It is no surprise that the Dodgers are suffering at the gate this year. The team is bad, fans are absolutely fed up with the McCourt ownership, and the negativity surrounding the Bryan Stow beating on opening day combined for a perfect storm of negativity. Fans have stayed away in droves this season and the Dodgers are averaging 36,731 tickets sold per home game this season.
However, while that number seems like a reasonable figure, it represents a drop of 7,902 fans per game, a drop of 17.7% from 2010. The Dodgers have surpassed the three million mark in tickets sold in 14 of the last 15 years and in each of the last 10; this year the team is on pace for 2.975 million. Jim Peltz of the Los Angeles Times estimated that the lack of butts in seats could cost the club roughly $27 million this season:
"When people don't go to the ballpark, the Dodgers lose ticket revenue but they also lose concessions revenue and ultimately sponsorship and advertising revenue" along with parking revenue, said Andrew Zimbalist, a sports economics professor at Smith College.
All told, that $27 million in lost revenue would pay this year's combined salaries for Dodgers players Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier and Hiroki Kuroda.
However, the problem goes deeper than that, as tickets sold don't reflect the actual amount of people at games. Peltz cited court documents showing the Dodgers had a 17.4% no-show rate in 2009, a figure considered normal for MLB teams. However, at least to the naked eye, Dodger Stadium has seemed to have a much greater no-show rate this season.
Here are a few shots taken at games this season, showing just how empty Dodger Stadium has been.
On Thursday, April 21:
On May 29, a Sunday afternoon game:
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