Special Report

Sports Teams Running Out of Fans

2. Philadelphia Phillies
> Sport:
Baseball
> 10 year attendance decline: 29.5%
> Avg. home game attendance: 23,475
> Avg. capacity filled: 53.8%

The Phillies are one of two professional teams in the City of Brotherly Love that have lost more than a fifth of their fans over the last decade. Faring even worse than the 76ers, attendance at Phillies home games has gone down by nearly 30% over the last 10 years, the second most precipitous drop in professional sports. Home game attendance has not been dropping steadily, however. In fact, total attendance went up every year from 2005 to 2010, reaching a peak of nearly 3.8 million in 2010 after two consecutive World Series appearances. Since then, attendance has dropped each year, bottoming out last season with total home game attendance of only 1.8 million.

1. Detroit Pistons
> Sport:
Basketball
> 10 year attendance decline: 30.8%
> Avg. home game attendance: 15,266
> Avg. capacity filled: 69.2%

No single professional team in the big four sports leagues has had a bigger drop in fan attendance in just 10 years than the Detroit Pistons. During the 2004-2005 season, Detroit was coming off an excellent year culminating in a five-game championship win over the Lakers. The team filled its home arena — The Palace of Auburn Hills — 22,076 capacity every game that season, which was the highest average attendance in the NBA that year. Just 10 years later, the average attendance of a Pistons home game was just 15,266, the fifth lowest average attendance that year among NBA teams and less than 70% of stadium capacity. Only one other team — the abysmal 76ers — had a lower average share of seats filled than Detroit. The attendance drop may be due in part to the team’s current seven-year playoff drought, the longest in the team’s career.

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