The business of sports is doing just fine — well, mostly (after all, the NHL currently does not have a business).
Nonetheless, the NBA and NFL are seeing record revenues, and baseball is seeing television money flow in like never before. So it would make sense that if times are good in those leagues, then times are good for the teams in those leagues. Well, hold on right there, because not all teams are doing that well, at least when it comes to fan retention.
In fact, the website 247wallst.com identified the 13 top-tier sports franchises in North America that are losing fans at the fastest rate. According to their methodology, “Based on 10-year change in attendance of home game of teams in the four major sports leagues — NHL, MLB, NBA and NFL — 24/7 Wall St. identified the teams with the worst declines in attendance.” The period measured was the conclusion of the 2001-02 seasons through the 2011-12 seasons.
The team suffering the worst decline? That would be the Seattle Mariners, who not only had the biggest decline in attendance over the past 10 years at 51.4 percent, but also had the lowest attendance relative to capacity in 2012, with only 44.4 percent of the seats in Safeco Field occupied, according to the study.
Here is the full list, in order of largest decline: