Major League Baseball attendance: It doesn't always pay to win

Written By Sun-Times Wire Posted: 10/24/2013, 11:38am

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All fans want to do is watch a winner, right?

Turns out, that’s not the case when taking a closer look at Major League Baseball’s attendance figures for the 2013 season.

Some teams are always going to be fighting an uphill battle in building a fan base (sorry Oakland and Tampa Bay), but it is a bit ridiculous that a terrible team like the Minnesota Twins could draw nearly 1 million more fans than the wild-card winning Rays (who finished dead last in the attendance game).

Here’s the breakdown, with teams ranked in order of winning percentage, along with a breakdown of how much each win was worth in terms of fans in the seats:

How does an increase or decrease in wins from one season to another change the outcome at the gate? If you’re the Red Sox, there’s the opposite effect. Despite winning 40.6 percent more games in 2013 than 2012 and taking the AL East title, paid attendance at Fenway dropped 6.9 percent.
In general, when a team’s fortunes turn south, attendance doesn’t drop proportionally along with the wins. Take the White Sox for example. The Sox won 25.9 percent fewer games in 2012, but attendance only dropped 10 percent. It takes some time to get on or off that bandwagon … even when the bandwagon is mostly empty.
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