D-Backs FanFest a Hopeful Sign for Fan Resurgence
By Thomas Lynch
The Arizona Diamondbacks held their annual FanFest this past weekend and the turnout was remarkable. Attendance was counted at 25,000 people, a staggering jump from the 2010 Fest which drew 10,000 attendees. For more on this, check it out here, courtesy of azcentral.com. Let us hope it is only the beginning of a fan resurgence for Diamondbacks baseball.
The attendance at Arizona home games has been down over the past few seasons. They have finished no better than 11th out of 16 National League teams over the past five years. During their 2007 National League West Division Championship year, the D-Backs drew almost 2.33 million fans, 12th in the league. Even last season’s 94-win team drew only 2.1 million people. Maybe if there are a few more seasons like 2011, Chase Field can once again be a hotbed of baseball, capable of consistently attracting between 2.5 million and 3 million fans. Even though I live in New York, I can remember a time when it was a big deal that Yankee Stadium broke the 3 million mark. Of course it only took their 79th season in Yankee Stadium to do it. Arizona has already done it three times in 14 seasons.
I haven’t heard this publicly but maybe there are media outlets and other folks who don’t consider Diamondback fans to be any good given their less than average numbers. That is not fair. Yankee Stadium is mostly packed every game. All I hear is how great New York Yankee fans are. Well, I have witnessed both Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera get booed at home. You tell me if those are good fans. Maybe not every D-Back game is sold out, but there are still plenty of vocal, loyal fans. It takes time and a winning tradition to build a good and consistent fan base. Remember, the Diamondbacks are only entering their 15th season. If they can put together a couple of consecutive first or second place finishes, I bet we won’t be talking about empty seats at Chase.
Perhaps the lackluster showing in recent attendance can be attributed to the sour economy and the team’s up-and-down seasons. I can only speculate as I live 2,500 miles away. I would love to hear what other Arizona fans have to say about it. If the FanFest is any indication, the Arizona Diamondbacks may have just turned the corner from novelty act to sports fixture.
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