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Yankees dropping in attendance, ratings

Jun 15, 2013, 7:15 PM EDT

Yankees starting pitcher Pettitte puts his face into his glove as he comes off the field after giving up a run in the fourth inning against the Angels in an MLB baseball game in Anaheim Reuters

Brian Costa of the Wall Street Journal has some interesting figures in his latest column about the Yankees:

Through Wednesday, the average ratings for Yankee games on the YES Network were down 38% compared to the same period last season, according to Nielsen figures.

The drop is even more remarkable when you consider that last year’s ratings were the Yankees’ lowest since 2003.

In the stands, the trend has been similar, if not quite as pronounced. The Yankees are drawing an average home crowd of 39,103, still the fourth highest in baseball but a 6% drop from what it was over the same period in 2012.

The Yankees have been without most of their recognizable faces this year, namely Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira, Curtis Granderson, so that is one explanation. Costa also notes that the team has had to compete with the Knicks, Nets, Rangers, and Islanders as all four made the post-season in their respective sports.

Ultimately, though, despite the Yankees’ ability to hang around first place in the AL East in the face of adversity, they do have a philosophical debate to address with Robinson Cano‘s pending free agency. Is their attendance and viewership buoyed by the presence of marquee players? If so, Costa writes, they may feel that keeping Cano in town no matter the price and no matter the contract length is imperative.

  1. aceshigh11 - Jun 15, 2013 at 7:17 PM

    Sorry, can’t resist…

  2. pipkin42 - Jun 15, 2013 at 7:29 PM

    Every time this happens to a team like the Yankees or the Red Sox, I like to think that their fans have a moment of understanding for fans of teams like the Orioles or the Royals. If the Yankees see such a dip in just a couple of seasons, maybe their fans will start to understand what it’s like to root for a team that has been in last or next-to-last for over a decade. Maybe understand why people don’t feel like shelling out hundreds of dollars to go watch a bunch of retreads and nobodies play mediocre baseball.

    Probably not, though.

    • hockeyflow33 - Jun 15, 2013 at 8:20 PM

      Yea, the Red Sox have been winning forever and never had losing seasons. It’s not like the 2004 WS win was a big deal. Before that, time’s were great here in Boston

      • sophiethegreatdane - Jun 15, 2013 at 10:08 PM

        Nice bit of revisionist history there. The famed “sellout streak that wasn’t” didn’t start until — when– 2003 or so? Right around the time the club’s management started shilling out the dollars and openly competing with the hated Yankees. Up until then, sellouts were never the story even for a team with a wicked small stadium and a wicked large fan base.

        Then, the Sox have a single down year, and the number of fans jumping off the bandwagon was loud enough to rattle the windows of Faneuil Hall.

      • hockeyflow33 - Jun 15, 2013 at 10:14 PM

        Congrats on your wonderful ability to pick up on sarcasm. In case you can’t tell, which by previous evidence is the case, this post is also loaded with sarcasm.

    • kasskivt - Jun 16, 2013 at 1:18 AM

      We don’t care about the Royals or the Orioles. We care about our team, the Yankees. Winning is the oly acceptable option.

      • 18thstreet - Jun 16, 2013 at 8:44 AM

        Clearly, the team and its legions of fans need to commit seppuku. Or you could get over yourself. Naah.

        Haw-haw. Haw-haw indeed.

    • turdfurgerson68 - Jun 16, 2013 at 3:25 AM

      Why should anyone feel badly for either the Orioles or the Royals? Look at Oakland Athletics or the Tampa Bay Devil Rays; other ‘small market’ teams that have done quite well.

      It’s all about ownership and the mgmt team they put in place. Unfortunately for Oriole and Royal fans, your owners are clown figures.

    • pjmarn6 - Jun 16, 2013 at 5:33 PM

      Is it possible that baseball fans are finally realizing that they are seeing a baseball version of W.W.W. Players making millions while on drugs and the game being played today has little semblance to the GAME that Mantle, Mays and Williams played? NAH! They still want to live in fantasyland at DisneyWorld! How many thought the players had doped themselves up when balls flew out of the stadiums and third rate players get multimillion guaranteed salaries?
      Who was that player that got a $500,000 tractor as a world series bonus?
      Completely ridiculous!

  3. thebadguyswon - Jun 15, 2013 at 7:31 PM

    Lost in this is the little fact that TV ratings for all of baseball are down as well as ticket sales.

    I have said it a million times, Bud Selig needs to go. We need a new head of the game that can work on getting younger viewers interested in the sport. MLB has a serious problem in 20 years if they don’t do something to address that. Starting playoff games before 8:30 est might be a start. King Bud is only concerned with the almighty dollar.

    • proudlycanadian - Jun 15, 2013 at 7:49 PM

      Are ticket sales really down? Do you have the stats readily available? I know that attendance is up quite nicely in Toronto.

      • thebadguyswon - Jun 15, 2013 at 7:53 PM

        It was ticket sales across baseball. It was an article I read in the NY Times last week.

      • proudlycanadian - Jun 15, 2013 at 7:55 PM

        Who am I to question the accuracy of the NY Times? I wonder what the stats would be if Miami and Houston were excluded.

      • raysfan1 - Jun 15, 2013 at 8:36 PM

        Per Baseball Reference, 19 of the 30 teams’ attendance is down so far, and overall lagging by 1.2 million. Miami is “leading the way,” down something like 350K. However, there are also pretty sizable drops in Boston, Texas, and Philadelphia.

      • jwbiii - Jun 15, 2013 at 8:37 PM

        Total attendance in down 1.2M.
        Miami is down 376k, and as Old Gator reminds us, there are a lot of no shows.
        Houston is down 138k.

      • proudlycanadian - Jun 15, 2013 at 8:44 PM

        Thank you. Not sure what it actually means since I think that the weather was much better (especially warmer) last year.

      • thebadguyswon - Jun 15, 2013 at 8:42 PM

        Well yeah – add the Mets in there too.

    • hockeyflow33 - Jun 15, 2013 at 8:21 PM

      I thought there were kids on the West Coast but I guess not.

      • thebadguyswon - Jun 15, 2013 at 8:46 PM

        I know they won’t change the times. But they are – and will continue to – lose kids that can’t stay up until midnight to watch the playoff games.

        Those same kids have no issues watching NFL playoff games seeing how they are on in the afternoon. So what you end up with is adults that follow the NFL, the more accessible sport, and not baseball.

        So be it. Selig doesn’t care, so we shouldn’t either. You watch where this sport is in 20 years.

      • thebadguyswon - Jun 15, 2013 at 8:48 PM

        I don’t mean MLB will disappear. I am saying MLB will be much less popular than it is today.

    • DJ MC - Jun 15, 2013 at 10:23 PM

      It sounds like baseball has a problem with people watching the playoffs now. Considering the last World Series* to have first-pitch times set at 8:30 or later was 2009; every game since was 8:00 Eastern, give or take five minutes and rain delays.

      *Just using that as a simple barometer, instead of looking through every single playoff series.

      That half-hour is important: it’s at least a bit easier to justify allowing kids to stay up a few minutes after 11 than almost until midnight.

    • badintent - Jun 17, 2013 at 12:19 AM

      It cost my sister , her daughter and her ex, over $ 750 to watch ONE game in box seats for a single Yankee game.That is INSANE $$$ ! Even with it including drinks and dinner.

      • thebadguyswon - Jun 17, 2013 at 12:09 PM

        Yeah…I hear ya. Its bad. I guess I’m lucky to live 6 hours from any park. Makes my decision to watch the big screen at home pretty easy.

      • badintent - Jun 18, 2013 at 12:50 AM

        And no idiot spills beer on you. No bird diving , no lineups at the loo, no parking lot brawls and no traffic.Brillant on your part.

      • thebadguyswon - Jun 18, 2013 at 12:41 PM

        Hey – I wish I could go no and then! But its an excursion now. When MLB was in Montreal, I could pick up and go whenever I wanted. I live in NY about an hour south of Montreal.

  4. proudlycanadian - Jun 15, 2013 at 7:52 PM

    Do the Yankees still control YES? I think that I once read that the Yankees were going to sell control of YES. If they did sell, they probably sold at the high.

    • bigharold - Jun 16, 2013 at 2:26 PM

      The Yankees sold 49% to Fox with a option to sell up to an 80% stake. So, the Yankees still control Yes. Also, part of the agreement that will have Yankees games on Yes until 2042.

  5. raysfan1 - Jun 15, 2013 at 7:57 PM

    Blame it on Stub Hub. /s

  6. nbjays - Jun 15, 2013 at 7:59 PM

    In before Historio…


    • historiophiliac - Jun 15, 2013 at 8:21 PM

      Derp! I was gonna say that.

      • proudlycanadian - Jun 15, 2013 at 8:48 PM

        On a different topic. Why did Sanchez exit the Tigers game early?

  7. dohpey28 - Jun 15, 2013 at 8:24 PM

    I think what this shows the Yankees is that Robinson Cano has zero drawing power.

  8. jimeejohnson - Jun 15, 2013 at 9:34 PM

    When Darth Vader, aka George Steinbrenner died, the evil empire lost a bit of its edge. Steinbrenner was a very worthy adversary even if he was consumed by the dark side. (sarcasm intended)

  9. ndnut - Jun 15, 2013 at 9:45 PM

    I am a 16 year old who caught the baseball bug this year. The only problem with that hypothesis is that MLB and the NFL are on in different seasons until the playoffs. At that point, I watch my Vikings in the afternoon and the Twins at night. If my team isn’t in the playoffs, I don’t follow them, except the Divisional Series day games when I get home from school, with the exception of the World Series. MLB should be more scared of the gaining popularity of MLS. My favorite team is on the west coast, so their games are late enough that I can follow the Twins as well. Since those seasons run completely parallel, that should be Bud Light’s bigger concern.

    • pbastille - Jun 16, 2013 at 12:03 AM

      Can’t believe anyone thumbs-downed this comment. Questions were raised about the demographic baseball needs to attract, and here’s a representative of that demographic stating his opinion. He’s right. Soccer is cutting in and will continue to. I have a very athletic 17 year old who has played at various times throughout his life travel and/or HS football, lacrosse, soccer, baseball, and track. The only sporting event he forked his own money over to see was the Germany-USA friendly at RFK a couple weeks ago. And it wasn’t cheap.

  10. buffalomafia - Jun 15, 2013 at 10:23 PM

    Maybe cause owners dont want to get better players?

    • Old Gator - Jun 15, 2013 at 11:04 PM

      They want to get them. But with few exceptions, they don’t want to pay the price for them.

      • 18thstreet - Jun 16, 2013 at 9:01 AM

        Free agency has changed. Teams are locking up their best players (or even taking chances locking up players who might be great) and there’s less talent available in free agency. So, for a team like the Yankees (say, the Yankees) that finds itself in need of a third baseman or outfielder, nothing’s available except Kevin Youkilis or Johnny Gomes at an inflated price.

        The Yankees have always been able to wait on their own players’ free agency clock, knowing that if they want to keep Derek Jeter or Bernie Williams, they could outbid anyone for their services. (Plus the appeal of playing for baseball marquis franchise, in NYC.) And they could fill in the rest of the team with money. The signings didn’t always work, but Carl Pavano and CC Sabathia were both the best available free agent pitchers. Gary Sheffield may have been a bit over the hill, but not quite, and was a known quantity. Etc.

        But there’s nothing left in free agency. Not of the quality from 2000, when A-Rod, Mussina, and Manny Ramirez were all available. I’m not going to throw dirt on the Yankees’ grave just yet, but their old team-building playbook (holding onto ALL of their best players, outbidding baseball for the best two free agents each year, and some really good value signings from Cashman) falls apart without the middle piece.

    • captainloaded - Jun 16, 2013 at 7:05 AM

      The have entirely too much money committed to over the hill players.

  11. pisano - Jun 16, 2013 at 12:54 AM

    I can’t figure why the attendance wouldn’t drop, their offense is as exciting as watching Mark Sanchez at QB, minus the butt fumble.

  12. 4d3fect - Jun 16, 2013 at 1:24 AM

    This will be said about Dodgers and Angels before long, I imagine.

  13. theskinsman - Jun 16, 2013 at 4:53 AM

    There evidently is a point where bandwagon, front running fans stop buying tickets to see the 3rd place Yankees.

    • pisano - Jun 16, 2013 at 9:55 AM

      theskinsman…..with the players they have on the team now, third place will be a good thing for them, I’m think fourth at best. The only thing that’s keeping their head above water is their pitching.

      • theskinsman - Jun 16, 2013 at 4:31 PM

        Pisano, my friend…it’s tough to stay on top forever. But real fans like you weather the down times. It’s the ‘I only root for winners’ fans who vanish like Laker fans did when they got bounced out of the playoffs.

        The season has just over half left to go.Any team can get hot,and maybe, giving some AAA kids a shot instead of wishing over the hill/hurt players can suddenly be 25 again might just work.

  14. pastabelly - Jun 16, 2013 at 11:01 AM

    I couldn’t give away Sox tickets (decent ones) last season. The Sox have a good team, but those bandwagon jumpers are gone. As a Bruins fan, screw them as they are now driving up ticket prices at TD Garden.

    • theskinsman - Jun 16, 2013 at 4:35 PM

      Pasta, next time you want to give away tickets to Sox games,let me know. Lifer fans will go even in down years to watch the players fighting to be on the roster the next season, or check out the late season call ups to see who might shine.
      I’ve been hooked on the Bosox since 1967, so I can appreciate rolling with the ups and downs.

  15. ignatzz - Jun 16, 2013 at 12:43 PM

    I rooted for the Yankees my whole life. Insulting prices, treating fans like crap, and finally, tearing down the stadium made me completely lose interest. The New York Yankees do not appreciate their own fans. So the fans should stop appreciating them. To hell with them.

  16. ignatzz - Jun 16, 2013 at 12:48 PM

    And Bud Selig doesn’t get it: yes, they are making short-term money hand over fist. But if baseball is now afraid to schedule the World Series opposite a regular Monday Night Football game because they will lose the ratings battle. And that means they’re in trouble.

    I really think the only reason the sport is still doing well is because they’re the only major sport on for most of their season.

  17. jolink653 - Jun 16, 2013 at 5:05 PM

    Although attendance is down league-wide, I think the change in the Yankees attendance has also to do with the atmosphere at the new Stadium…you can’t say or do anything that can in any way be considered offensive by anyone or they throw you out…you can’t stand in certain places, yell at opposing players (even if it’s not vulgar or offensive), argue with opposing teams’ fans, or really do anything other than sit and watch the game or spend money on food

    My friends and I used to go to 15-20 games a year, participate in all the Bleacher Creature chants, and do the rest of what I mentioned above and it used to be a lot of fun and security was fine with it, but after the last few times we just stopped going because of the crackdown on everything…yell at anyone or even make a loud joke now and security grabs you and throws you out immediately…it has really become a hostile, unfriendly atmosphere, not to mention the ridiculously high prices, and so most fans just don’t bother because it’s not fun anymore

  18. irokkit - Jun 16, 2013 at 8:48 PM

    Here we go Red Sox here we GO!!!!!

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