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Thread: Attendance issues for Reds

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    Member OnBaseMachine's Avatar
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    Attendance issues for Reds

    Attendance issues for Reds

    By Kyle Nagel

    Staff Writer

    Saturday, June 14, 2008

    CINCINNATI The gates opened earlier than usual, as the first of 38,855 spectators entered Great American Ball Park near 5 p.m. Robert Jungy and 8-year-old son Anthony of Hamilton were two of the first to line the wall, near the Cincinnati Reds dugout.

    Across the way, a much larger group of fans waited for the Boston Red Sox players to exit the clubhouse.

    "I bet a lot of those are even Reds fans," Jungy said. "They just want to see something unusual, something exciting."

    So far, the Reds haven't piqued the fans' excitement on their own, judging by the butts in the seats. With the defending World Series champion and American League East Division-leading Red Sox in Cincinnati for a highly anticipated weekend series and a big three-day gate, the Reds are averaging 24,228 in attendance per game. That number, sixth worst in baseball, was better than only Florida, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, Kansas City, Oakland and Texas.

    For Boston, however, GABP was nearly filled, proving again that opponents such as the Red Sox, Indians, Yankees and Cubs can inspire large crowds on the banks of the Ohio River. But Reds baseball, on its own, doesn't seem to be enough.

    "You're craving a winner, and Boston's a winner right now," said Sean Casey, one of the most popular Reds players in recent memory who signed with the Red Sox in the offseason. "People are going to come out when you win; that's the bottom line. I think (Reds owners) the Castellinis are moving in the right direction and trying to bring good players in here and develop players in the minor leagues.

    "Once they start winning in Cincinnati, you'll see the fans come back."

    It's been done

    In 2003, Cincinnati opened Great American Ball Park and jumped from 21st to 13th on baseball's attendance list as 29,077 people per game came to watch the Reds. The next season, the daily draw dropped by 800 before falling to 23,989 in 2005.

    In the midst of seven straight losing seasons which could eventually be eight, as the Reds stand 33-36 and last in the National League Central the team has continued to struggle in drawing fans. The Reds have sold out two games this season, Opening Day against the Arizona Diamondbacks and their May 17 game against Cleveland, when fans received a Brandon Phillips bobblehead.

    Most agree that giveaways and fireworks can boost attendance, but what really works is winning.

    "There's so much tradition and history here, it shouldn't take much to get people back once things go better," said Paul Bako, the Reds catcher who experienced baseball mania while playing for the Chicago Cubs.

    On the field, the fans haven't seen .500 baseball. Since 2001, when the team finished 27-54 at home, the Reds have a 257-262 record in Cincinnati while playing mostly out of contention. Opposing teams aren't nervous about visiting GABP.

    "This is Cincinnati; this isn't the World Series," said Kevin Youkilis, the Boston first baseman and Cincinnati native, when asked Friday if he was anxious to play in front of his hometown crowd. "I've played in the World Series before and in the playoffs and that's a little more pressure than playing in Cincinnati."

    Fighting for interest

    Some booed in the second inning Friday when the first of several "Let's go Red Sox" cheers began. A similar situation occurs when the Cubs visit and the crowd turns heavily in Chicago's favor.

    After such games, fans call columnists or talk-radio shows to voice their disgust.

    Plenty of seats, however, are available.

    Some feel that could change with the excitement about General Manager Walt Jocketty and manager Dusty Baker, as well as a burgeoning list of promising young players, including Jay Bruce, Joey Votto, Paul Janish, Edinson Volquez and Johnny Cueto.

    "Any time young kids come up that look like they're really good players and look like they're good kids, I love that," said Terry Francona, the Red Sox manager, of Bruce. "I also hope he doesn't make a name for himself this weekend."

    It's weekends like these that give the Reds a chance to win back some fans who more often choose to stay home. With rising gas prices, a questionable economic outlook and an upcoming home schedule that includes visits from not-as-exciting names such as Pittsburgh, Washington, the New York Mets, San Diego and Colorado through July, fans might need more convincing when it comes to opening wallets at the ballpark.

    At his dressing stall Friday, Casey recalled the most electric atmosphere in his Reds tenure from 1998-2005.

    "Ninety-nine, when we had the one-game playoff against the Mets and there were 50,000 or something walk-ups," Casey said. "That whole year, the city was buzzing. It gives me chills to think about it even now. I think we revitalized baseball a little bit that season because we won, and that can happen again."

    Contact this reporter at (937) 225-7389 or knagel@DaytonDailyNews.com.

    Novelty of new park wearing off

    In 2003, the Cincinnati Reds saw a two-season attendance boost after opening Great American Ball Park. Five years later, they've slipped to the bottom third of baseball.

    Year Avg. Rank
    2001 23,794 22
    2002 23,197 21
    2003 29,077 13
    2004 28,237 18
    2005 23,989 25
    2006 26,351 22
    2007 25,388 24
    2008* 24,228 24
    * Through 33 games

    Winning isn't drawing fans

    The first game of the Cincinnati Reds' anticipated weekend series with the Boston Red Sox brought 38,855 people to Great American Ball Park on Friday, June 13. But those numbers aren't the norm. Through 33 home games, the Reds are drawing about 500 fewer fans per game than they did a year ago, despite winning 21 of those games.

    Year Total Avg. Home record
    2004 939,115 28,458 22-11
    2005 770,691 23,354 18-15
    2006 802,536 24,319 17-16
    2007 819,400 24,830 13-20
    2008 799,516 24,228 21-12

    http://www.daytondailynews.com/s/con...predsfans.html
    I miss Adam Dunn.

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    I'm gettin paper Homer Bailey's Avatar
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    Re: Attendance issues for Reds

    I think that average number will be a lot higher by the end of the season. The summer months are much better to attend games, and those months are only just beginning. I think the Reds will have better attendance this year than they had last year, a lot of that having to do with Bruce. When I watch on tv, it really does seem like there are more fans there than there have been in recent years. I'm surprised at these numbers.

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    Member SandyD's Avatar
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    Re: Attendance issues for Reds

    I wonder if those are "tickets sold" or "turnstile" numbers.

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    Waitin til next year bucksfan2's Avatar
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    Re: Attendance issues for Reds

    Quote Originally Posted by Homer Bailey View Post
    I think that average number will be a lot higher by the end of the season. The summer months are much better to attend games, and those months are only just beginning. I think the Reds will have better attendance this year than they had last year, a lot of that having to do with Bruce. When I watch on tv, it really does seem like there are more fans there than there have been in recent years. I'm surprised at these numbers.
    I don't think so. Last season the Reds also had Hamilton as well as Bailey's rookie campaign. The Reds are basically out of bullets for this season if they don't get the record to .500 soon. Jr's chace for 600 is gone, Bruce, Votto, Cueto, and Bailey have already been brought up. If the Reds don't start playing better there really won't be a reason to go down to the stadium and watch them.

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    Member blumj's Avatar
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    Re: Attendance issues for Reds

    What an odd conclusion. When people say that winning will increase attendance, they're not referring to winning a lot of home games, they're referring to winning enough to actually make a run at a playoff spot. That's what brings fans to the park.
    "Reality tells us there are no guarantees. Except that some day Jon Lester will be on that list of 100-game winners." - Peter Gammons

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    Member Highlifeman21's Avatar
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    Re: Attendance issues for Reds

    Quote Originally Posted by blumj View Post
    What an odd conclusion. When people say that winning will increase attendance, they're not referring to winning a lot of home games, they're referring to winning enough to actually make a run at a playoff spot. That's what brings fans to the park.
    Bingo!

    Being lied to that 1, we're a winning organization/franchise, and 2, that our current personnel is good enough to make the playoffs is a great way to not put butts in seats.

    However, if we were to do the necessary things to become a winning organization/franchise like drastically changing the personnel on the roster, as well as the manager and his support staff, then we might actually win more ballgames than an optimistic .500 projection. Consistently winning 85-90 ball games will reverse the trend and start to put more butts in seats.

    And the amazing part about putting more butts in seats is that it will actually lead to a trickle down effect that impacts the money available for talent.

    More butts in seats ----> more attendence revenue ----> better cash flow ----> more money to spend on better players/lock up the good players to longer contracts.

    I know all of this might be a pretty foreign concept in the Queen City, thanks largely to Uncle Carl's mandate to turn a buck with the team (while simultaneously cooking the books to show an operating loss), being cheap is almost synonmous with the Reds.

    I really hope that Cordero signing means that there's a changing of the guard. Uncle Carl would have never thrown that kinda coin at a closer...

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    breath westofyou's Avatar
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    Re: Attendance issues for Reds

    Quote Originally Posted by blumj View Post
    What an odd conclusion. When people say that winning will increase attendance, they're not referring to winning a lot of home games, they're referring to winning enough to actually make a run at a playoff spot. That's what brings fans to the park.
    Welcome to Cincinnati, par for the course.

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    Bunn-O-matic max venable's Avatar
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    Re: Attendance issues for Reds

    Yeah, it's not merely "winning" that brings out the fans. It's CONTENDING. Everyone supports a winner...especially the city of Cincinnati.

    And HB, the numbers may increase now that summer's here...but so will everyone else's. I wouldn't expect the #24 rank to improve.
    For every action there is an equal and opposite criticism.

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    Haunted by walks
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    Re: Attendance issues for Reds

    Postseason appearances. That's what counts. It creates the buzz, and makes the team cool. People start wearing the crescent C and meeting their friends at the ballpark. It all comes down to postseason appearances.

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    6 months of heartbreak Bob Borkowski's Avatar
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    Re: Attendance issues for Reds

    http://www.redszone.com/forums/showthread.php?t=36856

    From the Wayback Machine...an interesting piece on attendance by woy. By the way, I betcha the Red Sox forum (SOSH) has nobody as good as woy hangin' around.

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    Playoffs Cyclone792's Avatar
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    Re: Attendance issues for Reds

    I will say this about last night: that game should have been a sell out. In fact, the whole series should be a sell out, but I'm beginning to think none of the games will sell out.

    The Reds blocked the general public from buying tickets to the games this weekend for so long that many people who wanted to go to the games just gave up and stopped trying to get tickets. Finally the game rolls around there's 2,000 empty seats in the stadium that could/should have been sold, even at the premium face value price.
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    Member OnBaseMachine's Avatar
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    Re: Attendance issues for Reds

    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclone792 View Post
    I will say this about last night: that game should have been a sell out. In fact, the whole series should be a sell out, but I'm beginning to think none of the games will sell out.

    The Reds blocked the general public from buying tickets to the games this weekend for so long that many people who wanted to go to the games just gave up and stopped trying to get tickets. Finally the game rolls around there's 2,000 empty seats in the stadium that could/should have been sold, even at the premium face value price.
    Yep. I was hoping to attend all three games in this series but was unable to purchase tickets due to the way they handed it.
    I miss Adam Dunn.

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    Member Jpup's Avatar
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    Re: Attendance issues for Reds

    I could have had tickets as I won the lottery thing on reds.com, but I was unable to get the seats I wanted. I watched the game last night and those seats were empty. It makes little sense. All tickets should be first come, first serve for every game. The ticket process makes little sense.

    I will not drive 3 hours to sit in the view level or in the outfield.
    "My mission is to be the ray of hope, the guy who stands out there on that beautiful field and owns up to his mistakes and lets people know it's never completely hopeless, no matter how bad it seems at the time. I have a platform and a message, and now I go to bed at night, sober and happy, praying I can be a good messenger." -Josh Hamilton

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    Miami Redhawks Redhook's Avatar
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    Re: Attendance issues for Reds

    Not many people want to pay for a poor product and that's exactly what the Reds been for the last 7-8 years. It's as simple as that.

    And then you add in the price of gas, the price of food/beer at the ball park, and no restaurant/bar options next to the park then people find it easy not to attend games. I don't blame them for not going.
    "....the two players I liked watching the most were Barry Larkin and Eric Davis. I was suitably entertained by their effortless skill that I didn't need them crashing into walls like a squirrel on a coke binge." - dsmith421

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    Member Spring~Fields's Avatar
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    Re: Attendance issues for Reds

    I know that it has been a long time since 1975-1976 and that demographics and other have changed since then. I still question how many people that area can draw when the great teams of the 70's drew something around 2.6 million tops. Can the fan base of today, even with a stimulating team that motivates attendance, push the attendance figures above 2.6 or go over 3 million, I wonder.

    Of course they need to improve the product or they will see drops in attendance and revenues. The Reds are not like football that has only 8 homes games, and being winter time, the only show in town.


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