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Not beating a dead horse, looking for some help


The Marlin Man
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I'm writting a research paper on competitive balance and its effect on attendance. Long story short, I am going to make reference to how even after the Marlins won the WS and had winning seasons, they still rank near the bottom in the league in attendance.

 

If it's not winning that makes marlins fans show up, then what is it?? I know the obvious answers to this. I just thought it would be cool if I could get some quotes from actual marlins fans such as yourselves to insert into my paper.

 

I'm generally trying to get at the location of the stadium and the lack of public transporation in Miami. If you have opinions on this, please share. Nothing to lenghty....just 2 or 3 lines worth.

 

thanks in adavance to any responses

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My Hypotheses:

1. Stadium too far. While it is central between the two counties, it is really not "close" to anyone.

 

2. Stadium is not in a downtown. Unlike football, baseball is a sport played on weekdays. Baseball needs to be located near a downtown area where people can stop by after work with their co-workers, etc. After a long day at work, no one wants to drive 20 minutes through traffic to get to the stadium. Potential weather concerns on that given day may further exacerbate this as well.

 

3. High expectations. There is a general consensus among people I have spoken to, that the Marlins "suck." I've been hearing this all my life. If people put down their hard-earned money, they want to get their money's worth. Not sure why this is true in Miami and not in other cities, but this attitude definitely exists.

 

4. Feeling of betrayal from after 1997 season. "Why would I support this team, if they're just going to trade all of the players when they become good?"

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Might want to look into the trends with Red Sox fans in losing seasons. While incredibly consistent (if only the Marlins were), prior to this decade, they didn't sell out during seasons with a average or losing record.

 

 

Its easy to build a loyal fan base when you have a winning tradition. The Red Sox have had just one losing season since 1995. Know ing that your ownership is going to spend the money & resources to keep the team as an elite, helps.

 

The Cubs have a myth built up around them that their fans are legion and have been packing Wrigley for decades. However the stats just don't prove that out. In 1981 the Cubs averaged just 9,752 fans a game and in 1982 just 15,423. Certainly they have been averaging 25,000+ since 1988, but as long as their history is that is not really a very long time.

 

Before Jacobs Field, the Indians only averaged 12,818 in 1991 and 15,112 in 1992. They averaged over 40,000 a game per season from 1996-2000 but then when the management let the team slip in its talent, the numbers dropped to last year only averaging 24,861 only 2,000+ more than the Marlins yet they had 10 more wins (93-69 as opposed to the Marlins 83-79). Cleveland was 12th out of 14 in attendance in the AL yet have you heard a peep about the abysmal way the Clevelanders supported their team last year ????

 

The attendance at Dolphin stadium is thwarted by all the reasons given above but I feel it also is just hurt by reputation at this point. Yes the Marlins want a new stadium, and yes they NEED a new stadium, but the way they have gone about getting a new stadium has not helped by stating over and over how awful it is to go to Dolphin stadium. People then feel that its worse than it really is, and it will keep the more casual fan away from the stadium when its been drummed into them how awful an experience it will be.

 

Its a catch 22, but that is the reality of the situation.

 

(attendance numbers from www.baseball-reference.com)

 

People don't want to fully committ to a team that they don't know if it will be here tomorrow.

 

 

I believe this is a bigger reason than most for the drop off in attendance this year. Even more than the loss of players. People are not wanting to commit emotionally right now, until they know this team is here for the longhaul.

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my .02 -

 

I truly believe weather is a factor. The threat of rain in the summer and the opportunity to bake on a Sunday afternoon certainly hurt as far as I'm concerned. A stadium with a retractable roof is essential down here.

 

:hat

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Might want to look into the trends with Red Sox fans in losing seasons. While incredibly consistent (if only the Marlins were), prior to this decade, they didn't sell out during seasons with a average or losing record.

 

Its easy to build a loyal fan base when you have a winning tradition. The Red Sox have had just one losing season since 1995. Know ing that your ownership is going to spend the money & resources to keep the team as an elite, helps.

Uh... ok.

 

The Red Sox fans offer an interesting example that fans follow the trend of not supporting a loser. I hardly doubt after years of Yawkey, they really focus on ownership. For most fans, they are regarded as nameless faceless ATM machines with no personality. No fan considers the owner upon entering the ballpark. Marlins fans are an extreme example, because they essentially have two owners working towards two different goals.

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I've offered this story as a case in point here before but I think it illustrative of the problem the Marlins face with holding onto the ocassional retail (read fan but not season ticketholder) customer.

 

It was last summer, I believe a three game series with Pittsburgh and it rained every night with multiple rain delays. When it wasn't raining, the tempurature was so high and the humidity so stifling it was literally hard to breathe.

 

As the rains came for third time that night I found myself walking up the steps to shelter behind a young couple with their two small children in tow, all soaked by now, their new Marlins paraphenalia ruined, the husband trying desperately to put a good face on things, when the wife turns to him, daggers shooting from her eyes, and says "This is the last (expletive) Marlins game you are ever bringing us to...".

 

Resigned that there were no words he could utter that would smooth over the situation, and realizing he might wind sleeping on the couch if he responded, he shrugged shoulders, looked down at his six or seven year old kid and let out a sigh, as if to say "kid, I tried...", knowing full well if his wife had anything to say about it, this would be the last game this father and son would attend together so long as the Marlins played in the hell on earth known these days as Dolphin Stadium.

 

While antedoctal, I fear that the same thing has happened too many times in the last decade or so to ever give the Marlins a fighting chance at PPS. Only a new stadium will offer the franchise a chance to wipe the slate clean and draw this family (and thousands and thousands like them) back to the sport.

 

Whether the reason people have spurned Dolphin Stadium is because of the terrible stadium-controlled customer service, or the horrendous food concessions or the seats in the terrace boxes that face centerfield or the unbearable sun and unbearable heat of a summer's Sunday day game, the last thing it is, is a disconnect with the team. If it were, tv and radio ratings would have dropped dramatically over the years previous and they haven't, and I suspect haven't this season, at least relative to the roughly 40-50% drop in attendance.

 

People still follow the Marlins, they've just given up on the venue. And were it not for my love of the game, and the pleasure of sharing it with my son, I might have too.

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thanks 2003

 

what do you think about accesability of the stadium?? In Miami, everyone has to commute over an hour to get to the stadium whereas in places like Boston, 2/3 of the stadium is filled by people that take a 20 min train ride.

 

I bet that as much as having a retractable roof would help.....the location of the stadium is what matters more and would lead to more of an increase in attendance.

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thanks 2003

 

what do you think about accesability of the stadium?? In Miami, everyone has to commute over an hour to get to the stadium whereas in places like Boston, 2/3 of the stadium is filled by people that take a 20 min train ride.

 

I bet that as much as having a retractable roof would help.....the location of the stadium is what matters more and would lead to more of an increase in attendance.

 

 

I've always thought the commute, especially on weeknites is the biggest impediment the Marlins have had in attracting the casual fan. Much more than the weather factor.

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I am absolutely certain that if the stadium could be reached by metrorail attendance would go up significantly.

With gas prices as high as they are, and parking costing more than a fish tank ticket, I think it is pretty easy to see why people would rather not drive to the middle of nowhere for a baseball game. (Because, let's be honest, there really isn't anything around the stadium)

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  • Weather- threat of rain. Chance of the game not being played. Sunday afternoon games are terrible. People don't really want to sit in there seats and bake. I know I wouldnt
  • Uncertain that the Marlins are staying in South Florida. People don't want to get attacted to this team and then them moving away.
  • No roof- Goes with weather. With a roof on the stadium the game is guaranteed to be played and in a comfortable temperature.
  • People are unable to spend a day at the ball park. Like Wrigley Field there are bars, resturants, etc: next to the stadium. People who live over 1 hour away can still go down to the stadium. They can go out for dinner, movie, mall and then go to a game. That would be less hectic and a waste of time then going to the game and then going straight home. '

Thats all for now :)

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thanks 2003

 

what do you think about accesability of the stadium?? In Miami, everyone has to commute over an hour to get to the stadium whereas in places like Boston, 2/3 of the stadium is filled by people that take a 20 min train ride.

 

I bet that as much as having a retractable roof would help.....the location of the stadium is what matters more and would lead to more of an increase in attendance.

 

The current location touted, Hialeah Heights, because of the Turnpike access will make it alot easier for people from South Miami-Dade as well Broward and PBC, to get to than a downtown stadium, although were I able to pick a spot, there's no doubt I'd put it in closer proximity to the central city.

 

What I believe will mitigate the extended travel time will be the guarantee you'll be able to attend a game that 1) will take place rain or shine, 2) that you'll do so in comfort, so important to corporate season ticketholders who are squiring their clients around, and to families with kids and 3) that the amenties will speak well of you (the skybox owner who just brought twenty big ticket customers/clients to the game).

 

Without a doubt the location has it trade-offs, but in the end, I'm betting it will work in the Marlins favor.

 

Ask yourself this. Can you think of anything worse for a corporate type than bringing your $20 million client to a game and watching helplessly as his $1,000 custom made italian suit is ruined in a rainstorm? The roof is the thing. Everything else flows from that.

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In Miami, everyone has to commute over an hour to get to the stadium whereas in places like Boston, 2/3 of the stadium is filled by people that take a 20 min train ride.

I live 20 minutes from the stadium (on a good day) in the northern part of South Broward...its convinent for me to get to the games at least.

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Everything said about the stadium is right (it's even an awful venue to watch a football game!). 3 other/ extended comments from my point of view:

 

1) Lack of anything else to do around DS. Going there for a baseball game is a complete time drain. Because there is nothing else to do or see around there all of the commute time is totally 'dead time' which bookends your day out at the game. If the stadium had something else to do around it, you can make a day out - go for a meal, cinema, something to eat whatever. Research shows that the greatest shopping trip inside a store will be spoilt in the consumers mind by a 5 minute wait at the checkout. Going to DS is a similar experience - get in - get out. Only the game provides any enjoyment. It's location means that the vast majority of fans have that experience. It's location may be equitable for all, but it's convenient for no-one.

 

2) The stadium is way too big and the gap between supply and demand is enormous. Everyone knows that you can just turn up and sit where you want. Ownership of a ticket has no cache whatsoever, so the incentive to get a ticket or even use it if you have one is low. When was the last time you heard someone say "wow you've got tixs to the Marlins game tonight". A new, smaller stadium will help with this to an extent. Both the Red Sox and Cubs have been able to go into these 'rabid fan' eras fairly easily since they have small stadiums. They only needed to improve on the field a little in order to get the few extra fans in and hit this 'tipping point'. No team would fill DS day in day out.

 

3) The team is marketed appallingly. The Marlins have no clue whatsoever on this...

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Whether the reason people have spurned Dolphin Stadium is because of the terrible stadium-controlled customer service, or the horrendous food concessions or the seats in the terrace boxes that face centerfield or the unbearable sun and unbearable heat of a summer's Sunday day game, the last thing it is, is a disconnect with the team. If it were, tv and radio rated would have dropped dramatically over the years previous and they haven't, and I suspect haven't this season, at least relative to the roughly 40-50% drop in attendance.

 

 

That is no joke... I was in the right field seats last year, and someone from my section appeared to be having a seizure of some sort... and the people at the stadium just couldn't be bothered... so I had to spend the last 3 innings helping take care of this person and her family until paramedics that they called arrived...

 

sorry its not quite on topic, but whenever DS customer service comes to mind, I always remember those jerks...

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I think what gets overlooked is not only does PPS not have a roof, but its terribly boring and doesn't offer anything besides baseball. Stadiums like Turner Field, Camden Yards, the one in Philly..etc, they're all like shopping malls and are probably fun for wives, kids and moms too. But just baseball isn't that exciting for everyone.

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regular Miami people find the best excuses to not go to baseball games....(jk..sort of) no but there are legitmate reasons as stated above. If it wasent for the fire sale more people would be loyal, and lets be honest, i'm preaching to the choir here because you all go to games whenever you can and I know i made a trip last year and went to the pro..but miami sports fans as a whole need to start supporting this team, cause if it continues to just be the hardcore fans going to games, this team will be somewhere else before you know it.

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thanks 2003

 

what do you think about accesability of the stadium?? In Miami, everyone has to commute over an hour to get to the stadium whereas in places like Boston, 2/3 of the stadium is filled by people that take a 20 min train ride.

 

I bet that as much as having a retractable roof would help.....the location of the stadium is what matters more and would lead to more of an increase in attendance.

 

 

I've always thought the commute, especially on weeknites is the biggest impediment the Marlins have had in attracting the casual fan. Much more than the weather factor.

 

 

The stadium cant be in everyones backyard. A lot of people go to Dodger games and drive a lot further than anyone is SoFla. ITS THE WEATHER.

 

If there not gonna build a retractable roof stadium then dont BOTHER. :banghead

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The stadium cant be in everyones backyard. A lot of people go to Dodger games and drive a lot further than anyone is SoFla. ITS THE WEATHER.

 

If there not gonna build a retractable roof stadium then dont BOTHER. :banghead

 

 

The Dodgers have also 17 million people to draw from, 4 x the Miami / Ft Lauderdale population, and they also have bridged that "generation" deal being in LA for almost 50 years.

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The stadium cant be in everyones backyard. A lot of people go to Dodger games and drive a lot further than anyone is SoFla. ITS THE WEATHER.

 

If there not gonna build a retractable roof stadium then dont BOTHER. :banghead

 

 

The Dodgers have also 17 million people to draw from, 4 x the Miami / Ft Lauderdale population, and they also have bridged that "generation" deal being in LA for almost 50 years.

 

 

I'll say it again. The stadium can not be in everyone's back yard.

 

Prove that wrong.

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