The Washington Nationals will set an all-time single season attendance mark for the franchise this Sunday as they finish their 2013 home season against the Miami Marlins. By the time the first pitch is thrown by Dan Haren on Sunday, over 2.6 million fans will have seen Washington play this season at Nationals Park.
The old record was set last year when over 2,370,794 watched baseball on the Southeast Waterfront in the District of Columbia.
The new record at Nationals Park shows the trend that fans interest in Nationals has grown each of the last three years, and the trend is moving in the same direction for 2014. Winning never hurts in selling tickets, and neither does having some of the most marketable superstars in baseball.
It should come as no surprise that Bryce Harper has the sixth-most popular selling jersey in all of baseball. More than 250,000 Stephen Strasburg jerseys have been sold nationwide since he entered the league in 2010.
Another factor in attendance is television and radio ratings as they help get fans excited enough to get out to Nationals Park. The Mid-Atlantic Sports Network (MASN) their regional sports network TV home has seen yet another boost in the ratings. While all of the 2013 numbers are not yet in, there is continued growth for the third straight season on MASN. Over on the radio side, 106.7 FM The Fan DC is also showing rating increases.
The Nationals are actually getting solid support at the same time that they are in direct competition with the NFL, as Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins are now sharing the airwaves and the front pages of the sports sections with the Nationals.
So Sunday afternoon, over 30,000 fans will go to Nationals Park for the final home game of the season against the Marlins. Meanwhile, about 10 miles away in Landover, Maryland, over 80,000 fans will be on hand to see Washington face the Detroit Lions.
Don’t get me wrong, Washington is still clearly a football town first, but the Nationals are now a solid second and that is not bad.