Fan Friday: The ups and downs of Diamondbacks fan attendance
By Trisha Garcia
On this week’s edition of Fan Friday, instead of telling a fan story, let’s talk about the ups and down of fan attendance for the Arizona Diamondbacks.
According to ESPN, the Arizona Diamondbacks have an average attendance of 26,203 fans per home game in 2017. They are the No. 20 ranked team in the league and the No. 10 ranked team in the National League.
This is a slight improvement from their No. 21 ranking in 2016. But, with the team performing so much better in 2017, it’s no wonder players like Archie Bradley are questioning fans.
However, Bradley’s display of emotion and outburst over seeing Los Angeles Dodgers fans in the stands was a little misplaced. The Dodgers series took place early in the week and even against a red-hot division rival, attendance on a Tuesday is low.
It also doesn’t begin to factor in the Dodgers’ fanbase traveling well during their incredible season, the short commute from Los Angeles to Phoenix, or school starting back up in metro-Phoenix that week.
In fact, the team saw an average of over 41,000 fans during their last weekend series at home, according to Baseball Reference.
But, August is also the first month after the end of the “D-Backs Ballpark Summer Pass.” In May, the team announced that they would be selling a summer pass for $50 for fans to attend all of the team’s 25 home games in June and July.
The 4,000 allotted passes sold out in a matter of days.
The team also saw an average increase of over 4,000 fans at each home game in that time frame.
As the team heads down a path headed toward a postseason berth and could potentially host a Wild Card game in Phoenix, they should consider a similar deal for the month of September.
Hall has some ideas of his own
In his monthly #DHallChat on Twitter, President and CEO Derrick Hall addressed fan attendance and recognized the support the team has received.
“With this year’s winning, you know what, the fans are coming out,” Hall said. “I think there’s been plenty of D-Backs fans.”
But, he also recognized that weekday games have a smaller turnout.
“The crowds are a little lighter during the week,” Hall said. “I think our weekends have been tremendous, especially in the last four or five, we’ve had well over a hundred thousand fans. That shows a lot of enthusiasm and a lot of support from the fanbase, I’ve been really proud and pleased with the the D-backs fans that are coming out.”
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But, for Hall, he’s always been an advocate of one small change that could draw in a bigger crowd for all home teams.
“I’ve always been in favor of a change to the BP order,” Hall said.
Current procedure dictates that the home team takes batting practice first and the visiting team takes batting practice as the gates open.
“I’ve often thought that the visiting team is at their hotel they’re ancy, they ready to get out and get away so they may as well come to the ballpark and hit early,” Hall said. “The original intention of doing it in reverse order was so that fans, especially season ticket holders, who are there game after game can see some of those visiting players coming in so that it’s not the same every time.”
A growing fanbase in a still-young franchise
The reality is, the Diamondbacks are still such a young franchise. It might be a few more years before home-team fans overhaul visiting-team fans in the stands.
In a poll we conducted on Twitter, over 200 fans responded and proved that a huge portion of the fanbase is still very young.
Now the demographics are slightly skewed, because how many people over 55 do you know on Twitter? Nevertheless, the franchise is only 20 years old and fans responded about whether they grew up with the team or not.
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With the talent the team has, and the potential for many good seasons to come, it’s possible that a larger fanbase is coming.