Attendance at Grapefruit League games at Florida spring-training facilities was slightly higher in 2011 than in 2010, but overall attendance been a little down since record numbers were set in the middle of this decade.
A total of 1,571,196 fans attended Florida spring-training games this past spring. That’s higher than last year’s tally of 1,427,627 fans, but less than any year in the the 2005-2008 time span. We’re not quite sure there’s a single reason why attendance is slightly down these days, though the recession surely plays a role: while the locals still turn out in force, we may have fewer fans traveling from afar.
As you’d expect, the Red Sox were the biggest draw in spring training — not so much in City of Palms Park, but rather on the road, as eight teams notched their biggest crowds of the year with the Red Sox in town. (Curiously, the largest crowds for Minnesota and Tampa Bay were not fueled by the Red Sox in town.) Attendance on the Treasure Coast tended to lag attendance on the Gulf Coast, even though there are some solid draws (Cards and Mets) on the Treasure Coast. The Yankees attracted the most fans, followed by Philadelphia, Atlanta and Minnesota. The Baltimore Orioles registered a 12 percent increase in attendance, thanks in large part to a renovated Ed Smith Stadium, and set a team record for spring-training attendance. (Also setting spring-attendance records: the Twins, the Pirates and the Astros.)
The numbers come from the Florida Sports Foundation, based on daily box scores and confirmed by each of the 15 teams. These numbers cover only games played in Florida, as opposed to the official MLB spring-training numbers, which can include exhibitions played at a team’s home ballpark (for instance, Atlanta hosted two games against the Twins in Turner Field; these games count in the MLB numbers but not in the Florida numbers).
|Atlanta||137,236||8,073||11,236 (Red Sox)|
|Detroit||119,516||7,030||10,307 (Red Sox)|
|Florida||70,450||4,403||7,648 (Red Sox)|
|NY Mets||87,413||5,462||7,413 (Red Sox)|
|NY Yankees||163,085||10,872||11,325 (Red Sox)|
|Philadelphia||153,286||9,580||10,912 (Red Sox)|
|St. Louis||92,652||6,177||7,983 (Red Sox)|
|Tampa Bay||95,859*||7,786||7,786 (Yankees)|
|Toronto||68,195||4,546||5,559 (three games)|
|*includes Tropicana Field game|
RELATED STORIES: Parsing the spring-training attendance numbers
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