The Marlins and Astros will square off for a series in Houston tonight and although both teams are demonstrating remarkable improvement on the field, it is also translating to increases in ticket sales at the turnstiles.
Both franchises are seeing increases of over 23% – far and away the best increases around baseball. (See the entire breakdown here.)
Forbes has an interesting article that examines these trends around baseball. They make their predictions and analyze which franchises will emerge winners and losers and so far, after 49 games at home, both the Astros and Marlins were making big increases.
Sure, they are the two worst teams in baseball last season, based on their records and any shred of winning should see an increase in attendance. The Marlins are a better team this year than last mostly because of experience; players like Nathan Eovaldi, Marcell Ozuna, and Christian Yelich are getting more regular playing time and contributing more. Giancarlo Stanton has always had the touch of greatness with his amazing power-hitting ability – and this year, he’s healthy and an All-Star.
Unlike last year though, Stanton is getting protection in the lineup with Casey McGehee hitting behind him at a .320 clip and driving in runs – these are All-Star worthy contributions, by the way (#VoteHitsMcGehee). McGehee, Garrett Jones, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and Rafael Furcal were all signed to shore up areas of perceived weakness on the offensive side of the ball. The Fish have added players (Bryan Morris, Kevin Greg, Randy Wolf, Brad Penny) when they needed pitching help. Although it was not the big splash they made in the 2011 offseason, followed by the huge alteration that was made in the 2012 offseason, the Marlins are adding talent to their roster and getting better results on the field.
Yet, is the winning translating to larger crowds? Forbes writer Maury Brown likens it to a correction. Sure, the Marlins have raised their 2013 attendance figures up by 4, 055 fans a game, an increase of 23.25% over last season. When a team loses 100 games, you expect horrible attendance – include the payroll purge to the Blue Jays and a lot of anger. This is also a team that had been dealt a huge blow when their NL Rookie of the Year/All-Star/Cy Young candidate Jose Fernandez was shut down to get Tommy John surgery for the year. The team could have easily hid behind this event and lowered expectations on the field and in the box office. Still, fans are continuing to come out to the park.
So, as the wins increase, so should the attendance. The Marlins should also take note when considering the potential impact a player like Stanton could have on their turnstiles – as well as winning. Things are moving in the right direction, according to analysts. To see them continue will depend on whether or not the Marlins continue their efforts towards building a winning franchise and getting the fans to buy in.