Sunday, February 25, 2007

I Knew They Made It Too Small

Way back 3 years ago, when ground was broken on the new Busch Stadium, I remember wondering to myself why the capacity of the new stadium was going to be less than the old one. This was a trend that started back in 1997 when almost all of the centerfield upper deck seats in the old park were removed and replaced with flags, banners, retired numbers and other historical landmarks. From a total of over 57,000 (including standing room) down to 50,000.

The "official" seating capacity of the new stadium is 43,975, although with standing room the capacity is listed as 46,861.

But the question is...why? Wouldn't more seats create more revenue? Wasn't that the real reason for the new stadium in the first place?

At any rate, I bring this up because I was reviewing the attendance figures from last year on ESPN's MLB site. The Cardinals averaged 42,588, which isn't bad considering until the end of May the upper deck in left field was not complete, making the capacity only 39,000 the first two months. They finished 4th overall in home attendance, behind the much larger markets of the two New York teams and the LA Dodgers.

Which can only mean that the ballpark was full most every night. Which means they could have put in more seats and sold more tickets. Which I think would make them more money.

Why would you not anticipate this? You can only sell what you have. The only absolute limiting factor is the number of seats. Wouldn't MORE make good business sense?

Another interesting thing to look at is the road attendance figures. The Yankees were the biggest road draw, followed by the Red Sox, Reds, Cubs and Cardinals. The Reds being 3rd is something of an anomaly that I can't explain. Because their road attendance outdrew their pathetic home attendance.

"That is weird, wild stuff."

But that's the facts.

Worst home attendance went to Florida. No surprise. But the worst road draw? None other than the Angels.

"That's peculiar."

Yes. Odd, but true.

Overall, home and road combined, the Cardinals finished 4th in attendance. Not bad for a smaller market team.


My feeling exactly.

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