Indians Struggle To Draw Beyond Fridays, Continuing Low Attendance Trend
The Indians may have sold out their July 5 game at Progressive Field against the Tigers, but average attendance for the three games from July 7-9 mirror the "season norm of 18,995, which ranks 27th" in MLB, according to Kevin Kleps of CRAIN'S CLEVELAND BUSINESS. This season's average crowd is "down 802 per game from last year, but by the time the summer months conclude, it's a safe assumption that the Tribe should exceed the 20,000 per-game mark in attendance." Indians President Mark Shapiro views the average attendance "as a market correction of sorts." Shapiro said, "If you look at our market size, I'm not sure I'd characterize this as the fans not buying in. I think if you look at the range of 2003, 2004, as the ballpark settled into the maturation, the market settled into the Browns coming back to town, and the town settled into some Fortune 500 companies leaving ... I don't think it's accurate to say the fans haven't bought in." Kleps noted aside from the fact that more fans "would rather watch a game at home on TV than attend an event in person ... a troubling aspect for the Indians has to be their inability to generate big gate numbers for non-Friday games." The July 5 game was the team's first sellout in two years outside of a season opener, and the team's last five Friday night home games "have drawn 161,318 fans." That "represents 19.7% of the Indians' total attendance" (CRAINSCLEVELAND.com, 7/10).