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MLB Attendance Tracker for Fri 5/20: Breaking Down the First Day of Interleague Play PDF Print E-mail
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Ticket & Attendance Watch
Written by Maury Brown and David Simmons   
Saturday, 21 May 2011 12:36

MLBFriday saw the beginning of interleague play across Major League Baseball for the 2011 season, and for the most part, the league should be happy with the results.

Ballparks were filled to 72 percent of capacity with six ballparks filled to 80 percent or better. Ballparks were actually filled to 3 percent less than last Friday when it was 75 percent, a sign that interleague may not be as popular as many have been lead to believe.

But, there’s a catch.

As we’ve reported prior, paid attendance does not reflect the total number of actual people that went through turnstiles. For example, while Fenway (99% of capacity) and AT&T Park (97% of capacity) appear to be below sellout, with comps, the club announced them as sellouts. This works as an advantage in terms of painting a robust attendance picture, but often times, paid attendance far exceeds actual attendance.

(See Inside the Numbers: MLB 2010 First Interleague Attendance)

As mentioned, Friday was the first day of interleague play in MLB. In looking at last year’s figures for the same day, attendance was down from an average of 31,718 to 31,007, or 2 percent.

But, as anyone looking at baseball’s schedule will tell you, it’s not balanced – the same teams do not match-up year after year.

However, the “natural rivalries” that MLB touts, do occur each season. For the Indians, winning is beginning to take hold in Cleveland. With both the 2010 and 2011 “Battle of Ohio” games on the first day of interleague being played in Cleveland between the Indians and Reds, attendance this year was up 37 percent from 23,028 in 2010 to 31,622. On the downside, the “Battle of the Beltway” series between the Orioles and Nationals failed to resonate as a true “rivalry” last night. While the 2010 game was played in Nationals Park, this year’s game at Camden Yards drew just 24,442 compared to 27,378 last season. Here’s how they broke out, showing the increase or decrease in attendance from 2010

Rivalry % (+/-) Notes
Reds and Indians 37% Both at Cleveland
Mets and Yankees 16% At NYY this year
Orioles and Nationals -11% At Camden this year
Giants and A's 27% At SFO this year
Padres and Mariners 9% At SD this year

And while the first Friday of interleague often finds differing matchups, some clubs do host games in consecutive seasons. Below are the clubs that hosted last year and this on the first Friday of interleague, along with the team they played in 2010.

Club % (+/-) Notes
Phillies 0.04% vs Red Sox in 2010
Pirates 9% vs Braves in 2010
White Sox 17% vs Marlins in 2010
D-Backs 41% vs Blue Jays in 2010
Royals 8% vs Rockies in 2010

Below is a complete breakdown of Friday’s attendance, along with promotions and other notes of interest:

 

Road Home Fri's Attendance Capacity Sell-Thru Notes
TXR PHI 46,358 43,647 106% Halladay Start. All home games sold out this season
CHC BOS 37,140 37,495 99% First game since 1918. Recorded as sellout due to comps
OAK SF 42,224 43,415 97% Blanket. With comps, all home games at AT&T Park (16 and counting) sold out
NYM NYY 47,874 52,235 92% Subway Series
ATL LAA 40,211 45,050 89% Fireworks
COL MIL 33,361 41,900 80% Only Non-Interleague Game, Greinke Start
CIN CLE 31,622 43,545 73% Both teams in first place, Fireworks
STL KC 26,816 39,000 69% Both teams .500 or above, Fireworks
DET PIT 24,396 38,496 63% Two .500 teams, T-shirt giveaway
SEA SD 26,501 42,445 62% Fireworks
LAD CWS 24,121 40,615 59% Battle of Camelbank Ranch, Fireworks
MIN AZ 27,450 49,033 56% Up 4100 from Thursday, Fireworks
WSH BAL 24,442 45,971 53% 2 last place teams
TB FL 18,111 38,560 47% Battle for Florida supremacy
HOU TOR 15,478 49,539 31% Texas & Canada, bad for box even with Fan Friday
Total 15 games 466,105 650,946 72%

Sell-Thru = Percentage of capacity


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David SimmonsDavid Simmons is a graduate of the University of Central Florida who worked in the front office of the Los Angeles Dodgers over 4 seasons and has a decade of ticketing experience.. He serves as CFO for Players For The Planet and currently resides in Baltimore. You can follow David on Twitter @davidesimmons

Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey, as well as a contributor to FanGraphs and Forbes SportsMoney. He is available for hire or freelance. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

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