Jul 25, 2022 - Sports

The Phillies have seen attendance decline almost 20% since 2019

Data: Baseball Reference; Table: Thomas Oide/Axios
Data: Baseball Reference; Table: Thomas Oide/Axios

The Phillies have seen their attendance slip by almost 20% this season when compared to 2019, far outpacing the MLB average of 6.4%.

Why it matters: There's a whole host of reasons fueling the decline, as Axios' Jeff Tracy reports, but the Phillies' slump is unique in our sports-crazy city.

  • It's not like the product on the field has changed that much. The team has been floating at or under .500 — with no playoff appearances — for the last decade.
  • One thing that's missing from 2019: hype. The team had just shelled out hundreds of millions on a roster overhaul, including a titanic 13-year, $330 million contract for Bryce Harper.

State of play: MLB season-ticket sales are down 10% year over year. The league's chief revenue officer Noah Garden pins much of the blame on that trend, per Sportico.

  • The 99-day lockout earlier this year disrupted sales for front offices and also may have turned off some fans.
  • COVID hasn't gone away, with the BA.5 variant leading to surging case rates across America.
  • Inflation is also causing folks to tighten their wallets, both for tickets and travel. The latter is important, as the MLB is the professional league most reliant on out-of-town fans, Holy Cross sports economic professor Victor Matheson told the AP.

Yes, but: Other pro teams in our area generally haven't seen a similar attendance decline since before the pandemic.

  • The Union (4%), Sixers (1.2%) and Eagles (0.15%) all saw modest bumps. The Union and Sixers have both had recent sustained success, while the Eagles annually sell out the Linc.
  • Only the Flyers have seen a comparable drop in attendance (18.8%) — down from 3rd to 18th among NHL teams — but they're coming off a historically bad season.

The bottom line: Baseball might be in the midst of a fan problem, but the Philly faithful tend to show up when the results are worth their time.


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