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The Race to 3 Million Fans in Major League Baseball PDF Print E-mail
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David Simmons Article Archive
Written by David Simmons   
Monday, 05 September 2011 11:53

3 Million Fans?

Every season at this time of year, fans begin staring at the standings more closely as the season begins winding to its conclusion. With not much to be desired in some pennant races, we offer up the suggestion to feel free to take a look at the box office race.

Three million tickets sold for a team is a huge statement to make to your sponsors, business partners, and the general health of the league. Overall, league attendance is trending a tad bit upwards with 16 teams up over last year and 2 teams (Nationals & Diamondbacks) even that should be able to end the year up with the D-Backs in a position to win the NL West and Stephen Strasburg about to return for the Nats. Ironically, my April prediction article seems to be spot on. Attendance is up, with revenues most likely down due to large markets (Dodgers, Cubs, Mets) being responsible for many ticketing decreases. September is a tough time to sell tickets unless you’re in a pennant race. With the NFL and schools back in session, it is very hard for non-competing teams to draw fans to the ballpark. The following teams look to have no problem selling or have already sold 3 million tickets this season. Remember the magic number is 37,500 given that you don’t want to need to have the 81st game for weather/standings reasons.

Philadelphia - 3,095,663 seats sold or an average of 45,524/game with 13 home games remaining

NY Yankees – 3,105,501 seats sold or an average of 45,007/game with 12 home games remaining

San Francisco – 2,969,605 seats sold or an average of 41,825/game with 10 home games remaining

Minnesota – 2,683,654 seats sold or an average of 39,465/game with 10 home games remaining.

LA Angles – 2,653,844 seats sold or an average of 39,027/game with 13 homes games remaining

Milwaukee – 2,568,154 seats sold or an average of 37,219/game with 12 home games remaining. (Note that the team has announced 3 million seats sold last week as predicted prior).

And now for those on the border of 3 million with only a few homes games left….

St. Louis – 2,579,657 seats sold or an average of 37,936/game with 13 homes games left

Even out of the pennant chase, the team still has 8 of its 13 homes game on a weekend. It’s going to go down to the 81st game for them.

Boston – 2,639,201 seats sold or an average of 37,702/game with 11 homes games left

Riding a 700 game sellout streak and a divisional battle with the Yanks, expect the Sox to finish over 3 million.

Chicago Cubs – 2,650,505 seats sold or an average of 37,331/game with 10 home games left

Sorry Mr. Ricketts, it appears you are headed under 3 million Cubs fans for the first time since 2003.

LA Dodgers – 2,604,055 seats sold or an average of 36,676 per game with 10 home games left. Per April prediction, it appears for the first time since 2000, the team will fall under 3 million in paid attendance.

Colorado Rockies – 2,456,399 seats sold or an average of 36,123 per game with 13 home games left

Out the race, they will likely end up below 3 million, but up a thousand fans a game from last season

Texas Rangers – 2,576,682 seats sold or an average of 35,787 per game with 9 home games left

This is the one worth watching the closest. Up an astronomical 5,200 in paid attendance per game over last year, there are 6 weekend games left in a pennant race. It would take 47,000 fans a game with capacity at a shade over 49,000 a night over those 9 games to hit 3 million. If they hit 3 million they will be a top team in attendance overtaking the Rockies and Dodgers. As much as the baseball operations and team would to play the 163rd game at home it would do wonders for 2012 marketing if they end up falling short of the 3 million mark.

Keep an eye on the The Biz of Baseball for an interesting look at potential future ticketing innovations over the next few years.


David SimmonsDavid Simmons is a graduate of the University of Central Florida who worked in the front office of the Los Angeles Dodgers over 4 seasons and has a decade of ticketing experience.. He serves as CFO for Players For The Planet and currently resides in Baltimore. You can follow David on Twitter @davidesimmons

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