WDEL Blog: WDEL Sports

Phillies fans disappearing fast

The Phillies had a nice little run going of some two-plus years (maybe closer to three years) of consecutive sellouts...although it didn't come close to Boston's mark of 800 some games, it was still pretty good. It also coincided with the improved quality of teams the Phillies put on the field.

It didn't take long for that to change. Last year, as the Phillies scuffled along, eventually ending up at even .500, the sellout streak ended in August. Now, normal crowds are somewhere between 35,000 and 40,000 in a ballpark whose capacity is 45,000.

For a few years there, we were deluded into thinking this was a really good baseball town. Now, the evidence is clearer...it takes a winner to get the crowd into the stadium.

Looking closely at the team Ruben Amaro Junior has put together, I don't see sellouts returning on a regular basis anytime soon.

Posted at 9:05am on April 23, 2013 by Big Don Voltz

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Comments on this post:

Mike from Delaware
Tue, Apr 23, 2013 9:14am
I believe Tampa has an even worse attendence, about 17,000 fans from what I remember being said during one of the WDEL broadcasts of the Phils from there a week or so ago.

Not much fun to pay the ticket prices, food prices, parking fees, plus Philly traffic to see your team play a poor game. Its bad when our Minor League Wilmington Blue Rocks play a better brand of ball than the highly paid "PROS" in Philly. Besides, I can still listen to the Phillies on WDEL.

Tue, Apr 23, 2013 9:54am
Now that the Red Sox are no longer pushing the fake sellout streak, let's take a look at some real numbers. Other than opening day and Patriot's Day, the Red Sox have not sold-out any home game this year. The second and third home games of the year were against the Orioles, a playoff team, and drew 30,862 and 27,704. Last night, the Sox had 28,926 at Fenway to see the Athletics. Would you say that Boston is not a baseball town because they've had two home dates under 30,000? Tickets for tonight's game vs. Oakland are available for as low as $6.

The Phillies have not drawn a crowd below 34,000 in 11 home dates. We'll see tonight because it's going to be cold, although Cole Hamels is pitching.

The Phillies still have very strong local TV ratings, which would be better if fans didn't have to search three separate channels while hockey and basketball are still on. Probably not as high as 2008-2011, but winning teams always draw more.

These sellout streaks are nothing more than marketing ploys to sell tickets. If a team has sold out 10 straight years, fans believe they need to pay top dollar to see something that prestigious. Both the Fenway and CBP streaks included tickets given to charities or otherwise distributed for free.

I don't see how you can point to one indicator and say we've been deluded into thinking Philadelphia is a really good baseball town. Because it is.

big don
Fri, Apr 26, 2013 6:29am
The Phillies had 31,000 against Pittsburgh on Tuesday night with Hamels pitching (cool night but not as bad as Monday), 32,000 on Wednesday night with Halladay pitching (mild night) and 33,000 for Thursday's matinee with Lee pitching (beautiful sunny day). I'm not saying its not a good baseball town...but my blog was in reaction to the 5 years of playoff baseball when all you heard was what a great baseball town Philly was with great fans who always came out to the ballpark (some even went so far as to say people were more Phillies fans than Eagles fans)...of course, if they were winning. Philadelphia has always been an Eagles town (it pains me to say that...I'm a Phillies and baseball fan, first and foremost), but isn't it telling that as soon as the Phillies slip back talent-wise, the fans stay away in droves? I think if the team gets more interesting, even if the results aren't there, the attendance will pick up. But it's a painful team to watch at the moment and it could be that way for a few more years because there isn't much young talent in the pipeline...as a result, the ballpark may not be full, but at least you'll be able to get tickets.

Fri, Apr 26, 2013 9:38am
During the ESPN televised game a week ago, John Kruk stated that the Phillies are a 3rd place team. I did not like hearing him say that, primarily because it is true. We are not a contender for the top spot.

You can't help but notice all of the empty seats. After the many good years, it really stands out. And as you wrote, it is not going to change anytime soon. But all is not lost. At least the tv game ad inventory appears to be sold out (what is the discount on the 30 sec ads?) and that should continue. Fans are figuring out that every game is on television, so why pay to see them lose? They can also be heard in Philly on 4 different radio stations, if you include the Spanish broadcast. It is easy to follow the team without paying to be let down.

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