After years of ending up in the basement in terms of attendance, the Cleveland Indians should finally see more fans in the stands in 2017.
No matter how well the Cleveland Indians did in 2016, there were also those fans who felt the need to point out the lack of fans in the stands during the regular season.
Progressive Field was a special place during the postseason, but was often less than half full for most of the regular season. Excluding weekend games, the team was lucky to have more than 15,000 at any given time.
Some want to cast blame on fans for not going to the park, but there are so many factors that go into this. Trying to get into an argument about ticket prices and affordability is something that is just not worth anyone’s time.
But regardless of why fans were not coming out to the park, that should change in 2017.
In a small market like Cleveland, the team needs to be a consistent winner for fans to be willing to commit a weekday night to attending a game. And based on the returning players, this team should be great once again.
The Indians were only able to draw an average of 19,650 fans per game in 2016, putting them 28th out of 30 MLB teams. This fact was not hard to believe after watching most home games this season, when conversations between fans could be heard on the broadcast.
But entering 2017 as the defending American League champions will help the Indians get that average over 20,000 at the least, and hopefully more toward 25,000-30,000.
The exposure the team had throughout October will help draw more casual fans, while also making diehard fans want to be at the park, in case a Tyler Naquin inside-the park walk-off happens again, or Corey Kluber pitches a perfect game. Because nothing is better than casually flashing a ticket stub as proof of “oh yeah, I was there.”
Season-ticket sales should also increase throughout the winter, as fans who may have ditched their tickets during the past decade may want to get those seats again. 2007 helped increase excitement around the team after a steady decline following 2001, but a subpar 2008 season did nothing to help 2009 renewals. Sales won’t be as easy as they are for Cavaliers sales reps, but it will be a nice change from the recent past.
Increased attendance may be an obvious fact after the magical 2016 season, so let’s hope it actually comes true. There is nothing worse than certain individuals flooding Twitter feeds with pessimistic comments about attendance after an Indians win. That group will have to devote all their time to Bryan Shaw hate. And that is a full-time job in itself.