SBD/May 16, 2011/Franchises

Cardinals On Pace For Lowest Total Attendance Ever At New Busch Stadium

The MLB Cardinals' average attendance of 36,769 through 19 home dates this season is down 5.5% from '10 and "the lowest at this point in any season" at Busch Stadium, according to Derrick Goold of the ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH. At the current pace, the Cardinals "would not draw 3 million for the first time" in Busch Stadium's six-year history. But Cardinals VP/Ticket Sales Joe Strohm said that team officials "still expect to hit that mark." Goold notes when it "comes to the dip the Cardinals have seen in attendance so far this season, the chief culprits have been soggy, violent or chilly weather and a parade of opponents unable to generate any heat of their own." Warmer weather and better opponents are "expected to boost crowds at Busch Stadium." Strohm: "If we had perfect weather in April and we still saw this (drop) in attendance or the no-shows, then it would be an issue. If we see it in July and you see the empty seats all over the ballpark, then there's a story, and it's a major story." The Cardinals introduced dynamic pricing this season, and so far team officials have found that it "has lowered the cost of a majority of tickets" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 5/16).

WHERE'S THE SUNSHINE BAND? In K.C., Sam Mellinger noted this year's Royals "may be the franchise's best team" since '94, but it seems that fans "couldn't care less." The Royals have the third-lowest home attendance in the AL, behind the Rays and Indians. While attendance is "up ever-so-slightly" at Kauffman Stadium at 18,293 fans per game, "fewer than 10,000 have showed up twice, and more than half the games have been watched by crowds small enough to fit comfortably in Allen Fieldhouse." The Royals have "had rotten luck with the weather" so far this season, and team officials also can "blame skepticism, at least in part." There are "other factors, too, but at least with the image of vast sections of empty seats it's easy to build a case that Kansas City is ignoring what is so far an exciting and promising team" (K.C. STAR, 5/14).

APRIL SHOWERS: In N.Y., Tyler Kepner notes the Indians "blitzed to a 14-2 start at home for the first time in the 111 years of the franchise," yet the team "ranks last in the majors in attendance this season, averaging 15,648 a game" at Progressive Field. Bad weather is "partly to blame -- two of three games this weekend against Seattle were rained out -- but the Indians also ranked last in attendance" in '10. Indians LF Shelley Duncan said, "The fans here, they’re either all in or they’re sitting home. They don’t want to dive in completely and get their hearts broken. That’s happened enough with people here. You see what happened with LeBron, with the Browns’ history, this team’s history. It’s understandable. I don’t blame them at all." Indians President Mark Shapiro: "We need to pull back and do a better job of strategically assessing what we were and not look at ourselves through the lens of the mid-’90s. It’s just not the same operating circumstances and not the same city" (N.Y. TIMES, 5/16).
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