The good news? You shouldn’t have any problem getting tickets to a Philadelphia Phillies game this summer.
The bad news? You then have to watch the Phillies play
The early attendance numbers are in for the Phillies and they are not good. After an Opening Day that saw 45,549 fans show up to watch the Phillies play the Boston Red Sox, the crowds have seemingly disappeared. After seven home games, the Phillies are averaging just 27,186 fans per game, a far cry from when the team averaged 46,634 in 2010, or even the 37,190 they averaged in 2013.
The bottom line? This season could see the worst attendance numbers for the Phillies since Citizens Bank Park opened in 2004.
Why the Phillies attendance numbers are down is easy to understand. The team is in the beginnings of a rebuild that doesn’t seem to have a plan or a timetable and, to be blunt, the current roster is pretty awful to watch. The last two games against the Florida Marlins is a clear example of that. After winning the opening game of the series 7-3, they dropped the next two by a combined score of 15-2 and committed five errors.
Not exactly the kind of baseball you want to spend money to sit and watch.
Regardless, a decline this steep is surprising nonetheless. No, the Phillies aren’t in the same league as the Flyers or the Eagles, who would sell out even if they suited up my grandmother and her friends and put them on the field. But I would have thought that Phillies fans were a bit more faithful than this, especially the younger ones who only know the team as winners.
Instead, most night you would almost think you were at a Sixers game.
So why did the newest crop of Phillies faithful turn into a bunch of fair-weather fans? It’s tough to say. It could be the apparent lack of direction and focus the team has right now, which is resulting in the losses piling up and some really terrible baseball. It could also just be the fact that once the team used the word “rebuild”, it scared many of the newer fans away who never had to deal with something like this before.
Of course, fans have been spoiled the last few years and this is the first time many of the newer generation of Phillies faithful have had to deal with losing seasons and no playoffs. The older crowd, the ones who were there for the truly lean years in the 90’s, they get it. They remember watching the Phillies play in a half-empty Veterans Stadium. They remember when the best chance the Phillies had to get a win was if the other team’s plane was grounded on route to Philadelphia. They will never stop going to games because they’ve seen how bad it can really get and this? This is nothing.
Unfortunately, it seems there are fewer and fewer of them around these days.
Will the fans return once the team has a plan and starts to win again? Hopefully. Because the sight of an empty Citizens Bank Park on a beautiful summer night is not something any Philadelphian wants to see.