A look at total attendance figures for Major League Baseball
The larger the gap (exposed green or exposed yellow) the bigger the difference between success and attendance.
Today's edition follows yesterday's National League study on attendance. More after the jump.
Yesterday, we reviewed attendance for National League teams and looked at a couple discrepancies between successful teams with lower-than-deserved attendance, and disappointing teams with higher-than-deserved attendance. How does the AL fare? Here's what I found*:
|Chicago White Sox||2,025,861||28,136||71||28,533|
*Data collected 09/12/09 courtesy of ESPN.
The first thing to note is that the American League has almost 7 MILLION fewer visitors than its National League counterpart. Certainly, the NL has 16 teams while the AL only has 14 (remind me to tell you someday what I would do if I was commissioner), but look closer at the totals:
1. AL Total - 28,003,035; AVG - 2,000,217
2. NL Total - 35,658,497; AVG - 2,228,656
The NL, even with two more teams, still averages more than 200k visitors more per team. That says quite a bit for how poorly Florida is really supporting its team. But enough about them, let's focus on the AL.
AL East - The thing to note here is that Tampa, like Florida, is barely supporting its World Series' winning team. This really sticks out when one acknowledges that they have almost 20 fewer wins than NYY and only half the attendance."It's not fair to compare anybody to New York!" Of course it's not. And it's not fair to expect a team outside of NY and BOS to compete for the penant, either, right? This is a nice chance to point out that Baltimore sticks out because it has greater attendance than Tampa and 14 fewer wins. Attack both sides of that equation I say!
AL Central - The first thing one notices here is that everything we knew about the Central is true: the "best" three teams all hover right around 70 wins with a few weeks to go, relatively mundane in every way. And the "best" in the last sentence is the same "best" that one uses to describe his or her favorite chore, favorite class in Jr. High, or favorite Fresh Prince CD. Any more than a half-hearted "meh" is feigning interest.
The fans in the Central support their teams. Kansas City, currently in its 20-something'th year of the Denkinger Curse, have so few wins that their ATT/WIN appears higher than teams like Texas with more attendance and 23 more wins. This is a flaw in the stat, though, not some magnamimous act by the KC Loyal. Also note the fleecing of the KC taxpayer to pay for the videoscreen monolith formerly known from its performance in 2001: A Space Odyssey.
AL West - It's a shame that this division has less competition, more money, better GMs, and worse attendance. It's the AFC South of Baseball. I suppose its unfair to say that, as Seattle up until recently had Bill Bavasi which pretty much undoes all positive goodwill in a 15-state region. Of particular note is not only how bad Oakland is this year, but how apathetic OaklandFan is as well.
Overall, the study shows that for the most part, great teams in big cities have incredible attendance. The surprises are that several cities have teams they don't deserve, including Florida with its famously bored audience, and the KC Faithful with its famously horrible team management. Perhaps we can start a movement for KC and Florida to switch teams. Who's in?