Kansas City Royals Attendance WAY Up!

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The weekend series against Oakland set a record for April attendance for a home series in Kansas City, by a fairly large margin. We, as a fan base, are very excited right now, and rightfully so. That record is nice, but really attendance is up for the Kansas City Royals for all games, not just the series that was over the weekend.

I compared attendance last year to this year by matching games up as best as I could based on day of week, and this is what we have seen so far in 2015.

Day2014 Attendance2015 AttendanceDay
Opener                    40,103                   40,085Opener
Tue                    13,905                   23,385Tue
Wed                    13,612                   20,236Wed
Fri                    21,192                   39,228Fri
Sat                    21,463                   33,151Sat
Sun                    29,760                   36,755Sun
Wed                    11,715                   20,393Mon
Tue                    10,705                   20,990Tue

Other than opening day, attendance after controlling for the day of the week is higher by a large amount in every case. Only the Monday game this week had no like day to compare to last April, but you can see even on the Monday through Wednesday games this year attendance is above 20,000 in every case. Last year they were all barely above 10,000.

This means that so far this year the attendance is up over 44%, and without the opener where there is almost no difference, that number goes up to 58.7%! I don’t think the attendance this year is going to be 40+% higher than last year, but going over 2 million (barely missed last year) seems like a slam dunk at this point.

I wanted to use this to try to estimate what the yearly attendance will look like if the Kansas City Royals are competitive all year, and at this point you have to assume they will be. I took out September last year, since being much better than a lot of those attendance figures will be difficult or impossible (although 4 September games were under 20K).

In the other 60 home games, from the 8th game until September, 2014 had an average of 24,014 fans. The September average was 26,096, so a little higher, but not crazy.

For the rest of the year then I am assuming that games until September will be on average 10% higher, or quarter of the increase in these early games. I am trying to be conservative, and I assume the excitement of the new season has to wear off a little over time and the gap is too big with the lowest attendance levels of last year being included.

That is averaging 26,415 until September and then I cut the growth for September in half, so assuming 5% more than last year (27,400).

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With these assumptions, the projected attendance for 2015 is 2,177,293, slightly over 220,811 more fans than last year (not including playoffs). I also wanted to know what this is worth to the organization.

According to this estimate the average fan was worth somewhere around $48 per person, though ticket prices are up this year, and the estimate doesn’t include parking. It still looks a little high to me, so I am going to be conservative and say $40 per person. That may be light, but still implies $8.8 million in extra revenue for the team.

Obviously, the playoff run was worth a lot more, but it is pretty nice for the Kansas City Royals to have more of that carrying over along with I assume more licensing revenue and such too as people buy more swag covered in Royals logos. Remember that number is also relative to the largest attendance season since the early nineties, so the impact relative to say 2006 would be much, much larger.

I don’t know what sort of sustained increase in attendance it will take to push the already record payroll up to even higher peaks, but this seems like a good start. Losing a player like Alex Gordon next year would be very painful, but maybe the renewed interest we are seeing in the KC area can make it easier for the payroll to stay at its currently competitive (non-Dodgers division) level.

Next: KC Royals have become the villains of baseball

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