Thurm: MLB attendance winners and losers in 2012

From SABR member Wendy Thurm at FanGraphs on October 5, 2012:

We now have final attendance figures for the 2012 regular season. Overall, attendance increased by 1,443,909 compared to 2011, or slightly less than 2%. And while MLB touted that increase as “the largest year-to-year growth since the 2007 season total rose 4.6% over 2006,” much of the increase can be attributed to the additional 698,882 fans who bought tickets to see the Miami Marlins in their new ballpark. By contrast, there was no new ballpark opening in 2007.

In fact, attendance changes differed significantly across the league. The teams with surprisingly successful seasons — the Nationals, Orioles and Athletics — saw immediate rewards at the box office, with attendance increases ranging from 14% (202,221 more tickets sold by the A’s) to 22% (430,316 for the Nationals). Baltimore had a 19% gain over 2011, with 345,779 visiting Camden Yards to watch the Extra-Inning Miracle Workers.

Two teams that made big moves over the winter and were expected to make the postseason — the Rangers and the Tigers — also experienced significant attendance jumps. The Rangers, on the heels of two consecutive World Series appearances and the signing of Japanese pitching sensation Yu Darvish, entertained an additional 503,331 fans at home in 2012, a 17% increase. The Tigers made a big splash when the team got Prince Fielder and then were rewarded when 385,988 more fans visited Comerica Park in 2012 than did in 2011 — a 15% gain.

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Originally published: October 5, 2012. Last Updated: October 5, 2012.