Twins attendance: It’s worse than you think

City Pages (Update: On a tip from David Brauer) is reporting today that the constant beatdown at the hands of the opposition is turning the Minnesota Twins fan off. It’s reporting today that the drop in attendance is the second-worst in the league.

Last year, Target Field averaged 38,642 per game. This year, through eight games, average attendance is down to 33,495. That drop of 5,147 fans per game is the second largest in the league, with last-place honors going to Michael Cuddyer’s Colorado Rockies.

It’s true, of course, that the official mammal of Minnesota is the bandwagon sports fan.

Last year, through eight games, the Twins attracted 309,135 fans. Through the first eight games this year, 267,958 fans have gone to games. That’s an average attendance of 34,063 38,642 last year vs. 33,494 this year.

The obvious — at least to a stats geek — problem is that last year the team’s home schedule featured two weekend series. This year there’s been only one. Last year, the Twins opened their home season on a weekend. This year, they opened it on a Monday.

It’s a good theory, but the numbers show the drop this year is even worse than the numbers suggest.

The average for weekday games this year is 33,722. Last year’s weekday attendance was 37,051 on average. If you’re scoring at home, that’s a 9 percent drop in attendance on weekdays. The weekend drop, though, is 16 percent, even though the weather was much better on the weekend dates this year than last year.

Generally, new ballparks give a team a three-year grace period in which people check out the stadium despite the talent of the teams that play there. In the last few decades, that grace period runs about three years. That’s not working for the Twins this year (Cleveland and Seattle, two recent “new” American League parks posted large gains in attendance in the third year over the first year of a new stadium). But it’s not unheard of. The Tigers, for example, saw their attendance in Detroit drop 38 percent in the third year of Comerica Park.

Of course, winning cures a lot of these attendance problems. But the Twins may need a Plan B.

  • Jim Shapiro

    “It’s true, of course, that the official mammal of Minnesota is the bandwagon sports fan.”

    Hey, dems my home teams yer talkin about dair, buster.

    Granted, while I am a mammal indigenous to the state, regrettably I haven’t lived there consistantly since Randy Moss was mooning the cheeseheads, Kevin McHale was forfeiting draft picks, and Kirby Puckett was getting free passes OFF the field.

    And I certainly wouldn’t pay for overpriced tickets today to see Prima Dona Joe and a closer with an era higher than his IQ.

    But bandwagon rider? Au contraire, bon frere.

  • frightwig

    Last year, I’d guess, they had a lot more advance tickets sold before the season even began. As fans were both excited about the novelty of Target Field and still felt that the Twins ruled the Central division, variables like the weather and the team’s slow start probably didn’t matter so much.

    It’s interesting that the weekday attendance has already taken such a drop although the first date was the home opener and this week the Red Sox have been in town. The other two visitors were expected to be pennant contenders when the season began, too. It’s not like the Royals and Orioles were on the schedule. And there seemed to be a fair amount of spring hope amongst the Twins fanbase that the hometown team might challenge the Tigers “if the guys just are healthy this year.”

    Just wait for when some of the dogs of the AL start coming to Target Field, and it starts to really sink in with more and more of the locals that the Twins might really be the worst of them all.

  • John P.

    It’s not all bad news for those of us who actually like baseball. My son and I have both scored Legends Club tickets from two different season ticket holders who were not interested in going. A friend picked up the same level of ticket for $20 on Stub Hub. Not bad for tickets with a $68 face value. At these prices, I can afford really nice tickets.

  • bsimon

    is there a lesson here for the Vikings?

  • Disco

    Your average attendance numbers are wrong. The average thru eight games in 2011 was 38,642, not 34,063.

  • Bob Collins

    Yes, you’re right. That was an error in the post. The spreadsheet I used had it at 38641.8. The .8 being Matt Capps, of course.


    3 things have affected the attendance. Their record, the weather and the smoking ban.

  • Derek

    They are 6-18 as of May 3rd and that’s the worst record in MLB, i think they will lose close to 100 games again and attendance will drop below 30K per game.