It’s a comment that made it to more than a few message boards during the Pittsburgh Pirates’ great half of baseball this year–it sucks not being able to pick and choose our seat at PNC Park.
During the 2011 Pittsburgh Pirates season, the weekend crowds were tremendous. Just like some smart people we know predicted. Ahem.
However, the second half flop left any ideas the Pirates staff had of reaching the two million attendance mark about as likely as Clint Hurdle passing up the opportunity of laying down a bunt. If the team hadn’t been swept by Chicago and San Diego, Iwe feel assured they would have cracked the two million mark.
The wind went out of the sails at that point.
For our sales friends at the Pirates, it sucks. It really does. They worked their asses off to sell for such a long time, and, despite a horrendous slap in the face from Mother Nature to begin 2011, the pace was amazing. The phone volume made lengthy hold times commonplace.
For some diehard Pirates fans, the collapse was welcomed in a sick way. Change sucks. Who wants some fair-weather bandwagon jumper crowding our misery?
Someday, however, we are confident it will happen–there will come a day when PNC Park will be filled with talented players and the crowds will return–not just for the weekend games, the bands and (of course) the fireworks.
For the report we linked below, the attendance records came from ESPN, so take that for what it’s worth. We aren’t sure how season ticket holders counted in this report. Many important facets of calculating attendance are out there, but nonetheless here are the findings.
And yes, it makes us sick.
Michael B. Sauter did the work using the attendance numbers for teams in each of the four major American professional sports leagues. The Pirates made the list and the 33% drop since 2001 is sickening.
Of course, Baltimore leads the way with the once-proud Orioles dropping from over three million in 2001 to 1.74 million in 2010.
Pittsburgh is one of the most avid sports cities in America, with a competitive team for every major sport. The exception to this is the Pirates, who have not fielded an even moderately competitive team in more than a decade. Since 2001, the team has not finished better than third in its division (out of six) and has had among the five worst records in baseball nearly every single year. In 2001, the team had 2.1 million fans in attendance. By 2010, that number had dropped to 1.4 million.
Godspeed, my friends. Godspeed.
Five MLB teams had the top five spots on the list. The O’s and Indians lead the way with Oakland, Pittsburgh and Seattle right behind.
The NFL jumped onto the list at sixth with the Detroit Lions, followed by the Arizona Diamondbacks, Philadelphia 76ers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Indiana Pacers, Columbus Blue Jackets and Oakland Raiders.