SBD/April 18, 2011/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Rows Of Empty Seats Are Dominant Theme For MLB So Far This Season

Indians have already drawn six crowds of under 10,000 so far this season
The "dominant thing in baseball so far this season" has been the "rows of empty seats," according to SPORTING NEWS' Greg Couch, who wrote under the header, "Declining Attendance Could Signal Deeper Problems For Baseball." It is "too early to draw conclusions," but MLB "has some serious, fundamental problems here." As families try to "figure out where to spend and where to cut, baseball is being marginalized." MLB "has had a few years in a row of falling attendance," though Commissioner Bud Selig "seemed to think this year wouldn't change." But April baseball this year "isn't drawing as well as April baseball last year," as "six teams have already had the worst single-game attendance in their stadiums' history." The Indians have been "surprisingly hot and hopeful," yet six games at Progressive Field "have already drawn fewer than 10,000 fans" (SPORTINGNEWS.com, 4/17). In Cleveland, Bill Livingston wrote under the header, "Time To Fill Up The Cleveland Indians' Bandwagon." The first homestand after the team's eight-game winning streak ended was "supposed to be big." But the Indians drew only 16,346 fans "on a cold, blustery evening" for their 8-2 win over the Orioles Friday. The "walk-up sale was 5,511," but the crowd was "swollen in part by the lure of ... Dollar Dog Night" (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 4/16). In S.F., John Shea noted the Indians' attendance "slipped to 10,714" for Saturday's game against the Orioles (S.F. CHRONICLE, 4/17).

ROCKY SEAS: In Seattle, Larry Stone wrote the Mariners' attendance trends are "as gloomy as the April weather." But it is "not like all the empty seats and record-setting low crowds at Safeco Field" two weeks ago "sneaked up on the organization." Mariners officials "had braced themselves for just that after sluggish season-ticket sales and a poor start to the 2011 season." Mariners President Chuck Armstrong: "We expected crowds like that, from our internal projections. Losing 101 games like we have (in two of the past three years), we expected lower attendance and are projecting lower attendance." Stone noted the Mariners "aren't revealing the figures, but it is believed they have sold fewer than 10,000 season tickets for the first time at Safeco Field." They sold "nearly 24,000 season tickets in 2002" (SEATTLE TIMES, 4/17).

DODGING THE DODGERS: In L.A., Ben Bolch reports the announced crowd of 27,439 for yesterday's Cardinals-Dodgers game was the "smallest at Dodger Stadium since Sept. 29, 2004." The Dodgers "averaged 32,405 fans for the four-game series against St. Louis, 15,729 fewer than they did for their season-opening series against" the Giants. The attendance of 129,623 for the series against the Cardinals was the "smallest for a four-game series at Dodger Stadium since the Dodgers drew 124,392 for a series against the Colorado Rockies from July 21-24, 2003" (L.A. TIMES, 4/18).
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