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Marlins Attendance Worst for New Ballpark Since 2000 PDF Print E-mail
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Ticket & Attendance Watch
Written by Maury Brown   
Thursday, 04 October 2012 12:59

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UPDATED: Miller Park was accidentally omitted from the table below. We apologize for an inconvience.
It was a “good news/bad news” season for the Miami Marlins. They began the 2011-12 off-season as sparkling darlings at the Baseball Winter Meetings, seemingly involved in nearly every free agent derby, and eventually landing Jose Reyes (6 years/$106 million (2012-17), plus 2018 option), Heath Bell (3 years/$27 million (2012-14), plus 2015 option, and Mark Buehle (4 years/$58 million (2012-15)) to deals. Along the way, they picked up Carlos Zambrano and Carlos Lee, not the best signings, but still, an improvement over what the club had done in years past.

Of course, it was all fueled by the fact that the club was moving into a new market and a new stadium. In doing so, as is always the case, there would be an attendance bounce. Given a retractable-roof, a baseball-only facility, and better demographics in Miami, a sizeable attendance boost was expected.

With the 2012 season in the books, it can be said that the Marlins saw a sizeable bump from their last season in Sun Life Stadium, averaging 27,400 compared to 19,007 in 2011. It ranks as MLB’s largest average increase for the season at 44.16 percent.

As attendance for a new ballpark opening, it’s historic… as in a bad way.

There have been 14 new ballparks opened in MLB since 2000 and the Marlins will have the dubious distinction of having the worst average attendance for a new opening out of the lot. You have to go to the Washington Nationals at 29,005, or 1,605 per game more to get to the 12th worst. Yes, Washington, D.C. is a top-five market, so it isn’t exactly like this is something the Nationals should be proud of back in 2008. Nationals Park is also larger, so the Marlins are saved by one metric (the Nats total attendance rank for their opening year was worst (20th) with the Marlins (18th) coming is second to last).  Nationals Park is also open-air, meaning less walk-ups due to rainouts, rain delays, or the threat of bad weather. You can make excuses for either market, but the point is, it’s a matter of comparing “bad” to “worse.”

The following is a listing of new ballpark openings ranked by worst to first by average attendance in that season, and the rank by total attendance.

Who

Opened

Avg

Rank

Miami

4/4/2012

27,400

18

Washington

3/22/2008

29,005

20

Cinncinati

3/31/2003

29,077

13

Pittsburgh

3/31/2001

30,839

17

Detroit

4/11/2000

31,280

17

Milwaukee 4/6/2001 34,704 12

San Diego

4/8/2004

37,243

9

Houston

4/7/2000

37,730

9

New York Mets

3/29/2009

38,941

7

Minnesota

4/12/2010

39,798

6

Philadelphia

4/3/2004

40,626

5

San Francisco

3/31/2000

40,930

3

St. Louis

4/10/2006

42,588

3

New York Yankees

4/4/2012

45,918

2


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He writes for Baseball Prospectus and is a contributor to Forbes. He is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network (select his name in the dropdown provided).

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