There is a little more excitement in the air about the Arizona Diamondbacks this season that over the past couple of years, no doubt. That has much to do with the Dbacks fighting for first place, something they haven’t done since 2008. However, that is not translating into people actually going to the games. So far this season, the Dbacks are actually averaging fewer fans this season than that previous two. In 2011, the Dbacks are averaging 24,266 people per game. In 2010 the average was 25,391, and in 2009 it was 26,281. That is completely mind-blowing to me.
So who is to blame for that? The fans? The Dbacks? Television? Probably a little of all three to be honest. As far as the Dbacks go, prices haven’t drastically changed over the past couple of seasons. However, it takes a good chunk of cash to make it with a family of three or four to the game, even when it is on the cheap. You can’t blame fans for the cost of everything.
To go on the cheap, you take light rail for $3.75 person, you get a value dog and a value drink for a total of $3.00 and enjoy. However, let’s be real here. The value dog isn’t much bigger than my middle finger and there is more liquid in a desert oasis than what gets put into the value cup, which is a 12 oz cup, but after ice, gets like 6 oz of drink. Yeah, that’s not going to last long and the Dbacks know it. So, each fan probably doesn’t have the luxury of light rail. So there goes $12 for parking. Then each average fan is probably going to spend about $20 on themselves for food/drink (if you don’t drink alcohol) with a family of three like I have, there goes another $60. Then there is the cost of the ticket itself, from $5 on the cheap (and if you like nose bleeds), however, if you want lower level without paying the expensive prices, you get the $15-$20 bleacher seat. So, another $60 out the window. All in all, for a family of three for one game, you’ve spent about $130. That doesn’t include souvenirs, maybe some ice cream, and incidentals. Multiply that over 82 games and you must be rich.
As far as the fans go, really you can find ways to do it cheaper. I went to stubhub.com for example and got three bleacher seats for $18 with $10 in fees for $28. That’s $28 for three bleachers seats for this Tuesday. My 4 year old will just have a value hot dog and probably 2 drinks. That’s $4.50 right there. So that just leaves parking and my wife and I to eat. I will probably end up spending about $85 all together for the experience. Still a pricey proposition, but when I do it only 5-10 times a season, it is a little more do-able. There are people that can consistently afford to go and just choose not to though. A lot of it is because there are more fans of other teams than there are of Dbacks fans in this town, still. I think that still goes back to Dbacks marketing and promotions.
Then there is television. When you have 150 games on television a season, why would you want to go out to the game when you can enjoy it from your own couch? I love having every game on tv no doubt, however, there is something still missing. You don’t get to be right in the middle of the action. No matter how much a network tries to sell you on you being right in the middle of the action, you really aren’t. Nothing beats being there in person.
So all in all, it most likely all boils down to cost, convenience, and that it seems that 90 percent of this city is from somewhere else. Most real Dbacks fans like myself probably have the same issues I do, money. It’s not cheap to go to a game, even on the cheap. Over the course of 81 home games, it just isn’t feasible for many who live in this Phoenix economy. Fact is, winning doesn’t always sell and that case has never been more clear than it is now.