The 2013 Washington Nationals are winding up the home portion of their schedule, and before the Miami Marlins game is over on Sunday, they will break the 2.5-million mark in attendance this season. The Nationals are playing the best baseball of the year at the most important time, and that is very important for the continued growth of the fan base.
They are playing meaningful baseball in September and are still in the conversation for a possible Wild Card spot. That is really all that the fans ask of their team. They want them to be competitive each year with a chance to win the NL East and perhaps the World Series. While the 2013 Nationals did not live up to expectations, the most encouraging sign for 2014 is that the fans came out and supported them.
That is the kind of bond that is needed for growing fan base and a team worthy of their support. Through 81 home dates last season when the Nationals won 98 games overall and the NL East, they drew just a little under 2.4 million fans. It is normal that there is a bit of an increase in attendance after a good season, but if the team that made playoffs the prior year is not in contention by the All-Star break, then you see a decrease.
The 2013 Nationals, however, saw an actual increase in attendance, which means they have connected to their fan base in a way that sets the team for more growth as expectations for a better 2014 season will be fresh in the minds of Nationals fans.
This year, the Nationals will finish the season with an average per game attendance of around 33,000. That means the team is filling about 79 percent of the nearly 41,000 seats in Nationals Park. That is good enough for sixth place in the National League and 11th-best in all of baseball.
So as the 2013 season draws to a close, things are looking bright long-term for the Nationals, who now are developing, and more importantly increasing their fan base.