November 27, 2012

Mariners lose the most fans in professional sports

This is a rather dubious distinction, but the Seattle Mariners - yes, our very own hometown ballclub - has seen the worst drop in attendance for a professional sports team in the past ten years. I don't think you have to do much digging to see why that's the case, the Mariners were contenders in the early 2000s, and are completely irrelevant nowadays.

(Although, they are showing some promise. Anyone want a Felix Hernandez jersey?)

In 2002, the Mariners were 93-69 and finished third in the AL West. They were also coming off the 116-win 2001 season which had everyone in the state of Washington in a big tizzy (Here's a DVD to remember when Seattle had a good baseball team). Remember, you couldn't turn the TV on, talk to a buddy or go to Home Depot without somebody talking about the Mariners.

Since then, there's been a whopping 51.4 percent decrease in attendance at Safeco Field - which is still one of the coolest ballparks in all of baseball, no question about it. They had a 75-87 record this season, but any sports fan will tell you that the team is coming around if they can get some offense going... oh wait, they're bringing in the fences?

The Mariners have seen a 61 percent drop in season tickets and remember that snafu earlier this fall when they raised season ticket prices without telling fans? Ick.

Here's the list for the 13 teams with the biggest attendance declines:

1. Seattle Mariners; MLB; -51.4 percent
2. Cleveland Indians; MLB -38.7 percent
3. Houston Astros; MLB; -36.1 percent
4. Arizona Diamondbacks; MLB; -32.0 percent
5. Dallas Stars; NHL; -23.2 percent
6. Oakland Athletics; MLB; -22.6 percent
7. Detroit Pistons; NBA; -22.3 percent
8. New York Mets; MLB; -22 percent
9. Baltimore Orioles; MLB; -19.7 percent
10. Columbus Blue Jackets; NHL; -19.2 percent
11. Washington Wizards; NBA; - 19.1 percent
12. Milwaukee Bucks; NBA; -19.0 percent
13. Miami Dolphins; NFL; -17.1 percent

Seven out of 13 are MLB teams, meaning that fewer and fewer people are going out to the ballpark. That could have something to do with (a) TV and internet options allowing you to watch games for comfortably and (b) a terrible economy for a team that plays everyday. There's two NHL teams on the list, although I'm not sure how they count that since the league is currently not having a season. The Detroit Pistons live in an urban zombie-land so that should be expected, and the Miami Dolphins just plain suck.

(Sorry Piston fans, but we still love EWU's Rodney Stuckey)

But you know what, the Mariners beat them in attendance drop by a very, very large margin. The team should probably take a long look at itself, and why I feel that the Mariners have made steps to get better, they waited much too long to turnaround a plodding squad in the AL West.

I mean it has gotten so bad that people in Spokane now root for the Texas Rangers.

With the fences coming in, and a pitching staff that is one of the better ones in the AL, fans might be wise to snatch up a few tickets during this next summer.

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