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Diamondbacks Game Preview #155: 9/27 @ Astros

Attendance at Chase this year was... not good. But the same goes, to varying extents, in most places.

Arizona Diamondbacks Summer Workouts Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Today's Lineups

Corbin Carroll - LF Jose Altuve - 2B
Daulton Varsho - CF Jeremy Pena - SS
Jake McCarthy - RF Yordan Alvarez - DH
Christian Walker - 1B Alex Bregman - 3B
Pavin Smith - DH Kyle Tucker - RF
Ketel Marte - 2B Yuli Gurriel - 1B
Josh Rojas - 3B Trey Mancini - LF
Carson Kelly - C Chas McCormick - CF
Geraldo Perdomo - SS Martin Maldonado - C
Zach Davies - RHP Luis Garcia - RHP

Sunday was the final game of the year at Chase Field, and it took place in front of a crowd of 25,389. That’s actually more than double the tally for the corresponding game last year, when only 12,565 attended the home finale against the Rockies. All told, Arizona’s attendance was up over 562,000 on last year, with the average being up by 6,941 per game. That’s not at all surprising: last year, the world was still making its way through a pandemic, and between restrictions and an understandable aversion to large crowds, attending baseball games was not high on many people’s list of choices. This year, things have largely returned to normal: across all of baseball, attendance so far is up 8,322 per game.

However, it’s still some way short of pre-pandemic levels. If we compare crowds this year to 2019, the MLB average this year is 26,518, down from 28,204 before COVID. If sustained, it would be the lowest average per game for a “real” season since 1996. Of course, the reality is that at-park attendance is no longer the major driver of club revenue. Broadcast rights, revenue sharing, etc. bring in more. The national TV deal alone brought over $60 million to the D-backs this season. Unless the average ticket sold at Chase in 2022 was $38 or more, that alone would be more money than comes through the turnstiles. But it does perhaps indicate a generally declining interest in baseball, at least as an in-person activity.

Anecdotally, I can’t say I’m too surprised. I’ve not been to the ballpark this season. Much as I am a fan of bad movies, bad baseball - the likely outcome of a trip to Chase over the past couple of years - does not have the same interest. Major-league baseball, in general, has lost some appeal too, for multiple reasons. But it’s interesting to see the variations. Over on, Jack compared the numbers against 2019 around the league: the D-backs had the 3rd-largest percentage drop, better than just the A’s and Guardians. The former makes sense: fans have basically been boycotting the team the whole year, largely due to the stadium issue and uncertain future for the team. The worst record in the AL doesn’t help.

The Guardians’ scenario is weird. They clinched their division for the first time since 2018, but attendance is down 26% compared to 2019, with five home games where attendance was below 10K. Their drop has been bigger even than their Ohio siblings in Cincinnati, who have a shot at losing 100. It’s difficult NOT to connect this to the controversial decision to change the team name for 2022 from the Indians. If you disagree with that choice, and feel it disrespected a century-plus of history, then not going to the ballpark and funding those who made the change seems a logical decision. TV ratings are also down 30 percent, the third-largest decline, so it seems many simply abandoned the team entirely.