Winning (Recently) vs. Losing (Recently)
The best amenities in the world can’t make up for a bad team. That’s the lesson I learned on Tuesday night. While the Kansas City Royals haven’t enjoyed the kind of success to which fans had quickly grown accustom, they have been in the playoff hunt virtually the entire season.
When you look at the last handful of years, Kauffman Stadium has filled up as the product on the field has become one of the most attractive in the game. For a long time, the Kansas City Royals failed to sell tickets as the team struggled.
Atlanta has faced the opposite problem.
The class of the National League East for more than a decade and still a playoff regular up until 2013 when they won 96 games, the Braves have taken a nose dive in the last few years. Tuesday’s 4-2 loss to the Nationals guaranteed their fourth consecutive losing season. Ticket sales predictably have suffered as a result.
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According to attendance data on ESPN’s website, the Braves have averaged 30,854 fans this season, which is almost right at 75 percent capacity for their 41,149 available seats. That’s way up from their final two seasons at Turner Field, when they barely reached 50 percent capacity. On Tuesday, the announced attendance at SunTrust Park was 26,709. For comparison, the Kansas City Royals have averaged 27,949 against a 37,903 capacity or roughly 73.7 percent full on a given night this season.
The difference in percentage can be explained by the novelty of a new stadium. The second-half swoon of the Kansas City Royals probably hasn’t helped either. But attendance numbers are a flawed statistic anyway—not the least of which because they are based on sales and not bodies through the gate.
Advantage: Kauffman Stadium. This category has as much to do with enthusiasm among fans as it does the number of fans in attendance. Despite being in my seat, I missed the first pitch of Tuesday’s game. Why? Because there was no one making any noise to indicate the game was starting. (I might have also been checking Facebook on the free Xfinity WiFi.)