“Baseball is dying” has been uttered millions of times over the course of the last decade. The Phillies and a half-empty Citizens Bank Park supported this hypothesis for a stretch of time.
This phrase has been the furthest thing from the truth and despite growing television numbers, it hasn’t been until this season that people have recognized the game is still strong.
There has been a boom in baseball this season and it hasn’t just been in people sitting in front of their TV. Fans are back in ballparks, and attendance is the highest in years.
New Rules = More Phillies Fans?
It is hard to argue that the new rules in Major League Baseball have brought in more eyes this season.
Games are shorter, there are more actions, and more teams are in contention for the playoffs than in years past.
Fans have enjoyed the overall changes that have been made to baseball. Even those like myself who did not want the game messed with, have come around on some of the newer additions (or subtractions depending on how you look at it).
Philly is a Baseball Town
Anyone who was around from 2007-2011 knows how passionate Philadelphia is about their beloved Phillies. This town will embrace the Phillies when they are playing well, and fans are starting to return to Citizens Bank Park.
Thanks to the magical run of 2022, and the acquisition of big names like Bryce Harper, Trea Turner, and Kyle Schwarber in recent off-seasons, the Phillies have seen their attendance increase dramatically.
The club currently ranks 6th in average attendance this season, with roughly 39,074 people showing up for any given home game.
Citizens Bank Park can only seat 42,901 people, so that is a 91% sellout rate for the club.
The fans that are showing up to CBP aren’t just coming to enjoy a game. These fans are coming to leave their mark on the game, which is a staple of Philly sports.
After a struggling start to his Phillies’ tenure, Phils’ fans rallied behind former All-Star Trea Turner by giving him a standing ovation. Since that moment, Turner is hitting over .400 in his last 10 games, with 2 home runs and 8 extra-base hits.
In his first start at home as a Phillie, Michael Lorenzen tossed a no-hitter. During his post-game interview, he mentioned how the fans energized him late in the game, which gave him the juice he needed to make history.
Phillies owner John Middleton has invested a lot of money in his club and organization. Middleton’s commitment to success and winning has attracted fans back to the ballpark. The fans have rewarded his investment by making their own.
Whether it’s coming to a game, buying a shirt and hat from the team store, or getting a hot dog and souvenir cup, fans are happier to spend money when the product on the field warrants it.
This is a simple recipe and organizations (looking at you Oakland) who fail to try and build the best team possible, lose out on fans who want to show their love.
It is amazing to see so many people back at Citizens Bank Park. The playoff run was a feeling that I will never forget. Celebrating the Phillies win the NL Pennant with 42,900 of my closest friends will be a memory I cherish forever.
If the Phillies keep winning, the fans will keep coming, and I expect more magic to happen once the Phillies make it to the post-season in 2023.
Photo By: Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire