Sports Teams Running out of Fans

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Source: Phillip MacCallum / Getty Images

6. Ottawa Senators
> Avg. home attendance change 2008-2018: -23.2%
> 2008-2009 avg. home game attendance (pct. capacity): 18,949 (105.0%)
> 2008-2009 record: 36-35-11

Ottawa Senators fans had many reasons to be optimistic heading into the 2008-2009 season — the franchise had made the playoffs each of the previous 11 seasons. Nearly 19,000 fans came to watch Senators home games, on average, beyond the capacity of Scotiabank Place, Ottawa’s arena at the time. Despite missing the playoffs that season, Ottawa ranked among the top 10 franchises in terms of average attendance and average capacity filled.

Source: Bruce Bennett / Getty Images

6. Ottawa Senators
> Avg. home attendance change 2008-2018: -23.2%
> 2018-2019 avg. home game attendance (pct. capacity): 14,553 (76.0%)
> 2018-2019 record: 29-47-6

The 2018-2019 season gave Senators fans very little to cheer for. With just 64 points, the team finished dead last in the NHL by a wide margin. The Senators missed the playoffs for a second consecutive season, and attendance has slipped to around 14,500 fans per game. Ottawa’s arena was just 76% full for the average game that season, also dead last in the NHL.

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5. Washington Redskins
> Avg. home attendance change 2008-2018: -31.1%
> 2008 avg. home game attendance (pct. capacity): 88,604 (96.6%)
> 2008 record: 8-8

From 2006 to 2008, the Washington Redskins led all NFL teams in average attendance, with more than 87,000 fans per game. No other team had more than 80,000 attendees per game during those seasons. FedEx Field was regularly packed to and beyond capacity as the team made the playoffs in 2005 and 2007.

Source: Will Vragovic / Getty Images

5. Washington Redskins
> Avg. home attendance change 2008-2018: -31.1%
> 2018 avg. home game attendance (pct. capacity): 61,028 (74.4%)
> 2018 record: 7-9

Washington was the only team that failed to fill at least three-quarters of seats in its stadium in the 2018 season, losing nearly a third of its fans over the past 10 years. The Redskins have not won a playoff game since the 2005 season, and they got blown out in their only three postseason appearances since.

Source: Jonathan Daniel / Getty Images

4. Chicago White Sox
> Avg. home attendance change 2008-2018: -34.9%
> 2008 avg. home game attendance (pct. capacity): 30,877 (76.0%)
> 2008 record: 89-74

In 2008, White Sox fans were riding high. Just a few seasons removed from their first World Series win since 1917, the team was still playing well under manager Ozzie Guillen. That season, the South Siders won the AL Central and drew more than 30,000 fans per game, filling an average of 76% of their stadium, one of the higher rates in the majors.

Source: Julio Aguilar / Getty Images

4. Chicago White Sox
> Avg. home attendance change 2008-2018: -34.9%
> 2018 avg. home game attendance (pct. capacity): 20,110 (50.1%)
> 2018 record: 62-100

Little has gone right for the White Sox since 2008. Chicago has steadily lost fans as the team has not made the postseason since. The White Sox barely filled half of their available seats in 2018 — just over 20,000 fans per game. This is not surprising, as the White Sox had one of their worst seasons ever, losing 100 games for the first time since 1970.