Major League Baseball ballparks always seem to be pushing the envelope to find creative and innovative ways to get people in the seats. Whether it’s promotional giveaways, or discounted prices on tickets or food and beverages, increasing a team’s attendance is a constant focus for MLB marketing departments.
But maybe the easiest way is increase attendance at the ballpark is the simple (?) task of winning. Or maybe better stated, not losing.
Let’s take a look at the 2016 season and see how success on the field provided a bump in attendance for some teams and how losing seemed to equate with a decline in ticket sales for other teams.
- Six of the 10 playoff teams in 2016 saw their attendance increase in 2016 over the previous year. The four that did not: Baltimore (down 109k), the L.A. Dodgers (down 61k), San Francisco (down 10k) and Washington (down 138k).
- Of the 20 teams that did not make the playoffs in 2016, 14 of them (70%) saw a decline in attendance last season over the previous year.
- Four of the six division champs increased their attendance this season. The two that did not: the Dodgers and Nationals.
- Of the four Wild Card teams, two increased their attendance in 2016 (the Mets and Blue Jays) while two did not (the Orioles and Giants).
- Fifteen MLB teams in 2016 finished the season above .500 and 15 were .500 or below. Of the 15 teams above .500, eight increased their attendance in 2016 over 2015, while of the 15 teams below .500, 11 of the 15 saw their attendance decrease in the ’16 season versus the ’15 season.
- Seventeen of the 30 MLB teams in 2016 increased their win totals from the 2015 season; 13 saw their win totals decrease from 2015 to 2016. Of the 17 teams that saw their win totals increase, eight also increased their attendance in 2016. Of the 13 teams that saw their win totals decrease from 2015 to 2016, nine of them also saw their attendance decline from 2015 to 2016.
- Finally, five teams increased their win total by 10 or more victories over 2015. Of those five, three increased their attendance last season… seven teams saw their win total decrease by 10 wins or more from 2015 to 2016; of those seven, six also saw their attendance drop from 2015 to last season.
There are certainly a lot of factors to consider when you look at why a team sees a bump in their attendance numbers from one year to the next, and it would be a little careless to say that winning alone will help drive up attendance. But some of the numbers above seem to indicate that success on the field (or lack thereof) does play a role in attendance. It’s just a matter of how much people want to pin winning and losing on filling the seats in the stadium.
It’s only a one-year sample, but there seems to be less of a cause-and-effect when it comes to increasing victories and attendance numbers, but the stats show a clearer picture when it comes to teams that show their win totals on the decline… there’s a greater chance attendance numbers will also decline if there is a significant decline in win totals from one year to the next.
What do you think?
Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp
Here are some of the numbers that helped define the Packers 47-25 loss to the Tennessee Titans on November 13.
- Demarco Murray scored on a 75-yard run on the first play from scrimmage in yesterday’s game. It was the second longest run for TD versus the Packers since Adrian Petersen scored on an 82-yard run versus the Pack in 2012. It was the second longest TD run by an opponent since 1994.
- The Titans scored 21 points in the first quarter, the fourth time since 1970 that the Packers allowed 20 or more points to the opposition in the first quarter. The last time was in 2004 when Indy scored 21 in the first quarter.
- It was the sixth time since 1970 that the Packers allowed an opponent to score 35 points in the first half. They are now 0-6 in those games.
- Marcus Mariota had four TD passes for Tennessee, the 20th time since 1970 that an opposing QB had four or more TD passes in a contest versus Green Bay. The Packers are 5-15 in those games.
- Davante Adams had a career-high 156 yards receiving yesterday, and Jordy Nelson had a career-high 12 receptions. Nelson has scored a TD in seven of the Packers nine games this season.
- The Packers offense allowed five sacks in the game and are now 4-20 since 2000 when they allow five or more sacks in a game.
- Green Bay had three turnovers and are now 2-9 since 2010 in games where they have three or more turnovers. In the Packers four wins this year they have had three turnovers; in their five losses they had 11 turnovers.
- Tennessee did not have a turnover in the contest. Green Bay is 14-27 since 2000 in games where the opponents do not have a turnover.
- Aaron Rodgers had a pair of interceptions; Green Bay is 7-7 in regular season games when Rodgers has two or more picks.
- The 51 pass attempts by Rodgers were the third most in a regular season game in his career.
- Green Bay is 4-5 after nine games. Since 2000, the Packers have been under .500 after nine games in 2008 (4-5), 2006 (4-5), 2005 (2-7), 2003 (4-5) and 2000 (4-5). The only season they made the playoffs in the above seasons was in 2003.
- Tennessee running back DeMarco Murray had 123 yards rushing on 17 carries. Since 2000, the Packers are now 31-35-1 when an opposing runner gains over 100 yards in a contest.
- Tennessee averaged 7.6 yards per play in the game. It was only the 13th time since 1970 that the Packers allowed the opponent to gain over 7.5 yards per play in a game. The Packers are now 4-9 in those games.
- Green Bay is now 1-10 since 1970 in games where they allow 45 or more points. The only win was in 1983 when the Pack defeated Washington, 48-47.
- The Packers “D” allowed 446 total yards to the Titans. Since 2000, Green bay is now 31-27-1 in games where they allow the opposition to gain over 400 total yards in a game. They have lost four of their last five when they allow 400 or more total yards.
Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp