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Demystifying When a Sellout Isn’t a Sellout, and Ticket-Selling Tricks of the Trade PDF Print E-mail
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Ticket & Attendance Watch
Written by Maury Brown and David Simmons   
Wednesday, 25 May 2011 14:57

TIf you go to a sporting event, somewhere between the time when you get situated and when start heading back for home, you look around at the crowd and take it in. Is the crowd electrified for the home team? Has the town turned out in support? How's the attendance?

For clubs across the major sports leagues in North America, attendance is one of – if not the – key revenue streams.

But, it’s more.

Have a bunch of sellouts, and it drives sponsorships. Come up short in the NFL, and you have television blackouts. The number reported in Major League Baseball determines factors as it pertains to revenue-sharing.

In other words, attendance is a big deal.

But, here’s the thing: since attendance has become such a key component for sports leagues, the actual idea that it shows how many people are actually at a game is a fantasy. Here’s some ins and outs of the attendance game based on research by the BizofBaseball.com for Forbes SportsMoney.

Paid Attendance is not “attendance”

If you followed the business of sports, you’ll know that about 20 years ago, the move to count tickets sold, as opposed to turnstile clicks, became what is reported in the boxscores. The reason – wholly done for accounting purposes for the clubs – showed what matters to owners most: money.

In the age of legitimate ticket resale, more emphasis on corporate sales, blocks of premium seating, etc. how many people actually come to the game is not nearly as important as whether there are tickets sold. Sure it matters who goes, but ticket sales, especially in advance, gives cost certainty.

This issue, one might contend, creates revisionist history. Ask yourself: in 20 years when a budding student is taking sports business classes and is asked to say whether the sport was popular or not, don’t you think pointing to published attendance figures will be used to talk of its popularity? In that sense, we can only say how willing consumers, which includes large and small businesses, were willing to purchase tickets, not how many actually attended the live sporting event.

Fudging the numbers

The NFL’s blackout policy has helped drive artificial attendance across the league. Faced with a “sell it out, or it’s blacked out” mandate, those clubs that are near the edge of not being sold out have seen actions that artificially reach sellout numbers.

A great case was last year when restaurateur Russell J. Salvatore made a last-minute purchase of 7,000 to 8,000 tickets so that the season finale for the Buffalo Bills would not be blacked out. Normally, corporations step in, or even the club itself, will purchase tickets, to reach the sellout number. But, clearly, Salvatore was a hero on the last day of the regular season for Bills fans.

The problem is, the NFL will tout how well received the game of football is at stadiums around the country. Those sellout figures drive sponsorship deals.

And, it’s not just the NFL.

The Florida Marlins got into the artificial inflation act by selling tickets to a game already played. The club sold over 3,500 tickets to Roy Halladay’s perfect game when the Phillies visited Florida in June of last season. As noted, because money collected -- even for a game already played -- from this venture counts toward ticket sales revenue, it is subject to Major League Baseball’s revenue sharing rules, which doesn’t mean a whole lot if you’re the Marlins. After all, they’ve been one of MLB’s largest benefactors of revenue-sharing, and one of the most profitable.

When is a sellout not a sellout

If you polled 100 fans and asked them what a sellout of a sporting event meant to them, chances are all would say, “Every seat is the house was sold.”

Well...

In terms of Major League Baseball, sellout figures are often well below seating capacity.

Case in point, the Cleveland Indians announced last Friday that they reached a sellout for Saturday’s interleague game with the Reds, the first non-Opening Day sellout since May 24, 2008 when they played the Texas Rangers. But, when the numbers came in, you had to scratch your head.

Capacity for Progressive Field is 43,545. The announced attendance was 40,631, or 2,914 short of capacity. Sellout?

In speaking with the Indians, they explained part of the difference by saying their sellout threshold varies, but 41,721 is a good barometer, getting us to 1.090 shy of a sellout, but not to capacity.

Why the difference?

According to the Indians, that threshold was broken with comps related to several factors including rainout exchanges, Club Seat benefit for season ticket holders, group leader tickets, fan appreciation coupons from last Sept, etc.

But, that still doesn’t explain how all the variation. As an MLB source said, "We need to look into this."

As Major League Baseball was quick to point out, if the Indians declare the game a sellout, it means no more tickets can be sold. If you want to say it’s a sellout when it isn’t a sellout, you do so at the determent of the bottom-line.

Still, one could say that after having such a difficult time getting attendance up to the level of what is now baseball’s most winning team, being able to say you sold a game out gets you good PR mileage.

And, each club controls how the threshold is set. For the Angels, it’s 43,500 (ballpark capacity is 45,281). And for the Rays, it’s exactly the seating capacity of Tropicana Field (36,973).

On the Rays… One might consider that if you’re looking for a new ballpark, then showing low sellout numbers actually helps you make your case that you need a new facility.

In fairness to MLB, this isn’t just something they do. You have no idea what real attendance is in other sports where there’s no checks and balances. Asked about the large variations on how clubs determine the sellout figure, Major League Baseball referred to ballpark structure as the reason.

“There are different criteria for different ballparks,” said Patrick Courtney, MLB’s Sr. VP of Media Relations.” Ballparks with a high volume of suites or with larger bleacher, general admission, and/or standing room areas would most likely have the largest variations on a game by game basis in capacity.”

How do you fill a ballpark past 100%?

The Phillies have sold out every home game this season – 19 and counting, thus far. Based on our “when is a sellout not a sellout” if you asked whether the Phillies have been below capacity, the answer is, no. In fact, it’s much more than that.

The Phillies have not only sold out every game, they’ve sold to over 100% of seating capacity? How is this possible?

Standing-room only tickets count toward paid attendance, and with it, the Phillies have sold a bunch, as well as the Red Sox, and the Cubs.

On the Cubs, while they do not officially report whether games have been sold out, they inform The Biz of Baseball and Forbes that unofficially they  typically hit standing-room-only stage with a paid crowd in excess of 39,000 or so. Based upon those figures, the Cubs would have 3 games thus far this season above that threshold.

Is it "cooking the books", or creative marketing?

We’ve mentioned how the NFL can creatively benefit from the blackout policy, but there are other methods, as well.

Leagues do all kinds of promotions to get you to go to their games. For baseball, with its 81 home games, the ability to draw fans is paramount.

Any ticket sold, no matter the price, is considered paid attendance. Unlike the NFL, NHL, and NBA, where comps are counted against total attendance, Major League Baseball does not count them.

Still, according to sources, there are tricks to get attendance a bounce, or reach a sellout threshold. As one source mentioned, “In baseball, there are a number of ways to cook the books.” That seems a bit disingenuous. But, there are plenty of creative ways that are used to get numbers up while those getting the tickets aren't paying full price. When it comes to sellouts, free tickets can be good tickets.

Here’s 13 ways ticket sellers and clubs get creative to push up numbers:

  • Sell standing-room only tickets first at a reduced rate to reach a sellout threshold before selling seats in the bowl.
  • On season tickets, deeply discount tickets, offer “Buy 2 get 2 deals” or offer pay-as-you-go season tickets. Tickets are tickets. Getting you to close the deal is imperative.
  • For group tickets, offer 50 to 70 percent off weekday early season.
  • Sponsors get tickets. Each team has 50 to 100 sponsors times 4 to 8 tickets each is 200 to 800 potentially paid season ticket buyers.
  • On those sellouts, employees get comps. The front offices have 75 to 150 full-time employees plus innumerable number of part-time staff that could potentially "comp out" 300 to 2000 seats a night
  • Player coaches and retired player comps.
  • Visiting team comps - 4 times 35 players per game whether used or unused.
  • Umpire comps - 4 Umps equals 16 tickets per game per Umps contract
  • Commissioner’s Initiative - requires each team to donate 50 or 100k tickets per year to lower income charities. While this doesn’t impact paid attendance, it can push the needle up for sellouts.
  • Voucher redemption - offer free or virtually free discounted tickets through sponsor store or product
  • Team charities – The league sends out thousands of tickets to games to local charities via team, seats sold to charity at pennies so they are sold then written off by team.
  • Internet - Similar to groups like Travel Zoo, Groupon, etc.  Offer deep discounting on 3rd party website to push inventory
  • Military Night – Many are offering free tickets, which is a great gesture as it doesn’t count as paid attendance. But, not all. For example, the Orioles just announced a $3 discount deal off of all tickets for all military (active, retired and reserve) and their families, which bumps up paid attendance.

Is it Right?

If you’re asking whether this is all right or wrong, the answer is, it depends on the point of view. Some are shady, while the ticket seller for a club says, “we’re creative to bring fans in.” Fair enough.

But, when you read the boxscore or hear that a game is sold out, think again. Remember it’s all about the money these days, and what the public sees as attendance figure and the actual number of butts in the seats are assuredly two different things. Don't ever confuse the two.


SPECIAL BUSINESS OF SPORTS NETWORK REPORTS:
The Labor Battle in the NFL. See BizOfFootball.com for details

Welcome to the 2011 Business of Sports Network Autism Challenge


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, as well as a contributor to FanGraphs and Forbes SportsMoney. He is available for hire or freelance. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

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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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MLB Attendance Tracker for Mon. 5/23: Josh Hamilton MVP Figurine, Detroit Tigers Salsa Bowl Highlight Promos PDF Print E-mail
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Ticket & Attendance Watch
Written by Maury Brown   
Tuesday, 24 May 2011 15:21
Hamilton Figureine
Welcome back, Hammy. This promo tops
Monday's list

It’s amazing what happens when you put the word “free” on most anything. Something of little value in your garage can be put on the street with a “free” sign on it, and more often than not, it’s gobbled up in seconds.

Major League promotions (for the most part), aren’t “garbage”, they’re keepsakes that you can look back on in a few months or many years from now and remember your time at the ballpark.

If promotions are your thing, then Monday’s are probably the time to go.

Case in point, Monday’s slate of 10 games had 6 of them with promos. In seriousness, you can’t call the memorial activities that the Twins did for the late Harmon Killebrew a “promotion”, but it surely brought more people to what has historically been baseball’s hardest day of the week to draw.

BowlIn what can truly be called “promotion” you have dollar hot dogs at two ballparks (Phillies, Twins). But, the winner of the day surely goes to the Josh Hamilton MVP Figurine followed by something a bit different… The Detroit Tigers Salsa Bowl that was given to the first 10,000 fans.

How did that tip the attendance scales? Well…

There was (another) sellout for the Phillies, and the Twins coming close to one, but overall, ballparks were filled to 67 percent of capacity for the first set of intraleague games after the first series of interleague. That’s still better than last Monday which saw paid attendance at 53 percent above capacity.

In other words, as the weather warms, so does attendance. “We’re almost exactly where we were at last year,” said a league source.

Here’s the breakdown, along with all the promotions that took place, on Monday:

Visitor

Home

Mon's
Attendance

Capacity

Sell-Thru

Notes

CIN

PHI

45,841

43,647

105%

Sellout. Hatfield Phillies Franks Dollar Dog Night

SEA

MIN

37,498

39,504

95%

Twins honor late legend Harmon Killebrew with a special pregame ceremony. Add #3 flag on the Twins Territory flag. #3 on the infield dirt. Schweigert Dollar-A-Dog Day

TOR

NYY

41,946

50,287

83%

$5 Games Ticket Special. Family Game Ticket Special

OAK

LAA

36,215

45,281

80%


CHW

TEX

30,861

49,170

63%

Josh Hamilton MVP Figurine

LAD

HOU

22,579

40,950

55%

Price Matters Days

WSH

MIL

22,906

41,900

55%


TB

DET

21,550

41,255

52%

Detroit Tigers Salsa Bowl to first 10,000 fans

BOS

CLE

19,225

43,545

44%


STL

SD

16,513

42,500

39%


Total over 10 Games

295,134

438,039

67%


Sell-Thru = Percentage of capacity


SPECIAL BUSINESS OF SPORTS NETWORK REPORTS:
The Labor Battle in the NFL. See BizOfFootball.com for details

Welcome to the 2011 Business of Sports Network Autism Challenge


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

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, as well as a contributor to FanGraphs and Forbes SportsMoney. He is available for hire or freelance. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

Follow Maury Brown on Twitter Twitter

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MLB Attendance Tracker for Sun. 5/22: While Down From Sat, Sunday Interleague Ends on Up Note PDF Print E-mail
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Ticket & Attendance Watch
Written by Maury Brown and David Simmons   
Monday, 23 May 2011 08:14

MLBSunday, the final day of the first series of interleague games in Major League Baseball, saw ballparks filled to 77 percent capacity, based on paid attendance, up from 75 percent the weekend prior.

Compared to the first set of interleague games that fell on Sunday last season, 2011 had an average of 33,074, up slightly from last year (0.46%) 32,921.

In another positive sign for the league average attendance across the first series of interleague games that began on Friday averaged 33,511, up 1 percent from last season’s 33,172 for the same set of games.

Look for “Inside the Numbers: 2011 First Interleague Attendance” shortly on The Biz of Baseball

Four games saw attendance over 100%, a sign that considerable standing-room only tickets were sold. Leading the pack (again) was the Philadelphia Phillies at 105 percent of capacity, followed by the Red Sox (102%), Brewers (intraleague game against Rockies at 102%), and Giants (101%).

But, in terms of sellouts, which account for comps, rainout exchanges, etc. you can throw in the Yankees as a sellout game, as well, even as attendance was 404 below seating capacity.

On the downside, the Blue Jays, hosting the last place Astros, couldn’t get attendance moving. Last among all games over the weekend, the best that the club could muster was 43 percent of capacity on Sat, with Sunday marking 39 percent, and Friday set at 31 percent of Rogers Centre’s capacity.

All the “natural rivalry” games posted better attendance on Sunday than the year prior. With the Indians riding the wave of their winning ways. Here’s the breakdown

Rivalry % (+/-) Notes
Reds and Indians 28% Both at Cleveland
Mets and Yankees 17% At NYY this year
Orioles and Nationals 22% At Camden this year
Giants and A's 21% At SFO this year
Padres and Mariners 4% At SD this year

In terms of clubs that hosted games in the first series of interleague last season (albeit with different opponents in 2010 than 2011), all clubs, minus the White Sox, drew more on Sunday  than the same Sunday last season:

Club % (+/-) Notes
Phillies 0.00% vs Red Sox in 2010
Pirates 9% vs Braves in 2010
White Sox -11% vs Marlins in 2010
D-Backs 34% vs Blue Jays in 2010
Royals 29% vs Rockies in 2010

Here’s the complete breakdown of attendance for Sunday:

Road Home Sun's
Attendance
Capacity Sell-Thru Notes
TXR PHI 45,633 43,647 105% Sellout
CHC BOS 37,688 36,945 102% Sellout
COL MIL 42,605 41,900 102% Sellout. McGehee Bobblehead
OAK SF 42,288 41,915 101% Sellout
NYM NYY 48,293 50,287 96% Sellout. 1:05 start
ATL LAA 40,098 45,050 89% Eco Bag
SEA SD 34,705 42,445 82%
STL KC 28,195 38,177 74%
WSH BAL 33,626 45,971 73% Little League Day
DET PIT 25,124 38,362 65%
MIN AZ 31,017 48,652 64%
LAD CWS 25,081 40,615 62%
CIN CLE 26,833 43,545 62%
TB FL 15,432 36,331 42% Johnson start, Stanton T-Shirt
HOU TOR 19,487 49,539 39%
Over 15 games 496,105 643,381 77%

Sell-Thru = Percentage of capacity


SPECIAL BUSINESS OF SPORTS NETWORK REPORTS:
The Labor Battle in the NFL. See BizOfFootball.com for details

Welcome to the 2011 Business of Sports Network Autism Challenge


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

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, as well as a contributor to FanGraphs and Forbes SportsMoney. He is available for hire or freelance. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

Follow Maury Brown on Twitter Twitter

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MLB Attendance Tracker for Sat 5/21: Weather, Winning Makes Interleague Shine PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown and David Simmons   
Sunday, 22 May 2011 14:19

MLBCharlie Sheen came up with “#Winning”, but Major League Baseball is the winner today after Saturday’s interleague numbers are in.

Attendance was up 3 percent from the same Sat last season with an average of 36,451 over 15 games this year compared to 35,496 over 14 last season.

The second day of the first series of interleague play saw 8 sellouts, with one of them being the lone intraleague series between the Brewers and Rockies.

The big winner yesterday was the Cleveland Indians. Winning and good weather came together and gave the club their first non-Opening Day sellout since May 24, 2008 when they played the Texas Rangers.

If you’re looking below and asking how being 2,914 shy of capacity constitutes a sellout, here’s what the Indians have to say. The sellout figure varies, but 41,721 was the club’s Opening Day sellout figure. That would make reaching sellout a more reasonable 1,090. According to the Indians, that threshold was broken with comps related to several  factors including rainout exchanges, Club Seat benefit for season ticket holders, group leader tickets, fan appreciation coupons from last Sept, etc.

Related to sellout numbers, the Angels inform The Biz of Baseball that their sellout threshold number is 43,500.

And, no, we haven’t forgotten about the Pittsburgh Pirates. Riding high after now winning four straight, drew a sellout yesterday, which begs the question: Are the Pirates on the path to becoming relevant again after 18 consecutive losing seasons?

In terms of how interleague on Sat fared compared to last season on the Saturday of first interleague, all the “natural rivalry” games drew considerably better than last season:

Rivalry % (+/-) Notes
Reds and Indians 59% Both at Cleveland
Mets and Yankees 17% At NYY this year
Orioles and Nationals 58% At Camden this year
Giants and A's 20% At SFO this year
Padres and Mariners 21% At SD this year

 

In terms of clubs that hosted games in the first series of interleague last season (albeit with different opponents in 2010 than 2011), all clubs, minus the White Sox, drew more on Saturday than the same Saturday last season:

Club % (+/-) Notes
Phillies 0.6% vs Red Sox in 2010
Pirates 43% vs Braves in 2010
White Sox -10% vs Marlins in 2010
D-Backs 21% vs Blue Jays in 2010
Royals 54% vs Rockies in 2010

Here’s the complete breakdown of attendance for Saturday:

Road

Home

Sat
Attendance

Capacity

Sell-Thru

Notes

TX

PHI

45,604

43,647

104%

Sellout. Cliff Lee start vs former team

CHC

BOS

37,798

36,945

102%

Sellout

COL

MIL

42,240

41,900

101%

Sellout. Lone intraleague game between NL teams

OAK

SFG

42,152

41,915

101%

Sellout. Lincecum start. Cap Giveaway

DET

PIT

37,958

38,362

99%

Sellout. Neil Walker Bobblehead giveaway

ATL

LAA

43,511

45,281

96%

Sellout

NYM

NYY

48,286

50,287

96%

Sellout

CIN

CLE

40,631

43,545

93%

First non-Opening Day sellout since May 24, 2008 vs. Texas. Indians report lots of comps and season tix redeems

STL

KC

32,229

38,177

84%


MIN

AZ

39,776

48,652

82%


SEA

SD

34,648

42,500

82%


WSH

BAL

33,107

45,971

72%


LAD

CWS

25,519

40,615

63%


TB

FL

21,814

36,331

60%


HOU

TOR

21,494

49,539

43%


Total over 15 games

546,767

643,667

85%


Sell-Thru = Percentage of capacity


SPECIAL BUSINESS OF SPORTS NETWORK REPORTS:
The Labor Battle in the NFL. See BizOfFootball.com for details

Welcome to the 2011 Business of Sports Network Autism Challenge


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

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, as well as a contributor to FanGraphs and Forbes SportsMoney. He is available for hire or freelance. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

Follow Maury Brown on Twitter Twitter

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MLB Attendance Tracker for Fri 5/20: Breaking Down the First Day of Interleague Play PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown and David Simmons   
Saturday, 21 May 2011 12:36

MLBFriday saw the beginning of interleague play across Major League Baseball for the 2011 season, and for the most part, the league should be happy with the results.

Ballparks were filled to 72 percent of capacity with six ballparks filled to 80 percent or better. Ballparks were actually filled to 3 percent less than last Friday when it was 75 percent, a sign that interleague may not be as popular as many have been lead to believe.

But, there’s a catch.

As we’ve reported prior, paid attendance does not reflect the total number of actual people that went through turnstiles. For example, while Fenway (99% of capacity) and AT&T Park (97% of capacity) appear to be below sellout, with comps, the club announced them as sellouts. This works as an advantage in terms of painting a robust attendance picture, but often times, paid attendance far exceeds actual attendance.

(See Inside the Numbers: MLB 2010 First Interleague Attendance)

As mentioned, Friday was the first day of interleague play in MLB. In looking at last year’s figures for the same day, attendance was down from an average of 31,718 to 31,007, or 2 percent.

But, as anyone looking at baseball’s schedule will tell you, it’s not balanced – the same teams do not match-up year after year.

However, the “natural rivalries” that MLB touts, do occur each season. For the Indians, winning is beginning to take hold in Cleveland. With both the 2010 and 2011 “Battle of Ohio” games on the first day of interleague being played in Cleveland between the Indians and Reds, attendance this year was up 37 percent from 23,028 in 2010 to 31,622. On the downside, the “Battle of the Beltway” series between the Orioles and Nationals failed to resonate as a true “rivalry” last night. While the 2010 game was played in Nationals Park, this year’s game at Camden Yards drew just 24,442 compared to 27,378 last season. Here’s how they broke out, showing the increase or decrease in attendance from 2010

Rivalry % (+/-) Notes
Reds and Indians 37% Both at Cleveland
Mets and Yankees 16% At NYY this year
Orioles and Nationals -11% At Camden this year
Giants and A's 27% At SFO this year
Padres and Mariners 9% At SD this year

And while the first Friday of interleague often finds differing matchups, some clubs do host games in consecutive seasons. Below are the clubs that hosted last year and this on the first Friday of interleague, along with the team they played in 2010.

Club % (+/-) Notes
Phillies 0.04% vs Red Sox in 2010
Pirates 9% vs Braves in 2010
White Sox 17% vs Marlins in 2010
D-Backs 41% vs Blue Jays in 2010
Royals 8% vs Rockies in 2010

Below is a complete breakdown of Friday’s attendance, along with promotions and other notes of interest:

 

Road Home Fri's Attendance Capacity Sell-Thru Notes
TXR PHI 46,358 43,647 106% Halladay Start. All home games sold out this season
CHC BOS 37,140 37,495 99% First game since 1918. Recorded as sellout due to comps
OAK SF 42,224 43,415 97% Blanket. With comps, all home games at AT&T Park (16 and counting) sold out
NYM NYY 47,874 52,235 92% Subway Series
ATL LAA 40,211 45,050 89% Fireworks
COL MIL 33,361 41,900 80% Only Non-Interleague Game, Greinke Start
CIN CLE 31,622 43,545 73% Both teams in first place, Fireworks
STL KC 26,816 39,000 69% Both teams .500 or above, Fireworks
DET PIT 24,396 38,496 63% Two .500 teams, T-shirt giveaway
SEA SD 26,501 42,445 62% Fireworks
LAD CWS 24,121 40,615 59% Battle of Camelbank Ranch, Fireworks
MIN AZ 27,450 49,033 56% Up 4100 from Thursday, Fireworks
WSH BAL 24,442 45,971 53% 2 last place teams
TB FL 18,111 38,560 47% Battle for Florida supremacy
HOU TOR 15,478 49,539 31% Texas & Canada, bad for box even with Fan Friday
Total 15 games 466,105 650,946 72%

Sell-Thru = Percentage of capacity


SPECIAL BUSINESS OF SPORTS NETWORK REPORTS:
The Labor Battle in the NFL. See BizOfFootball.com for details

Welcome to the 2011 Business of Sports Network Autism Challenge


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

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, as well as a contributor to FanGraphs and Forbes SportsMoney. He is available for hire or freelance. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

Follow Maury Brown on Twitter Twitter

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MLB Attendance Tracker for Thurs. 5/19: Is MLB Beginning to Pull Out of the Attendance Doldrums? PDF Print E-mail
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Ticket & Attendance Watch
Written by Maury Brown and David Simmons   
Friday, 20 May 2011 08:10

MLBCould MLB be pulling out of the attendance malaise? Maybe.

While not earth-shattering, ballparks across MLB were filled to nearly 60 percent of capacity on Thurs. (57%), a decent showing considering there were 3 day games, and interleague starts today. Especially impressive was Astros-Cardinals game from Busch Stadium which had a 1:45pm game start and drew 36,409, or 83 percent of capacity.

Still, there were some serious laggards.

Topping the list of poorly attended games was Tampa Bay at Toronto. Pulling in 12,590, or just 25 percent of Roger Centre’s capacity, it was the worst by capacity game of the day.

The worst attended game goes to the Rangers at the Royals, or 12,137 paid attendance.

Below are the numbers and notes from Thursday’s games:

Road

Home

Thur's
Attendance

Capacity

Sell-Thru

Notes

COL

PHI

45,425

43,647

104%


DET

BOS

37,660

37,495

100%

Play-Fan Photo. Won 6th straight

HOU

STL

36,409

43,975

83%

Daygame

WSH

NYM

26,835

41,800

64%

Daygame

MIN

OAK

22,320

35,067

64%

Free Hot Dog, Daygame

PIT

CIN

26,018

42,271

62%

Daygame

SF

LAD

34,248

56,000

61%


CLE

CWS

22,077

40,615

54%


NYY

BAL

24,939

45,971

54%


ATL

AZ

23,413

49,033

48%


CHC

FL

16,345

38,560

42%


LAA

SEA

18,374

47,116

39%

FG Fly Swatter, Daygame

MIL

SD

16,286

42,445

38%


TX

KC

12,137

39,000

31%


TB

TOR

12,590

49,539

25%


Total over 15 games

375,076

652,534

57%


Sell-Thru = Percentage of capacity


SPECIAL BUSINESS OF SPORTS NETWORK REPORTS:
The Labor Battle in the NFL. See BizOfFootball.com for details

Welcome to the 2011 Business of Sports Network Autism Challenge


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

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, as well as a contributor to FanGraphs and Forbes SportsMoney. He is available for hire or freelance. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

Follow Maury Brown on Twitter Twitter

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First Weekend of Interleague in MLB Begins Fri, Cubs-Red Sox Highlight PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Friday, 20 May 2011 00:05

MLBThe 15th season of Interleague Play between the American League and the National League begins today. Major League Baseball’s 2011 schedule features 252 Interleague games to be played in two segments: the first this weekend (May 20th-22nd) and the second from June 17th-July 3rd.

In the first weekend of interleague play across Major League Baseball last season, ballparks had an average attendance of 33,172 compared to an average of 29,404 for weekend games for the same hosting teams over the course of the 2010 season leading up to that point, an increase of 13 percent. When looking at more recent periods, when weather is improving, interleague attendance sees a mixed bag.

(See Inside the Numbers: MLB 2010 First Interleague Attendance)

In looking at the last weekend of play before interleague began in 2010, average attendance was 33,371 compared to interleague’s average of 33,172, a decline of less than 1 percent (-0.63%).

The biggest match-up to watch will be the Cubs visiting the Red Sox. The series which begins on Friday will mark 93 years since the clubs’ last matchup at Fenway Park.

The Red Sox and Cubs last played at Fenway Park on September 11, 1918, in the sixth and final game of that year’s World Series. Concluding a season that was abbreviated because of the ongoing World War I conflict, the Red Sox won two of the series’ first three games in Chicago. Boston returned home to take Game Four, before the Cubs staved off elimination in Game Five. The Red Sox then closed out the series in Game Six with a 2-1 victory, clinching their fourth title of the decade and their third championship in the preceding four years.

In terms of win-loss records, the American League posted a 134-118 record in Interleague Play in 2010. The 2010 season marked the seventh consecutive year in which the A.L. earned the edge in the season series, extending its all-time advantage to 1,808-1,652 (.523). The A.L. went 127-125 in 2004, 136-116 in 2005, 154-98 in 2006, 137-115 in 2007, 149-103 in 2008 and 138-114 in 2009 before the 134-118 mark last year.

In 2010, A.L. Clubs compiled a .269 batting average with 233 home runs, 1,168 runs scored and a 4.16 ERA. N.L. Clubs batted .251 with 242 home runs, 1,098 runs scored and a 4.37 ERA. The Chicago White Sox posted the best record in Interleague play in 2010 at 15-3 (.833), followed by the Texas Rangers at 14-4 (.778) and the Boston Red Sox and New York Mets, each at 13-5 (.722). The New York Yankees hold MLB’s best all-time Interleague record at 144-102 (.585), followed by the White Sox at 143-104 (.579).

The Florida Marlins own the N.L.’s best all-time Interleague mark at 127-107 (.543).

SELECT READ MORE TO SEE PLAYER STATS ALL-TIME FOR INTERLEAGUE

Read more...
 
MLB Attendance Tracker for Weds. 5/18: Demystifying Sellout Numbers, Phillies and Red Sox Rock, Blue Jays Not PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown and David Simmons   
Thursday, 19 May 2011 13:56

MLBIf there’s an aspect of attendance watching that is vexing for media (and fans, alike), it’s how announced attendance is calculated. Most know that when the number is announced at the ballpark, your eyeballs often counter, “That’s not what I see. It’s far less.”

Such is landscape in professional sports where paid attendance – the number of tickets sold – is the new number announced, not the number of turnstile clicks.

But, there’s more.

An example is last night’s Tigers-Red Sox game at Fenway Park. Announced attendance was 37,311, and yet the postgame notes read this: 653rd consecutive sellout since May 15, 2003

When we looked at our numbers, it didn’t jibe.

Night attendance at Fenway is 37,495. How is that a sellout? According to the Red Sox, announced attendance for the boxscore does not include comps. By those standards, the Red Sox deemed the game a sellout.

That got us wondering (and we can’t answer it now): Just how often is this the case? Whether the info will be made available, we plan on setting out contacting each of the 30 clubs to see if this policy holds true throughout the league.

Back to Weds’ attendance...

The Red Sox didn’t get a rainout, but it was close. Chalk up another rain delay, this one 26 minutes (The delay began at 9:31 in the top of the 8th inning and the game resumed at 9:57).

It’s a good thing that Red Sox and Phillies posted numbers at 100% (or for the Phillies, 102%) of capacity. Ballparks were just 52% full by average. The Blue Jays certainly didn’t help that number drawing just 14,415 with the visiting Rays, or 29 percent of Rogers Centre’s 49,539 capacity.

Here’s the rest of Weds’ attendance figures:

Road

Home

Weds'
Attendance

Capacity

Sell-Thru

Notes

COL

PHI

44,665

43,647

102%

Hamels starting, ESPN game

DET

BOS

37,311

37,495

100%

Won 5 in a row. 26 min rain delay. 653rd consecutive sellout since May 15, 2003

HOU

STL

35,298

43,975

80%

Pull within .5 game of first

WSH

NYM

24,527

41,800

59%

Battle of NL East worst

SF

LAD

30,421

56,000

54%

1st Giants game since Stow beating become public, Kershaw start

CLE

CWS

18,580

40,615

46%

Peavy first 2011 home start

NYY

BAL

20,589

45,971

45%

Britton starting, rain all day

MIN

OAK

15,355

35,067

44%

Fall out of 1st Place with loss

ATL

AZ

19,773

49,033

40%

Up 3,300 from Tues night

MIL

SD

16,901

42,445

40%

First home game this week

PIT

CIN

16,543

42,271

39%

In 1st Place, won 5 in a row entering game

CHC

FL

14,422

38,560

37%

Were .5 game back starting Weds

LAA

SEA

16,992

47,116

36%

Up 1000 from Weds

TX

KC

13,789

39,000

35%

#68 BA Prospect Danny Duffy Debut

TB

TOR

14,415

49,539

29%

Come home with 6 game win streak

Total over 15 games

339,581

652,534

52%


Sell-Thru = Percentage of capacity


SPECIAL BUSINESS OF SPORTS NETWORK REPORTS:
The Labor Battle in the NFL. See BizOfFootball.com for details

Welcome to the 2011 Business of Sports Network Autism Challenge


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

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, as well as a contributor to FanGraphs and Forbes SportsMoney. He is available for hire or freelance. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

Follow Maury Brown on Twitter Twitter

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MLB Attendance Tracker for Tues. 5/17: One More Rainout Ties Record for This Point In Season PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown and David Simmons   
Wednesday, 18 May 2011 10:58

MLBMore often than not, when a record is near to being broken, it’s something that you look forward to. This is one that you don’t.

With four postponements  on Tuesday, the league has now seen 29 rainouts on the year. If there is one postponement today due to weather, the year will tie 2007 for the most rainouts by this time in the season with 30. Looking at the weather forecast, the chances of that happening on Weds. are very real.

In looking back to the games that were played on Tues., the rainouts may have actually helped attendance (games that get in when there is a rain delay or threat of rain impacts walk-up attendance negatively). That was evident with the Angels-A’s tilt which saw a 45 min. delay, and only brought in 11,061, or 32 percent of Overstock.com Stadium’s capacity.

But, as is the case with Mondays, Tuesdays are often times not much better. Early week games early in the season, especially for teams not performing well in the standings, can draw miserably. That was certainly the case for the Diamondbacks who hosted the Padres and drew in just under 18,000 or 37 percent of Chase Field’s 49,033 capacity.

Road

Home

Tues's
Attendance

Capacity

Sell-Thru

Notes

SF

COL

41,105

50,445

81%

Cain vs. Jimenez (Daygame)

PHI

STL

34,567

43,975

79%

Social Media Night

NYY

TB

27,123

36,973

73%

1st Place vs 2nd Place

TX

CWS

22,437

40,615

55%

54 Degrees for Dog Day

CLE

KC

17,712

39,000

45%

T-Shirt

CHI

CIN

18,861

42,059

45%

50 degrees

HOU

ATL

21,085

49,743

42%

Daygame

SD

AZ

17,958

49,033

37%


LAA

OAK

11,061

35,067

32%

Game delayed 45 minutes

MIN

SEA

14,859

47,116

32%

King Felix starting

MIL

LAD

35,346

56,000

63%

Kershaw Bobblehead, rained most of day in LA

PIT

WASH

0

41,888

0%

Daygame pushed to summer, no makeup announced

BAL

BOS

0

37,493

0%

Sox miss Britton

TOR

DET

0

41,255

0%

Rescheduled for Wednesday, July 27

FL

NYM

0

41,800

0%

Rescheduled for Monday, July 18

Total over 11 games

262,114

490,026

53%


Sell-Thru= Percentage of capacity sold


SPECIAL BUSINESS OF SPORTS NETWORK REPORTS:
The Labor Battle in the NFL. See BizOfFootball.com for details

Welcome to the 2011 Business of Sports Network Autism Challenge


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

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, as well as a contributor to FanGraphs and Forbes SportsMoney. He is available for hire or freelance. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

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Poll

Should MLB Force Jeffery Loria to Sell the Marlins?