Tuesday, March 22, 2011

If A Home Run Is Hit At Camelback Ranch, Does It Make A Sound?

Sorry for missing this story this past weekend; Steve Dilbeck of the LA Times notes that the Dodgers' spring training attendance has fallen more than any other team this year, from a magnitude perspective.

The Dodgers are playing to a lot of empty seats this spring.

They need to figure out a way to computer generate some bodies in the stands at Camelback Ranch for the TV cameras. A stadium that holds 13,000 is a step away from embarrassing when it’s less than half full, which it often has been this spring.

Maybe the Arizona novelty for Dodgers fans has worn off. Maybe it’s a result of a losing season or a state hit hard by the recession. Or just possibly, it’s a weariness with ownership.

Either way, Dodgers’ attendance has plummeted this spring. Last year the Dodgers averaged a record 11,589 in 17 home games. This spring, through 10 games, they are averaging 6,645.

That’s a stunning difference of 4,944 -- or a 42.3% drop.

The Angels are still "ahead" of us from a percentage perspective--their attendance has fallen by 50% while ours is only a scant 42% over prior year--but really, do we need to be ahead of the Angels to feel good about ourselves?

When you consider that spring training requires more "walk-up" ticket purchases, as a percentage of the total ticket-buying population, relative to the regular season, one has to wonder how empty Dodger Stadium might be this year, particularly if the few season ticket holders (who wanted to renew their packages to guarantee the chance to see Jay Gibbons, Marcus Thames, and Tony Gwynn Jr. battle it out in left field) don't show up for the games. What happens in Dodger Stadium might stay in Dodger Stadium--because no one is there to see it.

hat tip: Big League Stew

UPDATE 9:57p: The ever-prolific Eric Stephen over at TBLA says Dilbeck's analysis is flawed due to small sample size, and that he counts games played at Dodger Stadium among his 2010 set. Even still, attendance @ Camelback is down 17%; largely in line with the MLB average, but not anything to scream from the rooftops, either.


Nostradamus said...

The combination of a shitty season and a shitty economy are not what brings folks out to spring training. I was thinking of going out there myself, but reality intervened.

Steve Sax said...

updated due to TBLA data...