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Attendance at Citizens Bank Park is way down

Apr 27, 2013, 11:05 PM EDT

Pittsburgh Pirates v Philadelphia Phillies Getty Images

Between 2008-12, the Phillies were among baseball’s best when it came to filling seats on their home turf. Citizens Bank Park seats about 43,650 and officially sold out 257 consecutive games dating back to July 2009.

The Phillies missed the playoffs for the first time since 2006 last year and GM Ruben Amaro’s tepid off-season gave fans very little to get excited about, particularly when you glance a bit south on I-95 to the Washington Nationals. As a result, attendance at Citizens Bank Park is way down thus far, as the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Matt Gelb reports:

The Phillies drew 513,147 fans for their first 14 home games in 2013. That is 117,031 fewer fans than in the first 14 games of 2012. Their average decrease of 8,359 fans per game is second-most in baseball; only the gutted Marlins are worse.

If the trend continues, it could have a serious effect on the team’s finances.

An average decrease of 8,359 fans projected to 81 home dates is a total loss of 677,079. The team’s average ticket price is $37, according to Team Marketing Report and Forbes. That could represent, on average, a $25 million loss in revenue. And that’s just in ticket revenue alone. When fewer people are in the ballpark, less money is spent on concessions and merchandise.

(Important note: Gate receipts used to be split between both participating teams but that is no longer the case, as of 2010.)

Since 2009, the Phillies have operated with one of baseball’s largest payrolls, north of $100 million. They owe $104.5 million to just six players in 2014. If attendance continues to fall, the Phillies may find it difficult to maintain a payroll in the $160 million area. With a barren Minor League system, their ability to field a competitive roster will become more difficult as well.

  1. ll8078 - Apr 27, 2013 at 11:08 PM

    and people should spend money to watch this team? lol

  2. randygnyc - Apr 27, 2013 at 11:09 PM

    Ouch. The worst feeling in the world is hopelessness. It’s a vicious cycle that the phillies have now found themselves. I suppose if the Phil’s want to pick up 15 million of cliff lee’s salary next year, the Yankees would take a flyer.

  3. deadeyedesign23 - Apr 27, 2013 at 11:09 PM

    Ruin Tomorrow Jr.

    • drone501 - Apr 27, 2013 at 11:17 PM

      who’s running this franchise. paul holmgren. salaries are way to high with a team that isn’t going nowhere.

  4. 13arod - Apr 27, 2013 at 11:20 PM

    the phills are still playing well though and they almost have less attendence then the marlins come on phills fans go show your team some pride

    • schmedley69 - Apr 27, 2013 at 11:24 PM

      The Phillies attendance is twice the Marlins attendance, but don’t let the facts get in the way of your hating.

      http://espn.go.com/mlb/attendance

    • abaird2012 - Apr 28, 2013 at 9:40 AM

      I nearly gave you a thumbs-up for spelling much of your post correctly. Now, if we just work on the punctuation …

      • paperlions - Apr 28, 2013 at 10:04 AM

        ….and logic, and content, and insight, and accuracy.

  5. schmedley69 - Apr 27, 2013 at 11:23 PM

    Good luck with that. Bill failed to mention that the Phillies average attendance is still 7th overall in baseball, and only 1,000 per game behind your beloved Yankees, who draw from a much bigger metropolitan area. Guess the Yankees fans are feeling hopeless too? There are a lot of teams who would love to have the Phillies attendance, including the Nats, who average 6 thousand per game less than the Phils.

    http://espn.go.com/mlb/attendance

    The Phillies bats will heat up once the weather does, and so will the attendance. The Braves are coming back down to earth, and the Nats are proving not to be the world beaters that everyone predicted they would be. Chase Utley and Roy Halladay are not done, and neither are the Phillies. I expect them to be in the hunt the entire season.

    • Ben - Apr 28, 2013 at 2:06 AM

      Holy apples to oranges Batman.

      If I have 10 million dollars, and I lose 5 million dollars in a bad investment, I’ve still got more money than the average schlub. But I’m still a dumbass who lost 5 million dollars by virtue of my poor decision making.

    • paperlions - Apr 28, 2013 at 10:08 AM

      Because the point wasn’t that they attendance (or tickets sold) sucks, just that it is way off of where it was. Last year the Phillies sold over 3.1 M tickets by mid-February. This year at that point they were 1/2 M off of that pace. More people might show up to games when it warms up, but the numbers presented are for tickets sold, not attendance, and the weather likely hasn’t affected ticket sales that much….since in years past most all of the tickets were gone long before anyone knew what the weather was going to be like.

  6. schmedley69 - Apr 27, 2013 at 11:26 PM

    It should also be mentioned that most of the teams ahead of the Phillies in attendance play in much warmer climates. The Phillies have played a lot of games in cold weather. Check back at the end of the year and don’t be surprised if the Phillies attendance is near the top.

  7. demstinkinbums - Apr 27, 2013 at 11:45 PM

    The barometer has always been and continues to be 3 million through the gates… And Da Phitins are still on track to crack 3 milz… So SHADUP!

    • DJ MC - Apr 27, 2013 at 11:54 PM

      Actually, they are on pace to “crack” 2.97 million. That may be close to 3 million, but I have a feeling if another team were on that pace the view would lean towards “close, but no cigar.” It also doesn’t account for the possibility of further drops, if the team continues to struggle.

  8. kvanhorn87 - Apr 27, 2013 at 11:46 PM

    Bill, you are being used by Craig. Whenever a negative phillies story is needed they turn to you so Phil’s fans can’t complain of bias. Not a bad gig as long as you realize it. Go ahead mods and refuse to post this comment too.

    • Francisco (FC) - Apr 29, 2013 at 10:05 AM

      What are you talking about? Bill’s been razzing on the Phils since he opened Crashburn Alley.

  9. hittfamily - Apr 28, 2013 at 12:05 AM

    They never should have outlawed puking on children. There goes half the season ticket holders.

  10. 950003cups - Apr 28, 2013 at 12:10 AM

    The reason is only because Phillthy is inhabited by Front Runners!! Useless FRONT RUNNERS. Garbage!!! Fake fans.

  11. giantssb42champs - Apr 28, 2013 at 12:38 AM

    Pathetic. Fair weather fans to the max.

    • 18thstreet - Apr 28, 2013 at 10:11 AM

      There is not a franchise in baseball or any other sports whose attendance does not correlate with winning percentage.

      If people aren’t showing up, the tickets cost too much.

  12. tfbuckfutter - Apr 28, 2013 at 12:42 AM

    Phillies fans are terrible. Maybe the players should start hucking batteries at them.

    And I was just thinking….if you throw regular size batteries are normal players what do you throw at Delmon Young? Golf cart batteries?

    • DelawarePhilliesFan - Apr 28, 2013 at 8:54 AM

      Good points – remember that time a fan was nearly beaten to death in Philly for wearing a Giants shirt? Or when those Phillies fans attacked the Royals first base coach on the field? Or when an in field fly rule went againt the Phillies in last years playoffs, and the game was interupted by fans throwing debris? Or….

      • tfbuckfutter - Apr 28, 2013 at 10:07 AM

        Comparative ethics.

        “We aren’t terrible because there have been isolated incidents of multiple other groups doing things as bad or worse.”

        I like it.

      • DelawarePhilliesFan - Apr 28, 2013 at 11:01 AM

        Oh sorry – I thought you making a point in your original post. My mistake

      • tfbuckfutter - Apr 28, 2013 at 11:23 AM

        Did I say “Phillies fans are the worst” or “There is no group of fans worse than Phillies fans”?

        Do singular acts by MULTIPLE other fan bases negate the PERSISTENT terribleness of the Phillies’?

        Now that you put it in perspective for me….maybe Phillies fans are, in actuality, THE worst.

      • DelawarePhilliesFan - Apr 28, 2013 at 11:31 AM

        Singular acts…..like an incident from 14 years ago that you are using as proof of wretchedness?

        Please, tell me without using a worn out cliche about barfing (singular act) or taser (singular act) that puts Phillies fans any different than anyone else.

      • tfbuckfutter - Apr 28, 2013 at 12:07 PM

        http://bleacherreport.com/articles/639238-philadelphia-sports-fans-voted-worst-in-american-by-gq-magazine

        Research and polling?

      • DelawarePhilliesFan - Apr 28, 2013 at 2:07 PM

        GQ poll? Thats your argument, a GQ Poll?

        Go back to using the worn out cliches

      • tfbuckfutter - Apr 28, 2013 at 2:26 PM

        Check the user poll included.

        Check any poll.

        In fact, MLB players polled picked Philly as the worst too.

        Just accept it. At least the Oakland Raiders fans embrace their terribleness. They don’t whine like babies when someone points out how awful they are.

        You guys are the worst.

      • DelawarePhilliesFan - Apr 28, 2013 at 2:33 PM

        String together two coherent words, and I will listen.

        BTW, what does GQ say about Drakar Noir vs. other colognes?

      • tfbuckfutter - Apr 28, 2013 at 2:39 PM

        So, you ask for evidence (after ruling out a ton of evidence for being too evidential), and then you want to discount the source of further evidence?

        What about the MLB player poll?

        http://abclocal.go.com/wpvi/story?section=news/sports/pro/baseball&id=8700568

        Or are MLB players too incoherent to listen to as well?

      • DelawarePhilliesFan - Apr 28, 2013 at 2:56 PM

        So….unless opposing players are happy here, Phillies fans are bad? A good fan base SHOULD make opposing players feel unwelcomed.

        Maybe along with signing Koumbaya to them, we should offer copies of GQ magazine as well.

      • tfbuckfutter - Apr 28, 2013 at 3:30 PM

        So, aside from the repeated examples of poor behavior (“cliches” as you call them), the poll showing that the general public finds the Phillies fans to be the most boorish, and the poll of MLB players (who are exposed to ALL teams fans for comparative purposes) picking Philly as having the MOST obnoxious fan base…..

        You’d still like more evidence I take it?

      • DelawarePhilliesFan - Apr 28, 2013 at 3:46 PM

        What repeated examples have you given? You named the 1999 battery incident, nothing else. You are so worked up you aren’t even reading your own posts.

        No clue who you are fan of, but if opposing players feel welcomed by your fans, and you like that, then good for you.

      • tfbuckfutter - Apr 28, 2013 at 4:24 PM

        YOU cited the repeated examples (See how I put “cliches” in “quotes”?)

        Can you even fucking read you halfwit?

        And I’m not the least worked up. Trolling you has been the most amusing part of my day.

      • DelawarePhilliesFan - Apr 28, 2013 at 4:53 PM

        Profanity is the crutch of the conversalationist cripple.

        Name calling is just frustration

      • tfbuckfutter - Apr 28, 2013 at 5:25 PM

        Making up words when you suggested one wasn’t speaking coherently earlier is the sign of a halfwit.

        That’s not name calling. It is identifying.

      • DelawarePhilliesFan - Apr 28, 2013 at 7:09 PM

        Sorry, you can’t take it back now. Profanity and name calling

      • tfbuckfutter - Apr 28, 2013 at 8:33 PM

        Sorry.

        I have problems with being able to properly conversalate.

      • DelawarePhilliesFan - Apr 28, 2013 at 8:44 PM

        Spell check cop now? Better check for grammar too. That is always a sure sign your argument carried the day

      • tfbuckfutter - Apr 28, 2013 at 9:48 PM

        Spell check?

        That one would have broken your computer if you tried to run spell check, you halfwit.

  13. randygnyc - Apr 28, 2013 at 12:49 AM

    Delmon young? That’s easy. Battery………..acid.

  14. xmatt0926x - Apr 28, 2013 at 12:54 AM

    I would guess if you look year by year that the top 10 in attendance are usually based on recent playoff success or current high hopes based on offseason signings, etc. I think this years list so far reflects that EXCEPT for the Phillies who are still drawing well enough even though Ruben Amaro has rendered the teams chances for success hopeless. This isn’t just a team with a bad record based on injury or bad luck. This is truly a mediocre at best team with a godawful offense and bullpen. Everyone knows this and has known it since well before the season. Ruben is already hinting at a firesale as well if things don’t pick up by the trade deadline. His words were “we may be real young next season”‘. Bottom line is that this is a boring team with no real prospects to speak of other than Jesse Biddle and he’s a year away and no reinforcements on the way. They can’t score or hold leads late in the game. The attendance is pretty good for what appears to be a hopeless situation.

  15. rexadelphia8 - Apr 28, 2013 at 12:56 AM

    Phillies suck but your team is worse. Go fcuk yourself and I guess there is no news on your teams so you gotta troll the phillies shit. Talkin shit behind a computer is easy huh. Keep it up fat mutha fuckres

    • cktai - Apr 28, 2013 at 1:32 AM

      Bill’s team is Philadelphia. But you know, whatever…

    • 18thstreet - Apr 28, 2013 at 10:18 AM

      I love people posting with anonymous pseudonyms (as I do) who claim that a guy like Bill is cowardly for hiding behind a computer.

  16. jrs45 - Apr 28, 2013 at 1:25 AM

    Attendance is pretty bad in a lot of ballparks in my opinion. Just saying as a baseball fan.

  17. mustbechris - Apr 28, 2013 at 2:02 AM

    This is why the outrage when Jimmy Rollins called the fans “frontrunners” amused me. Don’t be offended about being called something you are. Phillies fans are GREAT when the team is an exciting product – not even a winning product, just an exciting product. The sellout streak was pretty unbelievable and the city really came together around the team for a nice run there from about 06 through last year. But I was at many a game in the 90s at the Vet sitting in the outfield on $4 tickets with entire sections to myself becsuse there were barely 10,000 people in attendance to watch some really atrocious and mismanaged Phillies teams. At that time, the Flyers reigned supreme in the city (and for what it’s worth, despite being pretty terrible this year, the flyers are sitting on a 110 game sellout streak – spanning 4 seasons now). The Phillies have in the same way ceded much good will and enthusiasm now to the novelty of the Eagles having a true new start for the first time in a generation.

    With all of that said, sustained 33k attendance in the era of high ticket prices is absolutely nothing to sneeze at. Attendance is down, but the high standard it’s down from makes things seem worse than they are. I remember the lean years. The ’98 Phillies would have been thrilled to pull 33k fans per game.

  18. decimusprime - Apr 28, 2013 at 2:48 AM

    At least now we know why the O’s put up such a fight. If they lost one home game, only played 80 home games, they lose one of the games in which they get ticket and fan spending money. So maybe somebody should tell rex ryan.

  19. dirtyharry1971 - Apr 28, 2013 at 3:01 AM

    Now phily is a scumbag city, there is no denying that fact, i mean i cant say one good thing about it. But if you really want to see attendance drop? You just watch the blue jays, they havent been able to draw in 20 years and right now they are ready to join the expos and i will rejoice in their demise!!!! Hey Canada, stick with hockey!!!

  20. quintjs - Apr 28, 2013 at 4:05 AM

    i never really took much notice of the philly fans being sensitive to any form of attack on their team but WOW.

    Is attendence down? Yes, an average of 8,359 per game.
    Could that have an effect on future revenue? Yes, at least $25m a year.

    What was the point of the article? to let us know that attendence is down, and that could have an effect on future revenue for the oraganisation.

    Why is everyone jumping up and down attacking the blog? We all know the Phillies draw more fans than the average team, but that isn’t the point. The MLB isn’t going to make up the drop-off in revenue if the Phillies place in the top half of attendence. Less revenue and aging players on huge contracts can be a problem, plenty of teams have proved that.

    If simple facts get you that upset… my god…

    • paperlions - Apr 28, 2013 at 10:29 AM

      Excellent post. I am just struggling with how you didn’t notice the thin skin of many (not all, of course) Phillies fans. Phillies fans think I troll them simply because I don’t think their team is awesome or that their organization is run very well.

      • mustbechris - Apr 28, 2013 at 10:59 AM

        Plenty of Phillies fans would agree with you on both of those “troll” points.

      • paperlions - Apr 28, 2013 at 2:18 PM

        I realize that….but any time I say anything that isn’t 100% complimentary of the Phillies, people attack the post as trolling….despite the use of….you know….facts.

      • hisgirlgotburrelled - Apr 29, 2013 at 11:31 AM

        When there are so many comments like these in so many posts about the Phillies you don’t have much patience for a non-Phillies fan’s opinions on their team. Let’s not act like there’s no reason for Philly fans to get defensive, like each team and city is equally hated and bashed.

        dirtyharry1971 – Apr 28, 2013 at 3:01 AM
        Now phily is a scumbag city, there is no denying that fact, i mean i cant say one good thing about it.

        tfbuckfutter – Apr 28, 2013 at 12:42 AM
        Phillies fans are terrible. Maybe the players should start hucking batteries at them

        hittfamily – Apr 28, 2013 at 12:05 AM
        They never should have outlawed puking on children.

  21. kicksave1980 - Apr 28, 2013 at 4:10 AM

    I’m not a Phillies fan, but I’d have to assume that a lot of fans knew that this time would come. The payroll is top heavy, but sometimes that’s the price you pay to field a championship team. Good times don’t last forever, but they make the bad times worth it.

  22. mj1818 - Apr 28, 2013 at 6:36 AM

    Philly fans always hate on Pittsburgh, but they have shown their true colors yet again. Not surprised the least bit.

  23. skeleteeth - Apr 28, 2013 at 7:12 AM

    Loyal to a fault when it comes to football but alas, it is a football town after all.

  24. gbar22 - Apr 28, 2013 at 7:54 AM

    This reads almost as a plea to phillies fans to go out to the ballpark

  25. gbar22 - Apr 28, 2013 at 8:03 AM

    Ok I live in the New York metropolitan area and any Yankee or met fan or any new York sports fan tries to argue this isn’t a front running town is talking out of their ass. All our teams maybe with the exception of the rangers (though I cringe to say it) never show up unless the team is winning. This area is all about the band wagon and don’t let anyone argue otherwise. Look at the numbers.

    • Kevin S. - Apr 28, 2013 at 6:12 PM

      No, the Knick fans always show up, acting as enablers for the worst owner in North American sports.

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