Though they have been competitive in 2012, holding first place in the AL Central for 43 days this season, the Cleveland Indians have struggled to get fans to buy tickets for games at Progressive Field. The Indians rank 30th (that is last for newbies) in Major League Baseball in attendance, averaging 18,298 fans over 36 home dates as the team heads into the last two games against the Cincinnati Reds at Progressive Field on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Those 18,298 fans are 1,100 fans per game fewer than the 29th ranked Oakland A's. Based on the average ticket price, the Indians have the seventh lowest average ticket price, $20.42, in MLB. Along with that, the Indians provide the ninth lowest fan cost index (FCI) in baseball, $173.66, which is comprised of four adult average-price tickets, two small draft beers, four small soft drinks, four regular size hot dogs, parking for one car, two game programs and two of the least expensive, adult-sized caps (via Team Marketing Report).
While the FCI is up just 1.6 percent (the league average was up 2.4 percent), the Indians average ticket price went up 10.4 percent, (the league average was 0.0 percent since it went up just one cent). This isn't to say that the lack of attendance has anything to do with the prices or the play on the field, but whatever the reasons are for Progressive Field to be filled just 42.1 percent of each home game in 2012, the Indians need to find ways to fix it.
Attendance leads the revenue of a small-market team, and if the gates aren't churning, it is very unlikely that the Indians will be able to "improve" through free agency. Here, we'll take a look at ways the Indians can increase attendance over the remainder of the 2012 season.