Royals' Attendance Lags Behind Last Year's Pace Despite Renewed Playoff Hopes
The Royals as of last night "remained behind last year's pace" in terms of attendance at Kauffman Stadium, despite the fact that the team is "enjoying its best season in a decade," according to Blair Kerkhoff of the K.C. STAR. Through 61 games, the Royals' "average attendance of 22,128 is 278 fewer" than at the same point last season. Royals Senior VP/Business Operations Kevin Uhlich said of interest in the team, "It happens on TV first. It’s a low-cost sneak peak. For the fringe fan, somebody who isn't out here nightly, it’s a great way to taste baseball." But while the Royals rank 12th in the AL in average attendance this year, there "are positive attendance trends." Counting full- and partial-season packages, the Royals "started this year having sold 170,000 fewer tickets before the season." The team "averaged some 1,300 more fans during this home stand than the entire season, including the best-non opening day crowd when 38,742 saw the Royals-Red Sox last Saturday." Uhlich said that no-shows, or "people who have purchased but don’t use their tickets," were at 6% for the 10-game home stand that ended last night. Team data shows that in recent years, when the team "wasn't competing for a playoff spot," no-shows have been in the 15-20% range. Meanwhile, the team "set another ratings record Tuesday" on FS K.C., with a 12.3 local rating for its home game against the Marlins. The telecast was the "most-watched program" in the market that evening. Kerkhoff: "Now, can the Royals’ parlay the interest into a better television deal?" The Royals’ deal with FS K.C. runs through '19 and pays the team about $20M annually, "among the lowest in baseball" (K.C. STAR, 8/15).