Michael Schmidt of the NY Times wrote an article that was published yesterday on the declining attendance across Major League Baseball, and noted that the New York Mets have been leading the way.
Here is an excerpt:
A year after moving into a sparkling new $800 million stadium, the Mets have the most home victories in the major leagues, but neither their stadium nor their record is translating into box-office success.
After 22 home games, attendance at Citi Field is down 6,852 fans a game, the largest decline by number in Major League Baseball. That translates to an average of 31,892 fans at games this season compared with 38,744 last season.
The Mets tried to prevent a drop-off by cutting ticket prices as much as 20 percent after last season, but signs of trouble quickly became apparent. When the team submitted its monthly report to the commissioner’s office in March, ticket sales dropped 40 percent from the same period a year earlier.
Dave Howard, the Mets’ executive vice president for business operations, blamed the early-season decline on bad weather in April, the team’s disappointing play in recent years and the economic downturn. (The weather in April was warmer and drier than normal in the New York area.)
Thoughts: There are a couple of things here. First of all, fans were eager to see the stadium when it first opened last season, and most of that enthusiasm has not carried over into this season for a number of reasons (the April weather was probably not a huge factor).
The biggest reasons fans were not enthusiastic to make it out to Citi Field so far this season was that ticket prices were high, very high, last season, and the team was just not that good. It’s not hard to imagine some fans wanting to wait and make their second trip when they know they might see a good product on the field if they have to pay such high prices.
The did lower prices this year, but they also started off so poorly. When the Mets opened their first big home stand, they barely had Jose Reyes back and the team was in the dumps. The Mets are over .500 for now, and if they can sustain that success fans will slowly come back.
The thing about this article is it is entirely true. Fans aren’t coming right now compared to last season. But this is a fan base that has been bitten. There are things to be excited about in Flushing right now, and slowly fans will realize that and start packing the new stadium again.
Essentially what I’m saying is: the numbers might be down now, but given an entire season they should rebound.
What are your thoughts?
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