Despite leading the NL West, the D'Backs "were 22nd in fan attendance" going into last night's game against the Rockies with an average attendance of 24,396 this season at Chase Field, according to Master Tesfatsion of the ARIZONA REPUBLIC. The other seven teams “currently holding a playoff seed are within the top 15 in that category.” The D'Backs are filling just 50.2% of Chase Field seats, "27th in the league." D'Backs P Joe Saunders said, “Us players, we’re kind of sick and tired of the green outs we’re having. We’d like to see our fan base give us a little bit more support.” To accommodate the "tough times" in Phoenix, the D’Backs “have created a number of ticket promotions to try and draw fans, including everything from free tickets to kids as a back-to-school initiative to Facebook and Twitter deals.” During this week's three-game home series against NL West rival the Rockies, the D'Backs "slashed all upper-level seats to $5" and attendance peaked at 23,062 last night. Still, D’Backs Senior Marketing Dir Karina Bohn said, “We still get feedback from people saying that’s even too much for people to swallow.” With an “apparent fan interest in a team looking to make its first postseason appearance since 2007,” D’Backs President & CEO Derrick Hall said that the “support will come eventually.” Hall: “This is a bonus year because we were hoping this would be the year that would bridge us to get to consistent winners. Now we’ll be able to sustain it with all the talent we have, that fan base will continue to grow” (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 9/1).
LEAN CUISINE: In L.A., Bill Plaschke examines attendance at Dodger Stadium under the header “Things Are Lean At Chavez Ravine.” Plaschke attended yesterday's Padres-Dodgers and notes it was the "smallest crowd I’ve seen in my 23 years of following the Dodgers." While the official attendance was 27,767, 11 sections of the ballpark were "completely vacant" and there were "maybe 8,000 folks" at the game. Plaschke added, "It might be the smallest crowd in the 49-year history of Dodger Stadium. ... It looked and felt as though the McCourt era had finally, resolutely bottomed out” (L.A. TIMES, 9/1).
With almost 11,000 tickets "left to sell to avoid a TV blackout" for Week One of the NFL season, the Jaguars are “trying a new marketing tactic," according to Ashley Gurbal of the JACKSONVILLE BUSINESS JOURNAL. The Jaguars are “giving away tickets” to their preseason game against the Rams tonight. The team's mascot announced the promotion on Twitter yesterday morning, and fans who mention the mascot while buying tickets for next Sunday's home opener against the Titans “will receive free tickets” to tonight’s game. Those fans will receive the “same number of free tickets that they bought” for Titans-Jaguars. Gurbal noted the team “can’t give away tickets to fill seats to avoid a blackout in the regular season, but blackout rules don’t apply to preseason games” (BIZJOURNALS.com, 8/30). As of Tuesday afternoon, a “little more than 10,000 tickets needed to be sold to avoid a season opener blackout.” Jaguars Senior VP/Sales & Marketing Macky Weaver said, "The last thing we want is the first regular season game to be blacked out." He added, "With the 9/11 significance of the game and the hated Tennessee Titans as the opponent, we're going to have a big rally here in the next 10 days." The team is offering a promotion for “every ticket purchased through the organization, $10 is donated to the charity of your choice.” The Nonprofit Center of Northeast Florida is “hoping the latest ticket promotion will help boost ticket sales” (ACTIONNEWSJAX.com, 8/30).
REELING THEM IN:In Palm Beach, Ben Volin noted Dolphins coach Tony Sparano yesterday “gave a de facto State of the Union address” at the team’s kickoff luncheon, but it “served as much as a plea for fans to show up to the stadium and help the home team avoid TV blackouts.” Sparano said, “I’m talking to the fans, the supporters -- we need your help. We need you in that stadium. This team needs your support. They need your undying loyalty” (PALMBEACHPOST.com, 8/31). Meanwhile, Tribune Co. sports writers weighed in on the Dolphins’ plans to honor the Univ. of Florida's ’08 football team during a Broncos-Dolphins game this season. The South Florida Sun-Sentinel's Dave Hyde wrote the promotion is “a really dumb idea.” Hyde: “Can’t they see how this is a slap at Canes fans?” The L.A. Times' Baxter Holmes: “Swing and a miss.” The Orlando Sentinel's George Diaz wrote, “This reeks of a desperate ploy to snag a few Orange and Blue fans to blend in with the fading number of Aqua jerseys in the stands.” But the Chicago Tribune's Dan Pompei added, “What the Dolphins are doing by honoring the Gators is all about reaching out to another fan base and selling themselves. They hardly can be blamed for that” (LATIMES.com, 8/31).
HOT ON THE MARKET:The Bills announced that their home opener against the Raiders and the third home game against the Eagles are “sold out.” The Bills also revealed that there are “only limited tickets for the second game” against the Patriots (BUFFALO NEWS, 9/1).
The Mets announced today that David Einhorn "will not become a partial owner" of the club. The Mets in a statement said that "their period of exclusive negotiations with Einhorn has 'expired,' and because the 'parties were unable to reach agreement' the Mets will explore other options" (NEWSDAY.com, 9/1). Sources said that the Mets "may now try to sell 10 minority ownership packages for $20 million each to try to raise the $200 million that was expected to be invested" by Einhorn (WSJ.com, 9/1). CNBC’s Darren Rovell reports the Mets “say they have enough capital to cover 2011 losses, which are said to be about” $60M, and there is “no specific timetable to deal with other partners” (“Squawk on the Street,” CNBC, 9/1).
REIGNING CHAMPS: In London, Paul Kelso notes EPL club Manchester United "made a record operating profit" of $177.7M last season, "underlining the club's commercial growth under the ownership of the Glazer family." The reigning EPL champions saw revenue increase by $72.7M to $535.5M in the FY ended June 30, also a "record for an English club." The increase in revenue was driven by a 37% "increase in commercial revenue, which exceeded the £100m barrier for the first time" (London TELEGRAPH, 9/1).
KINGS OF THE CITY: Kings COO Chris McGowan, asked if the NHL team would amend its marketing strategies should an NBA lockout keep the Lakers and Clippers off the court next season, said, "I don't think we're going to change our advertising particularly for that, but we are looking at it as kind of an opportunity in the marketplace for people, if they have not been looking at the Kings, they might now look because they've got a little bit of a sports void there." He added, "We've got to get the Kings out there a lot more, we've got to market the players a lot more. I think we've got to be bolder in our positioning in terms of what can Kings fans expect from the team next year." McGowan also indicated that the Kings are "choosing among three themes for a new advertising campaign that will be launched Oct. 3." The slogan "Pride, Passion, Power" will remain as a "part of a big outdoor campaign with billboards, radio, TV and digital components" (LATIMES.com, 8/31).