Special Report

Sports Teams Running Out of Fans

14. St. Louis Rams
> Sport:
Football
> 10 year attendance decline: 13.8%
> Avg. home game attendance: 52,402
> Avg. capacity filled: 80.2%

In 1995, the Rams franchise moved from Los Angeles to St. Louis, with the promise of a new domed stadium and a new market. The subsequent two decades have had their ups and downs for the St. Louis Rams. At the end of the 1999 season, the franchise won its first ever Super Bowl behind the arm of quarterback Kurt Warner. That year would mark the first of three seasons of the Greatest Show on Turf, so nicknamed for the dominant Rams offense. However, the Rams have not performed nearly as well since. The team has not made the playoffs in more than a decade. The last time the team won more games during the regular season than it lost was 2003. Attendance for the team has been, expectedly, very poor. According to ESPN, the team barely filled 80% of its seats for an average of just 50,402 fans at home games in 2015, each the worst in the NFL. This season turned out to be the last for the Rams in St. Louis. The franchise jumped at the chance to return to L.A. and NFL owners voted to finalize the move on January 12.

13. San Diego Padres
> Sport:
Baseball
> 10 year attendance decline: 14.3%
> Avg. home game attendance: 30,367
> Avg. capacity filled: 71.1%

Since they entered the MLB in 1969, the San Diego Padres may have been one of the least successful teams in baseball, with the exception of only a handful of seasons. Since their inaugural season, the team’s record has been good enough to make the postseason only five times. The Padres won a grand total of a single playoff game since they were swept by the Yankees in the 1998 World Series. Last year, the team recorded an average attendance of 5,000 fewer fans at home games compared to 2005.

12. Minnesota Timberwolves
> Sport:
Basketball
> 10 year attendance decline: 15.4%
> Avg. home game attendance: 14,528
> Avg. capacity filled: 75.1%

The Minnesota Timberwolves experienced an eight-year playoff streak, culminating in a conference finals loss to the Lakers to end their 2003-2004 season. Outside of those eight years, the franchise has not played basketball in the postseason since it entered the league as an expansion team in 1989. More than a decade of not making the playoffs has taken its toll on the team’s attendance. The team had the second lowest turnout in the NBA last season, with an average attendance of just 14,528 fans. Target Center — the team’s home arena — has a capacity of 19,356. It does not look like the team’s fortunes will change any time soon. As of mid January, the team’s 12-28 record was the fourth worst record in the NBA.

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