It’s All About The Money!
Was moving to a different stadium the best idea? The only difference between this year’s attendance and the average attendance for the Miami Marlins’ last season at Sun Life Stadium is about 100 extra fans per game. Owner, Jeffrey Loria, initially blamed the stadium for the team’s long-standing attendance and revenue woes.
Well it seems as though those issues have followed Loria to the new stadium, Marlins Park, which is government owned. The stadium is set to face the worst fan rejection of a new baseball stadium in the last generation. Management did not expect this outcome at all.
Last year, the attendance for the Marlins hit a 15 year high when the stadium opened. Despite this recent issue, Miami and Miami-Dade picked up most of the $634 million, which was the total for construction. While suffering a losing season, Loria cut the team’s payroll by nearly $60 million and decided to trade most of the star players. Season ticket sales dropped by 60%, which caused the Marlins to become the only franchise to turn to Groupon to sell seats on Opening Day in April.
“I obviously still feel tremendously sorry about what happened last year,” said Marlins president David Samson. “The goal we have with our fans every day is to get them to the point when they say, ‘I remember when — I remember when I was so unhappy with the team. But now, it’s a love affair.’ ”
According to espn.com, the Marlins have the worst attendance out of all the teams, with about 17,830 people per game. That equals out to an average sales drop of 10,400 tickets from the inaugural season back in 2012, a 37 percent drop. There was only one other ballpark that saw a worse drop: Tampa Bay’s Tropicana Field, where attendance fell 38 percent in the season after its 1998 debut.
There is hope for the Marlins by the time this season ends. During its first 55 home games, which is how many times the Marlins have played in Miami this year, Tampa Bay experienced a drop of 30%. If the team follows on the same track, it will pass Tampa’s record for the worst sophomore season in a new ballpark. The Miami Marlins are reporting an average announced attendance of 17,977 per game.
The team needs an attendance of about 30,000 to afford an $80 million payroll, better than the estimated $35 million the players earn now, according to the owner in April. Loria claimed that the trades were necessary after the $100 million payroll, which was one of the highest in baseball and failed to be earned last year. Once the new players start winning, management expects fans to come back and increase the numbers they need to spend more money on the field.