Cameron: What do we really know about attendance?

From Dave Cameron at FanGraphs on August 6, 2012:

Over the weekend, I had the pleasure of attending the Saber Seminar in Boston, an event put on by Chuck Korb and Dan Brooks to help raise money for The Jimmy Fund, and the event was wildly successful in that regard, raising close to $20,000 for cancer research and care.

The event was also successful from a baseball perspective, as there were a number of interesting presentations and discussions. I was asked to be part of the final panel on Sunday, and was tasked with talking about something relating to “The Future of Sabermetrics”. While most panels on this topic at various conferences over the last few years have focused on things like Field F/x and ball/player tracking technology that may never become public, I decided to talk about an area where I think those of us who are interested in researching the game have not put enough effort into understanding – the driving factors behind changes in attendance.

 We have a general understanding of a relationship between wins and fans showing up at the ballpark. Good teams draw, bad teams don’t. It’s not hard and fast, but it’s a truth that holds in most cases. However, there are a multitude of factors beyond that wins=fans relationship that we don’t understand, and this year’s attendance figures actually highlight just how far we have to go in being able to accurately project attendance gains and losses based on the factors that are usually considered.

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Originally published: August 6, 2012. Last Updated: August 6, 2012.