Special Report

Sports Teams Running Out of Fans

11. Oakland Athletics
> Sport:
> 10 year attendance decline: 16.2%
> Avg. home game attendance: 21,829
> Avg. capacity filled: 62.3%

Attendance at Oakland home games dropped 16.2% from an average of 26,038 fans in 2005 to 21,829 in 2015. Like many teams on this list, the Oakland Athletics’ fan attendance declined in tandem with the team’s winning percentage. In 2005, the team finished second in its division with a 54% winning record. In the 10 seasons since, the Athletics managed to top their 2005 winning percentage only three times, finishing 2015 last in the American League with a 42% winning record. Better performance on the field in 2016 may translate better home game attendance. As recently as 2014, the Athletics made it to the playoffs and had their highest average attendance since 2008.

10. Denver Nuggets
> Sport:
> 10 year attendance decline: 16.7%
> Avg. home game attendance: 14,700
> Avg. capacity filled: 76.7%

For 10 straight seasons ending in 2013, the Denver Nuggets managed to make the postseason every single year. At the end of the 2008-2009 season, the team advanced all the way to the conference finals, losing to the L.A. Lakers in six games. In each of the next four years, the team made it to the first round of the playoffs but did not advance. The following two years were major disappointments, with the Nuggets losing far more games than winning. This year, the team is off to a poor start, with a 0.385 win-loss record as of mid-January. Attendance has fallen accordingly. Last year, the team averaged just 14,700 fans in attendance during games at the 19,155 capacity Pepsi Center. In a recent interview, Coach Michael Malone said of the team’s efforts to recover from poor performance and attendance: “It’s up to us. The fans aren’t going to give it to us. We don’t have a home-court advantage.”

9. Seattle Mariners
> Sport:
> 10 year attendance decline: 19.5%
> Avg. home game attendance: 27,081
> Avg. capacity filled: 56.6%

The Seattle Mariners have had some exciting players that drew fans to home games, including Ken Griffey Jr. in the 1990s and Ichiro Suzuki in the 2000s. On the whole, however, the team has for the most part failed to put itself in a position to find success at the highest level. The team made the postseason a total of four times in 39 seasons, and the last time the team played in October was in 2001. Attendance has hurt as result. Compared to 10 years ago, there were over 6,500 fewer fans attending Mariners games at Safeco Field, a decline from 70.4% capacity to just 56.6%.

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