SBD/October 4, 2013/Franchises

Orioles Ride Renewed Star Power To Bumps In Attendance, Ratings, Merch Sales

Orioles attendance rose by about 255,000 fans over last year
While the Orioles missed the postseason this year, the franchise's brand "appears stronger than it's been for at least a decade," according to Childs Walker of the Baltimore SUN. The team's total home attendance of 2,357,551 this season is its largest since '05 and the increase of about 255,000 fans over last year is the "fourth-largest" in MLB. The Orioles' 12% attendance jump from '12 to '13 "couldn't match" their 16% from '11 to '12, but they "did not get the kind of September bump they did the previous season, when every game mattered to the team's playoff chances." They also had to "get by with fewer special-attraction dates, such as the six sculpture unveilings that drew large crowds" in '12. Orioles VP/Communications & Marketing Greg Bader said that the team was "particularly pleased to see their season-ticket base increase for the first time in several years," and added that the club "expects similar growth this offseason." Walker noted ratings for Orioles games on MASN increased about 50% from '12, the "second-biggest jump in baseball." MASN Senior VP & General Sales Manager John McGuinness said that advertising interest was "such that the network was often low on inventory for retailers seeking commercial space during games." Walker wrote improved merchandise sales were "another sign of the club's greater popularity." One "big difference from previous years was the club's star power." The list of the 20 best-selling MLB player jerseys "was devoid of Orioles" from '10-12. But 3B Manny Machado ranked 5th and 1B Chris Davis 16th on a recently released list which "ranked sales since the All-Star break" (Baltimore SUN, 10/3).
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