When you have the worst attendance in all of major league baseball, cost-cutting measures are inevitable.
Typically, general managers and ticketing departments–including executives who pound the phones, and pavement on a daily basis– will come up with unique ways to use the inventory they have and try to sell more tickets through promotions, discounts and gimmickry.
In the case of the Florida Marlins, however, conventional wisdom appears to have blown away with the breeze along South Beach.
In a drastic move to cut costs for the second-half of the 2011 season–and prepare for the move to a new, baseball-only park in Miami for 2012–the Marlins have decided to no longer sell any seats in the second deck at Sun Life Stadium.
In all the time that I have followed the professional game, I have never heard of a franchise making this type of move, and, in essence, admitting that their attendance problem is so bad that they don’t have the desire (or need) to try and fill empty seats.
There are two ways to look at this situation:
1. The Marlins have made a cost-cutting decision to try and save as much money as possible throughout the remainder of the 2011 season to use as operating capital during 2012. The team also claims that having fans closer to the field will make for a more inviting atmosphere.
2. The Marlins are telling Miami–and the baseball community, for that matter–that they have lost the drive to try and promote a failing product.
I’m more inclined to believe the former than the latter.
Baseball just flat out doesn’t work in Florida.
The Marlins and the Rays have had moments of brilliance, and in these moments the stands are packed and the ticket is the hottest in town. However, when either team is struggling, there are just way too many distractions along the coasts to pull potential casual fans away from the ballpark.
Sure, there will always be professional baseball in Florida.
Will these teams always troll the bottom of the attendance numbers and struggle economically?
It’s as sure of a thing as the tides rolling into Key West.