Watching the Rockies and D-Backs game last night, and watching Ubaldo Jimenez pitch another masterful game, I couldn’t help noticing all the empty seats at Coors Field.
The weather was good in Denver yesterday, and the Rockies ACE was on the mound (man, I love to say the Rox have an ace!) so why all the empty seats? Are the empty seats at Coors Field a concern? Is Denver not excited about this Rockies team?
Predicted to win the N.L. West before the season started, they are currently only two games over .500, and have just moved past the Giants into third place. Has this slow and frustrating start dampened ticket sales?
Let’s look at attendance figures as we’ve hit the quarter point of the season.
Attendance across Major League Baseball is down as a whole, but even as a major league total, attendance is only off 570 people per game. That is a pretty small variance, when we are talking average game attendance is 28,383 people per game.
Of some concern is of baseball's 30 teams, 20 have decreases in attendance.
The good news, is the Rockies are not one of those 20 teams. Perception of those empty seats does not match up with reality.
The Rockies are actually UP in attendance in 2010 over 2009. 2009 as you will recall was a terrible start to the season. So bad, it got Clint Hurdle fired, at this time last year.
The Rockies were also coming off a very disappointing 2008. In 2009, the Rockies average game attendance was 27,427 people through 20 home games.
The Rox have to date played exactly 20 games at home the same as in 2009, but the average attendance has been 28,752 or an increase per game of 1,325.
The Rockies currently rank sixth in all of baseball in average attendance change, with only five teams doing better on the season than the Rockies. In order one to five in attendance increase: Minnesota and their new ballpark, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Detroit, and San Francisco. But being sixth is pretty good, when you consider that there are 24 teams doing worse than the Rockies in attendance.
In 2009, the Rockies finished 12th in total attendance for the year among the major league teams. This year, the Rockies are ranked 11th in total attendance.
Also of note, the Sunday, May 16 game against the Washington Nationals, the Denver faithful turned out in droves. The Rockies had one of their biggest walk up ticket sales days of all time, and the attendance that Sunday afternoon was 42,874.
The love affair is not over. It’s just May. School will be out soon, and people will be taking vacations. People will come from the plains to see the mountains, and they’ll stop in Denver and take in a Rockies game. The locals will start paying attention, and spending their summer evenings at the ball park. The seats will be filled. The season tickets will be used.
So kids, the Rockies are doing just fine in attendance. There is no reason to panic. The Rockies aren’t going to have to slash payroll, or charge $10 a beer to cover Todd Helton’s salary. It turns out the Rockies will be just fine charging $7 a beer.
Or as Terrance Mann once said:
“They’ll arrive at COORS FIELD as innocent as children, longing for the past. Of course, we won’t mind if you look around, you’ll say. It’s only $20 per person. They’ll pass over the money without even thinking about it: for it is money they have and peace they lack. And they’ll walk out to the bleachers; sit in shirtsleeves on a perfect afternoon.
"They’ll find they have reserved seats somewhere along one of the baselines, where they sat when they were children and cheered their heroes. And they’ll watch the game and it’ll be as if they dipped themselves in magic waters.
"The memories will be so thick they’ll have to brush them away from their faces. People will come, Ray.”
And a nice pennant run will help get ‘em excited too!
God, I love baseball.
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