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Dave Cameron: Big Ticket Signings Don't Drive Attendance


SrMeowMeow

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Cameron, in his role as one of the last bastions of original thought at Fangraphs, fires a shot across the bow of one of the pet big-spending rationalizations.

Some quotes:

The Reds saw a 25 percent attendance boost the year after they acquired Ken Griffey Jr, the most recognizable player on the planet at the time he was traded from Seattle. However, one year later, they saw a 27 percent decrease, as the novelty aspect wore off and fans realized that they simply did not want to pay to watch Griffey play on a losing team. Attendance continued to hover at pre-Griffey levels until the Reds new ballpark opened, which created an attendance surge of similar proportions to acquiring Griffey.
By the end of [Alex Rodriguez's] stay with the Rangers, the team had actually seen a net loss of 494,000 fans compared to their final year prior to signing him. Having not realized any real financial gain from having Rodriguez on the roster, the Rangers gave up on the idea of keeping him in Texas and shipped him to New York for Alfonso Soriano and some salary relief. They cut payroll, re-built the roster, and managed to turn a 71-win team from 2003 into an 89-win team in 2004. And, in perhaps the greatest demonstration of what actually causes fans to decide to go to the ballpark, the Rangers saw an attendance spike of 419,291 fans.

Winning. It's about winning. Not about flashy signings or big names or tumbling clowns every half inning.

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I have made this point at least 100 times in the last 10 years. In fact, I cited the ARod example about a week ago.

Win games, and the fans will come. Stars on losing teams don't bring many fans at all.

I wonder if deep down, Peter Angelos knows this.

Probably not...he's too busy filing lawsuits to hold up development at the Superblock downtown.

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Cameron, in his role as one of the last bastions of original thought at Fangraphs, fires a shot across the bow of one of the pet big-spending rationalizations.

Some quotes:

Winning. It's about winning. Not about flashy signings or big names or tumbling clowns every half inning.

Obviously Dave Cameron needs to get his head out of a spreadsheet and watch some baseball. The Yankees have stars at every position and get 4M fans a season. Case closed.

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How do you define stars? Who do the Rays have thats a star, aside from perhaps Longoria?

Guys who win games. They win because of pitching. Not say Garza and Shields are "stars", but put them out on the market and they will get nice contracts. Their players may not necessarily be labeled as stars right now, but it won't be long before a number of these guys are just that.

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The Rays also struggle with attendance. Have to wonder how many fans they would draw if they were achieving the same on-field results with more brand-name players.

Tampa is in a pretty ridiculous situation' date=' between playing in a terrible stadium in a bad location and taking eleven seasons to build a team even to a .500 record. Only the Mariners took longer (fifteen years), and they had some similar issues with a bad stadium and terrible attendance (compare the two).

The only reason Seattle isn't playing in, well, Tampa right now is because they changed owners and found someone willing to keep the team in town and spend money to keep players and improve the team, and eventually push a new stadium through. We know that the present Rays owners are smart men who can compete with a small payroll, but we don't know if they can spend enough to add pieces and figure out the stadium situation.

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