One of the St. Louis Cardinals easiest jobs has to be in ticket sales. Since 1998, the Cardinals have drawn more than 3 million fans in every season except 2003 (they fell a little less than 90,000 of hitting the 3 million mark in ’03). But, with all of the frustration I am hearing through email and twitter – I think the attendance for 2011 needs to be addressed.
The Cardinals are drawing about 3,000 fans less a game than they did in 2010. Joe Strohm, Cardinals Vice-President of ticket sales, has said they are still trending to 3.1 in ticket sales. But to get there – the Cardinals are relying on the 4 weekend series remaining and the Willie McGee & Matt Holliday bobblehead nights. And no, there is no truth to the rumor that the Cardinals are adding a moth in the ear of Holliday’s bobblehead.
Yes, the economy is in a bad situation right now…very bad. But that has NEVER stopped the Redbird fans from going to Busch Stadium. Why is this happening?
1. The “newness” factor of Busch Stadium II has run its course. This is a possibility…2011 will be the 4th consecutive year for a decline in attendance since the opening of the new stadium in ’06.
2. Finally fans are sick of insane prices at the concession stand. Yeah…I think $22,450 for a 2 ounce beer is just a bit high too. At least throw in a dog or pretzel for those prices. Hey, at least a soda only costs you $75. Yes, sarcasm…but that is how it feels when you are getting something to drink…especially in these pressing economic times.
3. But…here is the one I am hearing most. Why would I spend my hard earned money to go watch that product on the field? St. Louis loves old time baseball. Hit and run, stolen bases, etc. Do you know who leads the Cardinals in stolen bases? Nope. Guess again. One more try. Here…let me give you the answer…Tyler Greene leads the ST. LOUIS CARDINALS IN STEALS WITH 9! Really…go look it up. Nine – and Greene has 102 at bats. No wonder attendance is down. This is a franchise that has had Lou Brock and Vince Coleman. I didn’t even know it was that bad and I cover the Redbirds daily. If you are going to play boring baseball – you better win – and that has only happened once since the start of the 2007 season.
In conclusion, all of these theories add up to why the Cardinals attendance is dropping. It has been a long time since I have heard this kind of frustration from Cardinals fans. Do you really want to drop $200 on a game with friends or family and know you are going to leave 2 1/2 hours later knowing that you are frustrated?