With an improved product on the field comes better attendance and television ratings. The Indians completed the 2010 season with a 69-93 record and improved to 80-82 for the 2011 season. The Indians saw a modest jump in attendance in the 2011 season and had a phenomenal increase in their television ratings.
The Indians drew 1,840,835 in 2011; they were 24th in attendance in the Major Leagues and drew 52% percent of their potential capacity. (Philadelphia was first with 3,680,718 and Oakland was last with 1,476,792). In 2010 the Indians finished last in attendance in the Majors with 1,394,812 (40.2% of potential capacity); the Yankees were first with 3,765,807. So their improved performance in 2011 translated into an additional 446,023 fans in attendance, or an increase of roughly 32%.
There are a number of reasons that fans may not attend an Indians game. Primarily, if the team is doing poorly, people may not want to spend their money to see them in person. In a down economy, it’s possible that many people simply do not have the money to bring their family to a baseball game, regardless of team performance.
Finances are typically not an issue when it comes to watching your favorite team on television (as long as you have a TV and a cable/satellite provider). The Indians saw an incredible jump in their television ratings between the 2010 and 2011 seasons. In 2010, an average of 46,000 households tuned in to watch an Indians game; in 2011 that number jumped to 96,000 – a 108.9% jump. In fact, even though the Philadelphia Phillies had the best ratings of every Major League team (9.1 ratings share) and the Yankees were viewed by the most households (319,000), the Indians led the Majors in the greatest viewership increase. If you check out the linked article, it lists the top 5 and bottom 5 in each category. The Indians finished with a 6.31 share, and while they don’t list teams in between the top and bottom groups, the figure may be high enough to put the team in the top 10 as far as ratings share goes.
Hopefully the Indians will see steady increases in these numbers next year. Not just because I want to see them draw more fans and viewers, but because it likely means that there’s a winning team on the field!