SBD/August 2, 2013/Franchises

Fish Out Of Water: Marlins Seeing Record Declines At Gate For Second-Year Park

About 17,830 fans attend Marlins games on average this season, the worst in MLB
The Marlins are averaging only "about 100 extra fans per game" this year at Marlins Park than they did in their last season at Sun Life Stadium in '11, according to a front-page piece by Douglas Hanks of the MIAMI HERALD. Attendance for the Marlins "hit a 15-year high with the opening of the 36,000-seat Marlins Park last year," but the gains at the gate "didn’t last long." The Marlins currently have the "worst attendance in baseball at about 17,830 people per game." That amounts to an "average sales drop of 10,400 tickets" from the '12 inaugural season, a 37% decline. During the second year of every MLB ballpark built since '89, only one has had a "worse drop: Tampa Bay’s Tropicana Field, where attendance fell 38 percent in the season after its 1998 debut." But Marlins Park "could wind up in the statistical basement by the time this season ends." During its first 55 home games, the '99 Rays "only saw a drop" of 30%, Assuming the Marlins "follow the same trajectory once summer ends, it will pass Tampa’s record for the worst sophomore season." The Marlins are reporting an "average announced attendance of 17,977 per game, helped along by Thursday’s second-best tally of 25,916 thanks to a popular summer-camp promotion." But actual attendance has been "lower because the announced tally includes sold or distributed tickets that are not used." The Marlins to combat the weak demand are "cutting into profits with more promotions than they ever envisioned at the new ballpark." The discounting includes "kids-eat-free specials on Wednesdays and $27 all-you-can-eat buffets on Saturdays." Seniors "get free tickets on Thursdays." However, the lower deck appeared "more than half full during two visits to the park this week" (MIAMI HERALD, 8/2).

OVER THE TOP: In Tampa, Mark Holan reports the Rays should "top the 1-million attendance" for the season as soon as Friday night's game against the Giants. The Rays are "averaging 17,916 fans per home game at Tropicana Field, which holds 34,078." The per-game average is "next to last" in MLB. In a recent poll conducted by the Tampa Business Journal, 61% of 267 respondents said that they would "attend more home games in the second half of the season." Another 13% said that they would not attend more games, while 14% said they would “keep watching the Rays on television" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 8/2).
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