaged 21,577 that year, and that was a championship season). 

Many call the 1927 Yankees (featuring Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Bob Muesel, and Tony Lazzeri, aka “Murderers’ Row” {see this}) one of the (if not the ) greatest-ever baseball lineups.  Average attendance in Yankee Stadium in 1927 ?  15,117 per game {see this, from Baseball-Reference.com}. OK, granted, the bulk of home games then were during working hours, and NYC was far less populous than today. But still.

In 1978, the World Champion Yankees drew merely 28,855 per game en route to their second straight title. The Yankees’ highest gate figures through the 1970′s and 1980′s was in 1980, when the AL Pennant winning Yankees drew 32,437 per game.  So when was the Golden Age of Baseball? If you measure that by gate figures, we’re living in it. 

Here is Wikipedia’s page on the new Yankee Stadium {click here}.

2. New York Mets. 2008: 51,165 / 2003: 28,406 [16th highest in MLB]. In 2001, the year after the Mets last won the NL Pennant, the ball club drew 32,818 per game. Their average gate then shrunk by over 4,000 to 28,406 by 2003. This was in the bottom half of the league, at 16th highest. But the franchise turned this around mainly by improving their squad… By 2007, with their new crop of players coming into their own and bringing excitement to the dreary, unfriendly and jet-flight-path-cacaphonous confines of Shea Stadium (the place sucked,  basically), the crowds for Mets games increased dramatically (41,723 per game in 2006; 47,580 per game in 2007). And two straight seasons of choking in September will not hurt the gate figures this season. Nevertheless, the figures will go down, because like their cross-town rivals, the Mets are moving into a shiny new ball park with a smaller capacity. But it seems to me the Mets made their new park a bit too small.  Citi Field will seat just 42,000, which is 15,000 less than Shea Stadium, and 9,165 less than what the Mets drew last season. Maybe it won’t matter, and gate figures will start falling anyways, if the divided-by-cultures (Anglo players vs. Latin players) Mets team continues to meltdown when it matters most.  Here is a nice article about how crucial the 2009 season is for the Mets, by ex-Deadspin.com editor Will Leitch, from the March 15, 2009 edition of New York Magazine  {click here}.

3. Los Angeles Dodgers. 2008: 46,056 / 2003: 38,748 [4th highest]. A couple years ago, there was talk about how the Angels were starting to challenge the Dodgers for fan-base supremacy in southern California. But the Angels, as improved an organization as they are in the last decade, will probably never outdraw the Dodgers. Dodger Stadium is simply an incredible place. The entire stadium is re-painted every off-season, it is perpetually spic-and-span, and it is home to a ball club with as much tradition, history, and (eventual) success as any in the baseball world. And the voice of the Dodgers is the venerable and mellifluous Vin Scully. My brother told me about a Dodgers blog he came across called Vin Scully Is My Homeboy {click here}, which pretty much answers the question of whether the LA Dodgers will be able to tap into the ever-growing Latino baseball fan market, now that the Angels are owned by a Latin American.

4. St. Louis Cardinals. 2008: 42,353 / 2003: 35,930 [7th highest]. Speaking about first class organizations and huge fan bases, the Cardinals have drawn over 30,000 per game in 21 of their last 24 seasons. In the late 1970′s they were stagnating, though, and drew only 17,101 per game in 1980. The Cardinals won their ninth World Series title two seasons later, in 1982, and drew 26,073 per game that year. By 1985, the NL Pennant winning Cardinals were drawing 32,563 per game. Since then, the only years the ball club has drawn below 30,000 per game were in 1991 and 1992, when they drew in the 29,000′s; and in the strike-shortened 1995 season, when manager Joe Torre was fired midway through the season and the team finished 62-81 (the Cardinals drew 24, 344 per game that year). The next season, 1996, current manager Tony LaRussa took over, and the team’s fortunes and gate figures began their ascent. It is ironic to consider that the Cardinals had their worst recent year at the gate when Joe Torre was in charge, since Torre was the man who managed the Yankees to their last 4 Titles and shepherded the Bronx ball club into their most lucrative period ever. 

But getting back to St. Louis…their huge fan base has only gotten bigger after the opening of Busch Stadium (III) in 2006 {see the stadium’s page on Wikipedia, here}, and their surprise World Series title later that year. It was a surprise because that Cardinals team had peaked 2 seasons earlier, and at just 83-78, the 2006 Cardinals squeaked into the playoffs, where they shocked the Mets (who have never recovered) thanks to a late 7th game home run by weak hitting catcher Yadier Molina {recap, here}. The Cardinals, now veterans of the post-season grind, then used that momentum to dismantle the upstart Detroit Tigers in the Fall Classic, 4 games to 1. The 2006 St. Louis Cardinals became the team with the least amount of victories to ever win the World Series; it is their 10th World Series title, second to only the New York Yankees 27 World Series Titles.

5. Philadelphia Phillies. 2008: 42,254 / 2003: 28,973 [14th highest in MLB].  The Phillies went through decades of futility sprinkled with periods of disappointment, with only one World Series title (in 1980) in over 120 years of existence.  But last October, they buried a good deal of that negativity by bestowing the city of Philadelphia with it’s first major league sports title in 30 years. There are three factors which contributed to the Philadelphia Phillies’ near-100% capacity gate figures last year. First off, the club has had 7 out of 8 winning seasons since 2001.  Secondly, the city has always boasted committed (if ill-mannered) fans. And third, the Phillies moved into a new ball park in 2004 {Citizens Bank Park page at Wikipedia, here}.

The Phillies were drawing in the 30,000′s in the years leading up to their first championship in 1980. But the large crowds fell away as the years went by after that, and the franchise reached a level of mediocrity in a god-awful ugly Veterans Stadium that moldered in it’s concrete-encased,  plastic-turf covered gloom.  Te hugely entertaining NL Pennant winning Phillies of 1993, led by such colorful characters as John Kruk,  Mitch Williams,  and Kurt Schilling, produced a two-year spike in gate figures, with the ball club pulling in 38,737 per game in 1993. The next season showed almost the same figures, but by 1997, the ball club was in the basement, and the average gate was only 18,403.  The Phillies’ record improved in the years from 1998 to 2003 on a generally uphill progression, and the gate figures improved too, but not drastically, with the high point here being the last year in Veterans Stadium, 2003, with an average crowd of 27,901. 

Still that’s not half-bad for a horrible stadium,  perhaps the worst of it’s ilk,  which was the now-dreaded multi-purpose,  circular concrete stadium  {see this} {see this, on Veterans Stadium,  from BallParksOfBaseball.com site}. City planners thought they were pretty smart,  building stadiums for both their MLB and NFL teams. What they didn’t really look into was the fact that these stadiums were doomed to be lousy venues for both sports. 

These monstrosities plagued Major League Baseball throughout the 1960′s, the 1970′s, the 1980′s,  and into the mid-1990′s. There is little doubt, in retrospect, that this type of stadium began depressing baseball attendance figures by the mid 1980′s, when these stadiums began to age in a rather ungraceful way, and baseball fans began wondering why they weren’t being allowed to see their city skylines hidden behind a wall of usually empty outfield seats.  So much of the whole attraction of going to a ball game is the unique aspect of each ballpark, a factor which was eliminated by these multi-purpose behemoths. Sight lines were bad, and the seats were invariably too far away from the action on the field. And they were freaking ugly. In the multi-purpose heyday, circa 1985 or so,  about 40% of MLB cities were afflicted by these concrete purgatories…San Francisco, Oakland,  San Diego, Seattle, Houston, St. Louis, Minneapolis, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Montreal, and New York (the Mets’ Shea Stadium). The only two that remain are the Minnesota Twins’ Metrodome, and the Oakland Athletics’ Oakland-Alameda County Stadium; and the Twins will be moving into a new, suitably retro-themed open-air ballpark called Target Field, next year {see this}. 

Oakland’s situation, though, is fraught with difficulties. When the NFL’s Raiders moved back to Oakland from Los Angeles (in 1995), the stadium got a Frankenstein makeover that left the Athletics fans behind home plate having to stare at a Death-Star-like structure looming behind center field, a sheer wall of nose-beed football seats that was soon dubbed “Mount Davis”, after the Raiders’ Mephistophelian owner, Al Davis {see this}. Something tells me this issue will never go away, and the A’s will have to move to Sacramento or Las Vegas, or learn to live with Mount Davis.

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All baseball fans owe a huge debt to the Baltimore Orioles organization of the early 1990′s, which oversaw the creation of the trailblazing Oriole Park at Camden Yards {see the ball park’s page at Wikipedia, here}. Since then 11 MLB franchises have followed suit by building similar asymetrical ballparks which a) maintain a traditional feel,  while b) being coupled with modern amenities {see this list}. And which have nothing to do with the damn NFL.

Thanks to ESPN for the attendance figures {click here}.  Thanks to Baseball-Reference.com for attendance figures from earlier seasons {click here (set at 1990)}.   Thanks to the contributors to the pages at Wikipedia {MLB page, here}

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