Where are all the baseball fans?

I recently had the opportunity to attend 2 baseball games, one in Miami and another in Dallas.  Both games were pretty good and both were blow outs (although the Rangers didn’t win theirs whereas Miami did).  What was readily apparent was the lack of fans in the stands.  There were huge swaths of the upper deck empty and if you crammed all the box seat people together you might be able to fill up maybe 3/4 of the lower deck.  Thats a ton of money being lost and I attribute it to a few things but the biggest one is cost.

The baseball tickets that I got were relatively cheap at $25 but for a family of 4 thats already $100.  Next expense would be food.  I don’t drink beer or anything like that but I did eat regular food and that stuff is more expensive than eating at an airport so add another $50-$100.  There’s also parking that will run you another $10 and then the kids will want a hat or something so add $25 per child.  You’re over $300 and thats just for a single game.  While that sounds great and all the average person can’t bring their family to cheer on their home team due to the large expense.

One of the largest areas that is lacking is PARKING!  OMG there was no place to park really at either location.  There are 3rd party lots around the ball parks but the management should analyze how much money they could make by creating massive parking garages to house the cars of their fans!  They could be creative and have the garages away from the ball park and give them to take buses or a street car to the game.  That would increase the fan experience right there.  The Marlins were one of the dumbest teams in existence by building a huge stadium in the middle of a residential area so they had no room to put parking.  As I was exiting the game, I noticed that most of the workers are taking up the garage spaces that should be for fans.  If your fans can’t get to the stadium due to distance of parking, you need to re-evaluate your plans.  Something similar is happening now with soccer in Miami.  They thankfully axed the Overtown idea and they will create the new stadium closer to the airport so there is sufficient parking for a mixed use area that includes shopping and offices so it can be used 365 a year for not just soccer but also corporate events too.  Now thats smarter planning.  I’ve found that if you’ve planned for a certain number of parking spaces, you should at least double the number to make sure there is enough parking not only for fans but for the people that work at the stadium which is often missed.  (My new office for work is a prime example, not enough parking spaces for tenants so we’ll have to find our own options to park just to go to the office).

I get it, running a baseball team is expensive but if your team sucks and you’re not putting butts in seats, start lowering prices so people can come to the game.  Stop paying for top players because the sports talking heads say you need it, the farm teams are supposed to feed the majors and having a good farm system to give you future awesome players should be a priority (NY Yankees??).   Baseball salaries are probably one of the biggest drivers of moving ticket prices north, thats probably why seeing minor league teams is more fun.  The cost is low, you can bring the entire family for a reasonable price, and the seats aren’t so far away that you can see your favorite player most of the time.