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Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Maury Brown: Florida Is A Bandwagon State, And The Worst At Supporting Pro Sports

For a moment, I thought Maury was offering to sell Florida back to the Spanish.

But, for pro sports, well…

Don’t hate me for this, hate the numbers. Consider the following: including partial seasons in the NFL, NHL, and NBA for 2014 and dating back to 2010, for leagues that have 30 teams (NBA, NHL, and MLB) and the NFL (32 teams), the nine professional sports teams in Florida average a ranking against their peers based upon attendance at an abysmal 21st. If not for the Heat (average ranking of #5), that got incredible help due to the signing of LeBron James, it would be worse… far, far worse.

The Tampa Bay Rays and Buccaneers are the biggest losers of losers in terms of attendance rankings. Yes, Rays fans, I know, Tropicana Field is in a bad location and is a poor ballpark experience with a dome, but come on… you were in the World Series in 2008 where you lost to the Phillies and ranked 26 averaging 22,259 or just 52.8 percent of the Trop’s capacity. And, where most all teams that at least make the postseason—let alone the World Series—benefit by increased season ticket sales the following year after a great performance, the best the Rays could muster was 23 out of 30 with an average of 23,147 or 0.1 percent higher than the year prior in terms of filling the venue to capacity (52.9 percent). To make matters worse, you just lost your highly respected general manager (Andrew Friedman to the Dodgers) and dugout manager (Joe Maddon to the Cubs), so if you’re doing that poorly when it was good, how will it be if the Rays become bad (again). It’s no wonder that whispers of the Rays relocating to Montreal have begun to surface.

The Miami Marlins aren’t much better, but here, it’s not so much the fan’s problem as it is with toxic ownership. Jeffrey Loria is nearly universally seen as the worst owner in Major League Baseball. While he’s gotten the team to win a World Series while on his watch, Loria quickly traded off key players and they plummeted in the standings. Even when they leveraged the public for a new ballpark using taxpayer dollars, the Marlins had the dubious distinction of having the worst attendance for a new ballpark in the last 15 years. In the year that they moved to Miami and into a new state of the art ballpark, the best they could muster was ranking 18th out of 30 clubs.

And then there’s the Florida Panthers.

The Panthers set a record for the fewest fans at a game, with an announced attendance of 7,311 against the Ottawa Senators on Columbus Day that actually looked like much less. Attendance has been so bad that, much like the Rays, there has been repeated talk of the club relocating.

ven the Dolphins, who have the longest tenure and a vaunted history in the NFL, has had images and numbers that, well, seem like a fish out of water.

Sunday’s game where they put the beat down on Phillip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers had an announced attendance of 70,222 in Sun Life Stadium’s cavernous venue. But remember, the NFL counts comps, VIPs, media—pretty much any warm body in the facility—against the attendance numbers. Why? Because based upon the NFL’s rules, if a stadium is not sold out 72 hours before a game, it is blacked out on television. Now, there was certainly a lot more in the stands by the time the game played, but this picture taken just 45 minutes before kickoff on Sunday makes one believe that trending toward 70,000+ was going to take some doing.

If there’s a reason to attach to this, maybe it’s oversaturation. Nine teams, while not a record, is a lot for Florida. ...

JE (Jason) Posted: November 05, 2014 at 03:11 PM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: attendance, expansion, florida, tv ratings

 

 

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