Pro Sports in general is making more money than ever. Fewer fans are in the seats. It was crazy to tune into the Indy NASCAR race last Sunday. As much as they try to avoid it, the TV camera caught tens of thousands of empty seats. It didn’t use to be like that. In fact thousands of seats are sitting empty at most of the NASCAR races. It will probably be their lowest attendance year in the last 20 years. I was lucky that my buddy Yogi was poking the ticket manager in Bristol and scored a couple tickets for my brother and me a few years back. That ½ mile track holds 160,000 screaming fans and there is usually a five or six year wait for tickets. This year’s March race had less than 80,000 fans there. NASCAR just announced they would no longer give attendance figures to the press. Duh….
Major League Baseball is down about ½ million fans this year, terrible attendance in most parks. The Yankees can’t fill their park. The Miami Marlins owners convinced the ignorant politicians of Miami who then convinced the poor taxpayer that if they would just cover the $634 million bucks for a state-of-the-art- 37,000 seat stadium they would fill the place. Oh Yeah? Build it and they will not come. The Miami park even has a retractable roof to keep the hot sun and buckets of rain off of the fans. Don’t matter. Their attendance is up 100 fans per game this year. They average about 17,000 fans per game. Yesterday they announced they would be closing the upper deck the rest of the year. Now grant it, the Marlins are a horrible team, but that didn’t stop Cub fans from filling Wrigley field for 100 years of horrible teams. But, even the Cub numbers are made-up. Last year, Cubs management announced the total attendance at close to 3 million for the year. They actually had over 800,000 no-shows for a realistic count of around 2 million.
Pro Basketball is way down in attendance. Milwaukee, Phoenix, Sacramento and Detroit can’t give away enough seats.
IS THE THE FUTURE OF THE NBA?
Even college football attendance is way down. The top 10 teams sell out but the rest are having problems putting butts in the seats.
There are plenty of reasons NOT to go see a sports game. Ticket prices are stupid. Parking prices are stupid. Beer is at least $8. It’s a hassle to fight the traffic and the booze-filled, expletive shouting neighbors sitting around you. Slow motion HD replays are very cool. So is the den I sit in and watch the replays. Butts in the seats at home watching are doing just fine.
That’s why NASCAR just signed an 8 ½ billion dollar TV deal. Fans thought the Los Angeles Dodgers had to be crazy so spend 200 million in salaries but then they turned around and signed a 6+ billion dollar deal with Times Warner Cable. College Football are forming huge conferences and signing lucrative TV package deals. And then there is the NFL. The most lucrative TV deal ever in the history of sports. Next year Major League teams will split up over 40 Billion Bucks on their new Television rights package. 32 teams don’t care if there are any fans in the seats…really. The money keeps rolling in from us couch potatoes.