Dodger fans are not being taken out to the ballgame this year.
Through the first 17 home games of the season, Dodger attendance is down 8.7% compared to a year ago. Last season the average attendance to this point was 46,622 per game, this year it is 42,578.
This is one thing owner Frank McCourt and his team can do little about — everyone seems to be cutting back on discretionary spending, and for many that means fewer trips to Dodger Stadium and more time watching the team on television.
This is certainly not a Dodgers-only trend, baseball attendance as a whole is off 5.2% this season compared to last. The New York Mets are down 23.4% despite opening a new stadium, as did the Yankees who have seen attendance fall 11%. The Washington Nationals are off 35% from last year.
The Dodgers still have had the second most fans of any team in baseball walk through their gates (although not all teams have played the same number of home games). Attendance in Los Angeles is still good, but ann 8.7% drop is a tough pitch to take.
The Angels have not been impacted — their attendance is up 5.6% this season, despite a slow start that is just now starting to come around. The biggest jump, not surprisingly, is the Tampa Bay Rays, who are up more than 60%. At this time last year nobody knew about or believed in the scrappy, young team that made it to the World Series. This year fans want to see them.
The Dodgers did what many fans wanted in the offseason, bringing back Manny Ramirez. There were special ticket packages to keep the costs down. Then the Dodgers got off to record 13-0 start at home beating traditional rivals like the San Francisco Giant and San Diego Padres.
Hasn’t mattered — if you don’t have the money to spend, you don’t have the money to spend.