Brave's attendance drops again for the 5th season.
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| By tekgraf on Friday, October 01, 2004 - 05:26 pm:|
I just read this. And THEY have a new park.
They offered ticket packages that were more family friendly. They cut prices at the concession stands for some games. Heck, they even had a "Disco Night." Still, the Atlanta Braves couldn't stop a disturbing trend. For the seventh year in a row, attendance dropped at Turner Field.
"Has it really?" pitcher Paul Byrd said with a look of amazement. "I thought we were doing well. We had a little pennant race going. That's surprising to me."
The NL East champion Braves played their final regular-season home game Wednesday, drawing an afternoon crowd of 22,000 that was typical of many turnouts this season - more than half the seats were empty.
Overall, Atlanta drew 2,322,565 fans, a dip of 79,519 (3 percent) from the previous season and an extension of the way a trend going back to 1997. The Braves attracted more than 3.4 million for their debut year at Turner Field, but attendance has fallen every season since.
This year, for the first time since 1991, the average crowd (29,400) was less than 30,000 a game.
It's got nothing to do with the product on the field. The Braves last weekend won their 13th straight division title - more than any franchise in any sport. Still, that hasn't created longer lines at the ticket window.
Many fans point to the financial burden of attending a game, even though baseball has the lowest ticket prices of any major sport.
"It costs $200 for a family of four," said Cley Dorfman, who attended the regular-season finale. "That's a lot of money. And it's become a corporate thing. Look around here. It's all corporate."
Sitting nearby, Judi Lingenfelter was startled to learn attendance keeps dropping.
"I've no idea why, unless it's the ticket prices and concession prices. For a family of four, it's very expensive," she said.
Derek Schiller, wrapping up his first season as the Braves' vice president of sales and promotions, believes this will be the bottom of the team's downward attendance cycle. He said steps have been taken to curb a dwindling season-ticket base, which accounts for much of the decline.
"As an organization, we are very encouraged by our attendance," Schiller said. "We have made huge strides in a short time frame. The overall experience at Turner Field is much better."
The season-ticket base has declined from about 25,000 five years ago to just under 15,000 this season. It doesn't take a mathematical genius to figure out what that's meant - with 81 scheduled home games, that accounts for 810,000 fewer fans over the course of a season.
Schiller points to the recession that struck a few years ago, costing the Atlanta area thousands of jobs and slowing the city's economy. Plus, there's been frustration with the Braves' lack of success in the postseason; their only World Series championship after reaching the playoffs the last 12 years came in 1995. They've lost in the first round the last two years.
On the other hand, this year's team is one that should have been embraced by the city.
Citing the drop in attendance, the Braves have been cutting payroll - a painful process that has cost the team players such as Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Kevin Millwood, Gary Sheffield, Javy Lopez and Vinny Castilla.
After a slow start, the Braves took over first place in the division in July and went on to win the title.
Despite that unexpected success, only 10 of the 79 home dates (there were two doubleheaders because of rainouts) brought in crowds of more than 40,000. The Braves will likely rank 16th out of 30 teams in attendance.
"Obviously, we would like to fill the stands a little more," third baseman Chipper Jones said. "The city of Atlanta should be proud of what we've done. This team has worked its tails off to bring the city of Atlanta a 13th straight division championship. It's a pretty exciting team."
In the past, the Braves have had more than their share of empty seats in the postseason. That's certainly a possibility again this year unless the Braves draw a popular opponent such as the Chicago Cubs in the opening round.
Already, the Braves announced they will offer two free playoff tickets to anyone who buys two at a downtown rally Monday.
Schiller is looking for attendance to start moving upward in 2005, even if the Braves don't win another division title.
"I would hope that we've reached the critical point in the cycle of our attendance," he said. "Regardless of our performance on the field, hopefully we're in position to increase attendance from this point forward."
| By dorrit on Friday, October 01, 2004 - 10:06 pm:|
And here goes yet ANOTHER article on A's attendance, this one from C.C.Times Rick Hurd:
"The A's drew just 35,782 fans to the first two games of their four game series against Seattle.This, even though the American League West title will be decided during the homestand..
But third baseman Eric Chavez said the players are used to it by now.Furthermore,he said it has had no impact on the A's recent pkay."None at all",he said,"We've got to show up and play no matter whose in the stands..we feel bad we're not playing well.We're busting our butt to play well, but right now it's not happening.." NO KIDDING, ERIC
| By oaktownfan on Saturday, October 02, 2004 - 08:03 am:|
Turner Field is hardly a new park. It's a nice park and I wouldn't mind having a replica of that field, espeically if it was built in the net's location. There's a few things I do think make Turner Field a less deseriable place to visit, it's one of the newer parks that has a huge capacity to it. I don't know the exact figures but it's not like SBC or PNC where there's 38-42k capacity. Secondly, I do think Turner is built out in the middle of nowhere. I know Turner used to be the olympic stadium for Atlanta in 96 but it isn't in the most urban or high density of areas.
Atlanta isn't a very good pro sports town. The Falcons hardly sold out before Vick arrived and the Hawks are a complete joke of a franchise and nobody and I mean nobody attends their games. Their hockey team is non-existant. Atlanta, Georgia and the south really are a college area and not much of a huge pro sports city.
| By dorrit on Saturday, October 02, 2004 - 10:45 am:|
I'm bothered by Chavez saying, "We're used to it by now", regarding the attendance not being up to par for the media. It would've of been nice if he said the fans that ARE there, are real die hard fans,
| By me_94501 on Monday, October 04, 2004 - 12:36 am:|
I just sent the following email to various news outlets (I plan to send it to several more; do the same if you'd like):
Before bashing the A's attendance, think of this: The Atlanta Braves, with their fairly new park and consistently winning ways, drew 2.32 million fans in 2004 (79 home dates; it would've been 2.37 or 2.38 million if they had 81 home dates). This is only about 120,000 higher than the A's attendance of 2.2 million. The Minnesota Twins, who won their division three straight years, drew only 1.96 million, almost 250,000 less than the A's. Yet I don't hear anyone in the press grumbling and making snide remarks about the Braves or Twins attendance. In fact, in 2001, 2002, 2003, and 2004, the A's have outdrawn the 1997, 1998, and 1999 San Francisco Giants. Double standard? I think so.
And remember, the A's share the Bay Area with the Giants. The Twins and Braves have an entire market to themselves.
A's attendance: http://www.sportsnetwork.com/merge/tsnform.aspx?c=sportsnetwork&page=mlb/teams/037/attendance.aspx?team=037
Brave attendance: http://www.sportsnetwork.com/merge/tsnform.aspx?c=sportsnetwork&page=mlb/teams/001/attendance.aspx?team=001
Twins attendance: http://www.sportsnetwork.com/merge/tsnform.aspx?c=sportsnetwork&page=mlb/teams/035/attendance.aspx?team=035
A's and Giants attendance compared (each year final totals through 2001): http://www.oaklandfans.com/attendance.html
Anyway, keep that in mind before you mention that A's attendance is "low" and that "A's fans don't support their team."
| By chris_d on Monday, October 04, 2004 - 07:34 pm:|
That's a great e-mail, me_94501. Keep up the good work.
| By oakland_j on Wednesday, October 06, 2004 - 02:39 am:|
The A's took out a full page ad in Monday's Tribune, thanking the 2.2mil who came out to the coliseum this year.