It is common knowledge attendance is down at Dodger Stadium this year. There have been articles written in newspapers, articles written on sports web-sites and posts on blogs about the poor attendance. Most think it is the "perfect storm" of the team coming off a disappointing 2010 season, fans finally taking action against Frank McCourt and hitting him where it hurts, the blowback from the Opening Day tragedy, another below average team on the field for 2011 and the continued economic issues throughout the country. I personally believe in the "perfect storm" explanation. All the issues mentioned are contributing factors. Plus, MLB counts tickets sold as the official attendance. This does not take into account all the no-shows. As we've all seen on television or attending games at Chavez Ravine this year, the stadium always appears half-full.
After Monday night's game against the Brewers, the Dodgers have played 22 home games in 2011. The average attendance of those 22-games is 36,382. Their average for the first 22 home games of 2010 was 43,605. A decrease of 7,223 fans a game. For 15 seasons in a row, the Dodgers have drawn over 3 million fans. If this average keeps steady, that streak will end this season. At the current pace they would draw somewhere around 2,900,000.
Let's take a closer look at the numbers. Opening Day was a sell out and there has been only one other game with over 50,000 in attendance. That was the fourth game of the opening series against the Giants, with 50,896 in attendance. At the 22 home game point of the 2010 season there were four games with over 50,000 fans in attendance. So far in 2011, the team has had five games where attendance was less than 30,000. During the same 22 home game period last year there were no games where attendance was less than 35,000, let alone less than 30,000.
Additionally, outside of Opening Weekend against the Giants, when it happened twice, the Dodgers have only drawn over 40,000 two other games. During the same period last season, the team had 12 games where they drew over 40,000 fans. The two games outside of Opening Weekend, attendance was helped by the Fernandomania Fleece Stadium Give Away (SGA) when the team drew 41,596 fans and the team drew 40,654 for the James Loney Batting Practice Jersey SGA. In comparison, last season's My Town Fleece SGA during the first 22 home games drew 50,714 and the other big SGA during the first 22 games of 2010, the Ethier Bobblehead SGA, drew 55,662. It is interesting that a generic My Town Fleece SGA could draw 50, 714 fans to Chavez Ravine but a Fernandomania Fleece SGA only draws 41,596. I would've thought anything Fernando related would've drawn a bigger crowd. If the teams performance on the field continues to decline, i'm positive attendance will continue to decline as well.
It will be interesting to see what the attendance is for Tuesday night's game. Will fans show up in huge numbers for the Clayton Kershaw Bobblehead SGA? Will all the animosity toward ownership be set aside for one night for the give away? My guess is yes. I wouldn't be surprised if attendance reached over 50,000. I have a feeling alot of fans will be showing up as bobbleheads are quite popular and this will be the first official Clayton Kershaw Bobblehead. I'm sure all 6 bobblehead SGA night's will be well attended this year. At this rate, i'm sure the team wishes it could give away 81 bobbleheads a year.
You can check out Steve Dilbeck's take from the LA Times Dodger Blog linked here
True to the Blue!