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Look for Orioles attendance boost

I may be a reporter but I do love crunching some numbers every now and then. I know. It’s weird. But when you’re talking about the Orioles’ abysmal attendance so far this season, looking beyond the surface numbers has it’s advantage.

Let’s start with the bad news: through 29 games, attendance at Camden Yards is down 19 percent. That’s not just a dip, that’s a flat-out drop. That’s one person out of every five who came last year bowing out.

Attendance has fallen short of 11,000 (that’s less than 25 percent capacity) four times this year, including a Camden Yards, all-time low of 10,130 on May 26 against Toronto. Last year, the park missed the 11,000 mark twice the whole season (both times in April).

OK, time for the good news: the summer weather is upon us, the kids are out of school and it’s tourism season. All three of those factors will help with attendance, especially from casual fans.

Secondly, two words: Matt Wieters. His debut on Friday, May 29, drew 42,704 to the ballpark that evening, and the weather even did its best to deter fans by dumping what seemed like most of the Chesapeake Bay onto Baltimore that evening. That Detroit series drew a total of 121,441 fans over four days, a 14,000 increase over the four-day Detroit series last year.

Thirdly, check out the high-drawing competition that had come to town through 29 games last year: the Yankees (six games), the Red Sox (six games), Nationals (three games). This year, the Yankees have visited for six games and one of those included opening day, which is typically a sell-out no matter who’s playing.

Looking ahead, we’ve got 15 more games with the Nats, Yankees and Boston. Toss in the fact that the Mets will be here mid-month (those fans seem to come out of the woodwork, too), I think the O’s will be OK.

And by “OK,” I mean the ballpark figures should be just as sorry as last year. It’s not like they’ll crack the 2 million mark or anything, but at least they shouldn’t be worse. How’s that for some good old Baltimore optimism?

3 comments

  1. Does the Oriole organization keep stats on the number of fans (in this case, Red Sox) who attend Oriole home games. I was told by A red sox wag that when the sox play at Camden yards, 70% of the fans attending are from New England. This sounds absurd to me.

  2. How would they keep stats like that? When you purchase tickets, they don’t ask you which team you support.

  3. Liz Farmer, Business Writer

    Ah, yes — “Fenway South,” as Sox fans like to call Camden Yards.

    The team doesn’t keep stats on what team attendees are there to root for but a good look at the stands can tell you that anywhere between 35 to 60 percent of fans at a Red Sox/O’s game are there to root for Boston. And that’s a conservative guess from me. Later in the season, it can be even more because the Sox are usually in a playoff hunt and the O’s are typically out of contention. That may be where the 70 percent came from (although again, that was probably just by eyeballing it at the ballpark).

    The Yanks games are about the same although I will say on opening day this year, the majority of fans were there for the O’s (or at least cheering for them). And another shout out to O’s fans: during their series during Memorial Day weekend in Washington, I went to the Sunday game and it was about 50/50 O’s and Nat’s fans. It may not be a far trip to take, but road game attendance for a team is one of the indicators used to measure brand awareness. If it keeps up (and the Nats continue on their abysmal slide) maybe we can start calling Nationals Park “Camden South.”

    Liz