Pack the Park

How often is it that Tiger fans wake up in May and find their team with the 2nd best record in baseball? The answer is basically never. And yet the Tigers rank ahead of only Kansas City, Florida, and Tampa in terms of average attendance.

They are averaging 21, 257 fans per game, which is just a hair below where they were after 14 home dates last year when they were averaging 21,334.

Now last year’s ticket sales were certainly buoyed because of the All Star game. Fans that wanted to go the All Star game had to buy season ticket packages. I don’t know how many full-season equivalents didn’t renew this year, but it is probably safe to assume that there were at least 1000-2000. So in terms of genuine spontaneous interest, ticket sales are probably up this year.

But there is still the fact that 26 teams are still out drawing the Tigers.

We often hear how attendance really picks up in June and July for the Tigers – which it does. School lets out and the weather gets warmer. But what about all the other cities that also have school, and cold weather?

Then there is the historical trend of Detroit fielding bad teams, which probably lends the most credence. The Tigers haven’t been top of mind for a long time. While people are certainly buzzing about the Tigers this year, that hasn’t translated into a surge in improved attendance yet.

Part of that surge may be attributable to the schedule and timing. With the Tigers first homestand, which constituted half of their home games, they only played one night game. While people are willing to ditch work on occasion, doing it for a whole week is tough. Despite that, the team still managed a couple of games with 8,000 walk up sales. The next homestand featured a couple of drizzly nights against the Royals, which will never be a bid draw.

Now unfortunately with the team returning home for 6 games, rain is forecast for the whole week. But there are still plenty of reasons to head down.

If you want to chance the weather though, tonight would be a great opportunity. The Tigers and Team 1270 are offering upper box seats that normally cost $20 for $5 in their Pack the Park promotion. Wednesday will feature Justin Verlander against Johan Santana. Friday night the equally surprising Reds come to town – and the Tigers are undefeated on Fridays.

So I guess my question is, has the Tigers start swayed you to attend more games? If not, what are you waiting for? Is it a matter of believing in the team, or has it just not worked out logistically/economically? Or have you bought more tickets, but just for future dates that haven’t come up yet (ie Yankees, Red Sox, Cardinals)?

12 Comments

  1. Jeff M

    May 16, 2006 at 7:54 am

    I bought 2 seats for the saturday 21-pack, but the only game i made it to so far was opening day. A tight work schedule and an infant son have kept me away for the most part. They’ve played in the day or out of town during the few times when I’ve been available. I’ll be there saturday though. I’ve been looking forward to this one for a couple weeks.

  2. Kyle J

    May 16, 2006 at 8:16 am

    Just ordered tickets for the Red Sox series. I suspect I’ll end up attending 5-6 games this year vs. 2-3 games the last few seasons. Main barriers are cost (tickets aren’t bad, but add parking, food, and gas from Lansing) and a lack of day games (I have two young children).

    If the Tigers are still in the thick of it when the Pistons wrap up their season, I think attendance will really take off.

  3. Joey

    May 16, 2006 at 9:58 am

    I think the fact that the Tigers have had games that competed with both Pistons and Redwings playoff games might also be a factor.

    Not every town has such tough winter sports teams!

  4. Jaime C

    May 16, 2006 at 11:48 am

    I am 26 years old and have been a Tigers fan since I can remember. I’ve attended games in the worst of the worst seasons. I think you either are a die hard fan or “it’s nice out, let

  5. johnw

    May 16, 2006 at 12:04 pm

    It takes time for attendance to catch up with a surprise team — especially after so many years of utter futility. Most fans stopped paying attention a long time ago. They’ll need more than a good couple of months to catch on. If the Tigers keep it up, they’ll see better attendance later in the year — and even more so, next year. (I remember that the Tigers sold more tickets in 1985 than in 1984, their wire-to-wire championship season.)

  6. Brian A.

    May 16, 2006 at 2:24 pm

    what we need is some kind of gimmick. like a singing hotdog vendor or something! 😉

  7. Lyle

    May 16, 2006 at 3:06 pm

    Detroit also isn’t a happening a place where people live close to the ballpark, like in say Chicago or Houston. If you have to drive far to get somewhere, you probably don’t go there quite as often.

  8. hawk

    May 16, 2006 at 3:23 pm

    I think the distance factor is one of the main problems keeping attendance down. A 2 hour drive from Bay City, with gas prices what they are, limits the number of times I can afford to get to a game. I am really looking forward to watching the minor league team that will be based in Midland.

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  10. Andrew

    May 16, 2006 at 7:18 pm

    Like hawk, I am also too far away to regularly attend games and with gas at 3 bucks a gallon the drive from Mount Pleasant and back is just too far to go down all the time. The funny thing is. This is my first summer away from home. I normally live in Royal Oak. This summer I have a steady income, a car, and the Tigers are playing the best baseball I have ever been alive to see. Yet sadly I am now too far away to go see them any time I want, but anytime I’m down state this summer and the tigers are at home, expect to see me there. Oh and of course I watch them all the time on tv, hoping that the increase in TV ratings will get a network to buy some more games.

  11. Jeff M

    May 16, 2006 at 10:17 pm

    I make very regular roundtrips to Bay City from Waterford. Let me know if you ever want a lift.

  12. Nate

    May 17, 2006 at 2:46 pm

    I probably went to a dozen or so games last summer. It was great because I was at school in Southfield, and a few friends and I would just decide to go to a game on random occasions. I too am now back in Bay City, and it’s a lot tougher to just drive down to a game.

    But there’s definately talk about the team. Even from people who normally don’t follow baseball at all. I’ll get to a few games eventually this summer, hopefully bringing a small crowd with me.