Attendance Numbers Surprisingly Stable
Well, didn't see this coming. After all the hubbub about lost ticket revenue and concern over declining attendance, the first month's attendance numbers are in ... and they're surprisingly good. According to April's statistics, the sum total of tickets sold for April games was down only 287 people from 2008. That's right, 287 people, not 28.7 percent, or even 2.87 percent. Two-hundred eighty-seven people.
Jayson Stark wrote the piece that broke down all the figures for espn.com, which does have some discouraging news for local teams. According to MLB, the Nationals and Tigers are the two teams who have been significantly hit, down 9,000 fans per game each. That's bad news, and it's probably not going to get any better for the Nats, at least until they start winning more games (i.e., pull for Strasburg, the development of Zimmermann and a whole lot of hitting).
The Tigers, on the other hand, have a better shot at turning around their slumping sales. According to Stark, the Tigers have gone places the Nats haven't yet, allowing former season ticket holders to partner with other fans as a way to sell the portion of their tickets that they don't want.
As for everyone else, well, front row seats at Yankee Stadium aside, most of those seats have butts in them, as it turns out. Now the question shifts to whether those fans will keep showing up, or if the continuity was a function of America connecting with one of the biggest parts of its own cultural heritage, at a time when the more things stay the same, the better Americans can feel about ongoing financial gloom and doom.
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