SBD/September 6, 2013/Franchises

Indians See Lowest September Attendance Despite Being In Wild Card Race

Indians attendance ranks 27th in MLB and 14th of 15 teams in the AL
Despite being in the chase for an AL Wild Card spot, "just 9,962 fans" attended Tuesday's Orioles-Indians game, the "lowest September attendance in the history of Progressive Field," according to Jodie Valade of the Cleveland PLAIN DEALER. That number "elicited surprise," as the Indians "are in the hunt." But there are "still more empty seats at Progressive Field than ever before." Indians CF Michael Bourn said, "It's not like we're way out of it." However, attendance "has been a season-long problem." Through Wednesday's game, the Indians "have drawn 1,341,457 -- good for 27th overall and 14th out of 15 teams" in the AL. Only the Rays have "drawn fewer fans" (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 9/5). In Akron, Jason Lloyd wrote Wednesday's announced crowd of 11,522 "was actually an improvement." It is "clear a competitive product has done nothing to boost interest in a team that once sold out every home game for more than five consecutive seasons." The Indians "seem just as confused as anyone." Extensive research "led them to believe fans wanted an improved product on the field and a reduction in concession prices," and the team "delivered on both, but the fans haven’t budged." The fan base "still hasn’t forgiven" Owner Larry Dolan for "years of not spending and perhaps never will." This season has "made it clear to the organization’s deep thinkers that protecting and increasing the season-ticket base has become the real priority for this offseason." The Indians have said that they "offer the lowest season-ticket prices of any team in baseball, yet season-ticket sales have plunged to less than 8,000 after soaring to 26,000." Fans are "tired of hearing about the Indians’ poor attendance, but the Indians expected, and deserved, better figures this season." The team said that TV and radio ratings "for the all-important 18-34 demographic are between 50 and 75 percent higher, making this ticket-sales conundrum even more perplexing" (OHIO.com, 9/5).

HOW LOW CAN YOU GO? In Chicago, Gordon Wittenmyer notes two of the Cubs’ "lowest home-attendance marks in the last 11 seasons have come in the last three days, including Wednesday, which was the lowest since Sept. 26, 2002." Cubs Chair Tom Ricketts said, "We have to get a more exciting team. We're not disappointed with this year's attendance" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 9/6).
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