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Teams that win see attendance go up. Mostly.

Jul 18, 2014, 4:43 PM EDT

old turnstile

Bloomberg looks at the attendance numbers 60% of the way through the season and finds what one might expect to find: if the team wins, the fans show up:

On a team-by-team level, the numbers support the conventional wisdom that fans will come to see winners.

Thirteen of the league’s 30 teams have seen attendance improve so far this year. Nine of those 13 have a better winning percentage this season than they did at the same point last season . . . On the flip side, 10 of the 17 teams with declines in attendance have also seen declines in performance.

There are some quirks, obviously. The Red Sox and Cardinals are down in record but up in attendance. A lot of that is based on the fact that both teams had great 2013 seasons and are pretty solid draws all the time anyway.

Maybe the oddest ones are the Blue Jays and Nationals, both of whom are doing better this year than last but both of which dropped in attendance. That’s not great. Maybe Washington’s drop is based on crazy-enthusiasm in 2013 which boosted attendance early, before it was clear that they weren’t going anyplace last year. The Jays thing could be much the same, as there was a lot of exuberance early in 2013 and a lot of skepticism coming in to this season.

Largely, though, the pattern holds. Which just makes me laugh at the claims some owners make from time to time about being unable to put more into payroll unless and until attendance goes up. The fans follow winning, winning doesn’t follow the fans.

 

  1. gloccamorra - Jul 19, 2014 at 10:19 PM

    I think the trend is, attendance goes up the year after you win. That might be what’s going on with last year’s World Series participants.

    Still, there are some places they don’t come even if you win consistently. The A’s won 103 games in 2002, the fourth year they finished first or second, and the second year in a row they won at least 100 games. The Padres, who LOST 98 games, beat them in attendance. Then there’s Tampa Bay. You could write a book explaining those two exceptions.

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