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Friday, June 19, 2009

Indians Attendance Woes Continue While Minors Surprise

Posted By on Fri, Jun 19, 2009 at 2:08 PM

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It shouldn't surprise anyone that the Indians' attendance is not quite where the team wants it to be. Between the faltering economy across the nation, the deleterious effects beyond the norm that has caused here at home, a floundering team, and the Cavs' deep playoff run, there are endless reasons for the low turnouts.

In this week's Crain's Cleveland Business, Joel Hammond takes a look at the Tribe's attendance numbers compared to those of its minor league affiliates and attempts to root out some reasons. The article itself is subscription only, but Joel kindly gave me the text so I could excerpt a portion of it here. Also, Joel writes the SportsBiz blog for Crain's, which is an excellent read. You should definitely check it out.

Anyway, onto the pertinent stuff:

Despite an innovative value-based, four-tiered ticket pricing system unveiled before the 2009 season, the Indians — whose place near the bottom of the American League standings hasn’t helped — rank 25th in baseball in attendance, averaging 22,010 fans in 28 home games through last Wednesday, June 10. That figure is down 11% from last year, when through 28 games the team averaged 24,772 fans per game.

The decline contrasts sharply with a solid attendance increase at the new Huntington Park in Columbus, home to the Clippers, now the Indians’ Class AAA affiliate. The Clippers lead the
International League in attendance, at 8,981 per game for 24 home dates, up 13.2% from an average of 7,795 in 69 home dates in 2008.

The Lake County Captains, too, are seeing an increase, of 4.9%, to 3,125 per date through 27 games this season compared with 2,973 through the same number last year. The Crushers, in their first season at All Pro Freight Stadium, are averaging 2,896 fans through their first six games, and the Akron Aeros are averaging 4,394 fans through 28 games at Canal Park, though that number is down about 7% from last season.

The rest of the article contains some solid analysis and quotes from the organization. Namely, what the team has done in terms of promotions, giveaways, and ticket pricing to try and get people through the turnstiles.

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