Nationals Attendance Down 10% Despite Leading Wild Card Race
The Nationals are "increasingly likely to host" the NL Wild Card, but there are only four NL teams that have "fewer people showing up to their games" so far this season, according to Barry Svrluga of the WASHINGTON POST. The club is drawing just 27,944 fans per game to Nationals Park, meaning their average is down 10% "from last year's average of 31,230." The Nationals are "on pace to draw fewer people than in any season" since '11 with just 13 remaining home games. Average attendance is a way to "evaluate the health of a franchise, the relationship between fan base and city." Last season, an 82-80 record "followed by an offseason in which Bryce Harper departed didn't exactly send people flooding to the box office over the winter, and a 19-31 start didn't have them planning late-summer visits to the ballpark." On top of that, crowds are "down across the major leagues, and the Nationals were prepared for something of an attendance hit this season." Svrluga: "A reasonable question would be: How much of it is on fans not finding the passion they once had, and how much is the team misreading its own fans?" This season, the Nationals have "hosted 26 dates that qualify as a 'prime' or 'marquee' tier." Of those 26 dates, the Nationals have "drawn fewer than their average 11 times" (WASHINGTON POST, 9/3).
NOT ALL BAD: In DC, Thomas Boswell wrote the Nationals have a "wonderfully entertaining future." In their 58-27 "surge, the whole team has been awash in delight, plus a bit of amazement -- are we this good?" Boswell: "Is this the best Nats team so far? Are we sneaking up on an October run?" (WASHINGTON POST, 9/2).