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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. blingslade - Apr 28, 2013 at 8:36 AM

    The Phillies are fielding overpriced, aging ballplayers and losing games. They got their once every 25 years World Series title so now it’s back to the doldrums until 2035.

    • cubanxsenators - Apr 28, 2013 at 10:15 AM

      Didn’t never happen before 1980 whipper-snapper. Lemme see, pennants. . . 1980 minus 1950. . . I get 30. 1950 minus 1915? You crazy kids with your radical new number ideas!

      When I open the Bible & it says “Ray lived 24 years & begat Bob. Bob lived 22 years & begat Bret, then 4 more years & begat Aaron,” I take them numbers serious.

      But you kids go ahead & reinvent what the BigMac means. Heathens.

  2. fissels - Apr 28, 2013 at 8:46 AM

    What do you expect? Its been pretty damn cold fo far

  3. girlsknowsportstoo - Apr 28, 2013 at 8:59 AM

    I’m a Phillies season tix holder…hence I paid for my paid tickets and parking. But, it has been too freaking cold to go to most games. Moreover, ESPN takes an automatic sellout like the Phanatic’s birthday, which is designed for kids, and changes a 1:30 game to 8:00. A beautiful day game for fans is ruined by television.

  4. jazz607 - Apr 28, 2013 at 9:12 AM

    You have a shot of me coming back once you fire Amaro! He’s over his head and was lucky to have Gillick during the past few years. Simply, Amaro must go!

  5. therealtrenches - Apr 28, 2013 at 9:41 AM

    Please….That Pittsburgh park was empty until about two seasons ago.

    The idea that Philly fans are front runners because their attendance is only the 7th highest in baseball, is ludicrous. Philly fans have supported all of their franchises through thick and thin. Few fan bases are as passionate.

    • paperlions - Apr 28, 2013 at 9:56 AM

      This is simply not true. The Phillies attendance was in the bottom 1/2 every year until they started winning. Philly fans show up to watch winning baseball, which doesn’t make them particularly unique.

      • spudchukar - Apr 28, 2013 at 11:02 AM

        Philly Phans may have supported “non-baseball” sports, but as PL stated, their attendance records, are the result of years of winning. It is a false that baseball phans in Philly “always” attend, “through thick and thin”.

      • therealtrenches - Apr 28, 2013 at 2:51 PM

        How far back in history do you want to go? They “started” winning in 1950, and then were monumentally bad until ’64, when they collapsed in September. They didn’t “start” winning again until 1976, which culminated in two world series appearances in the early 80s. They “started winning” again in ’93, and then after being horrible for about a decade, they “started winning’ again ca. 2006.

        Those are some pretty big bleak spots for a fan base that still fills the stadium.

        They’ve been the losingest franchise in SPORT, not just baseball.

        The fans may not have filled the ballpark during decade-long draughts, but this wouldn’t make them any worse than any other fan base that quits on their team at the first sign of trouble.

        And regardless of how well the team performs, Philadelphia fans have always cared.

        And those of you posting that Philadelphia’s a terrible city have no freaking clue…none. It’s a world class city with some of the best museums and restaurants in the world, and a damn fine music scene to boot.

      • ryanrockzzz - Apr 29, 2013 at 9:36 AM

        I think that’s true to a large degree, but honestly, it would take a lot to have me show up at the old Vet also. Since they built the Bank the attendence numbers have actually been pretty good, even in the first few years the Phillies were in the Jim Thome era. The sellout days are over, because to your point bandwagon fans show up to help sell out stadiums. I think that by and large however, Philly fans are above average with their attendance of games.

    • danaking - May 3, 2013 at 5:05 PM

      Philadelphia is the 7th largest metropolitan area in the US; 7th rated attendance sounds about what a .500 team should expect.

      Comparing their attendance to Pittsburgh’s (23rd metro area) is apples and oranges. The Phillies should outdraw the Pirates, given to relatively even teams.

  6. bricktop02 - Apr 28, 2013 at 9:58 AM

    If we had more a$$holes like 950003cups and tfbuckfutter the attendance will pass 3 million for the year.

  7. thesmedman - Apr 28, 2013 at 10:21 AM

    It is true that, a few years out now, Amaro has proven to be a weak GM. He should’ve pushed Manuel to retire. It’s amazing that he let Manuel stay and without a bench coach. He traded for an aging third baseman and didn’t sign a good slugger. They have an aging nucleus. Their pitching is old. It reminds me a lot of 1983. Two years after 83, the Phillies of the seventies began to be dismantled, and they went dormant for a decade. Hope it doesn’t happen again, but maybe ownership will step in to push for substantial change/improvement, which might mean executive changes as much as player changes.

    • ryanrockzzz - Apr 29, 2013 at 9:44 AM

      Hey man…good teams eventually get old and have to rebuild. The Phillies are an old window that keeps trying to close that Amaro keeps proped open, hoping it can last a few more years. Show me one team that contended for a 5-6 year span and didn’t get old, but in fact got young? You can blame some things on Amaro, such as failing to get quality middle relief, or that strange Papelbon signing that has limited some of their financial flexibility. Also Revere has been awful in CF, I’ll give that to you. But at the same time Adams was a good signing, re-signing Rollins still helps this team every year, and Young has been good this season.

      It’s not Amaro’s fault that key players are aging. What other third baseman should have signed? Mark Reynolds, who wold have been a multi year commitment? (Young is one year.) The pitching staff was assembled to win last year, and the year before. They played awful against a hot St.Louis team two years ago, and last year had too many injuries at the start of the season. Should they have given yet ANOTHER long term deal to Josh Hamilton, who had risk factors and isn’t exactly lighting it up this year?
      Trying to figure out why Philly fans want to take out their fustration with an aging, injury prone team on the GM, who’s done nothing but bring in good players to keep the window open longer than it naturally should have been. Gotta stop listening to all the awful Philly talk radio man.

  8. b453841l - Apr 28, 2013 at 12:39 PM

    Too many Phillys’ Phanz

  9. thomas844 - Apr 28, 2013 at 12:58 PM

    The weather in Philadelphia must be pretty fair.

  10. liamj55 - Apr 28, 2013 at 1:24 PM

    The term front runner and fair weather applies to every single fan base in North America. It needs to be removed out our lexicon because there is little logic to it. Bad fan based are the ones who don’t come out when their team is good. (Rays, Braves) 2nd Bill fails to mention their TV contract is up. If you don’t think that will provide a nice chunk of change you’re kidding yourself. Also us Philly fans are so “fair weather” we just happened to set highest TV ratings this year….. Get some facts.

    • thebadguyswon - Apr 28, 2013 at 5:05 PM

      I agree. I’m a Mets fan and our fan base does the same thing. Win and the fans will come. Lose, like they are now, and the Wilpons can pound salt.

  11. liamj55 - Apr 28, 2013 at 5:18 PM

    I agree Mets fan badguyswon. What are fan based suppose to be drones that show up when they know the product is bad? I am not calling out any Mets fans because I would feel the same way they do if the script was flipped.

  12. therealtrenches - Apr 28, 2013 at 7:09 PM

    Listen, St Louis fans are supposed to be the most loyal in baseball, but that park was empty by the 7th today, and they weren’t getting shelled, either. What were they doing, attending the Rams draft after party? Oh, I forgot, they care even less about the rams.

  13. girlsknowsportstoo - Apr 28, 2013 at 8:31 PM

    Ranger fans treated Hamilton’s family poorly; same with Cliff Lee’s wife in NY, fans were beaten in LA; Boston fans were shot with rubber bullets after the WS; fires were put out in sacred St. Louis and San Francisco…no such happenings in ’08 with Philly. Yet, we hear about the battery incident from 12 years ago and the drunken Santa story from 40+ years ago…btw, he deserved the boos and snowballs. Look around, Philly baseball fans don’t hassle visitors. The worst incident I ever witnessed was in 2008 and it was a visitor from LA…he had to be escorted out during the NCLS because he was he drunk and throwing debris on the field and at the fans.

  14. andyreidisthegoat - Apr 28, 2013 at 9:25 PM

    Front running fans. Whst else would you expect from philly. If they start winning the place will be jammed again. What a bunch of jokes.

    • hisgirlgotburrelled - Apr 29, 2013 at 10:10 AM

      Which is completely unlike (insert team).

      I’m pretty sure any team would be fking ecstatic if their “front running fans” stopped showing up and they still averaged 36,000+ in attendance in April. The Cubs are the only team close to them in attendance that don’t have a winning record or pre-season hype of being World Series contenders.

      • andyreidisthegoat - Apr 29, 2013 at 12:49 PM

        You are missing the point. Previous Aprils when they were winning the place was packed. You guys have a tendency to disappear and get really quiet when your teams are losing. ie the sixers. if the phils keep losing that place will be a parking lot in august and september. that is the definition of front running fans. don’t get upset with me. i’m just relaying what j-roll and the rest of the team thinks of its fan base.

    • hisgirlgotburrelled - Apr 29, 2013 at 1:19 PM

      No, you’re missing the point. Attendance fluctuates with winning IN EVERY SINGLE CITY. It is not unique at all to Philadelphia, yet you call us “jokes” as if this doesn’t happen anywhere else. Every city has bandwagon fans. Where do you live that the fans aren’t quiet and sell out the stadium when their team sucks??

      Texas Rangers: 2009 – 26,617/game, 2012 – 42,720
      Detroit Tigers: 2010 – 30,386/game, 2012 – 37,383

      So when these teams aren’t going to the World Series we can expect them to still get that higher attendance, right?

      • andyreidisthegoat - Jun 13, 2013 at 9:25 PM

        Why so angry?

  15. Francisco (FC) - Apr 29, 2013 at 10:02 AM

    Even with the drop, the Phillies rank second in the National League in attendance so far.

    This small point never made it to the post. Even with the lower figures they rank right up there in the NL in attendance. What happened to the other teams?

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