Love Park - Philadelphia /wikipedia
Many years ago in the periods of time that the Phillies weren't a good team, you could find a small but supportive crowd gathered at Veterans Stadium no matter what happened with this Phillies team. I emphasize that the crowd was very much smaller.
Yes, there's been talk about how bad the Phillies team has been in the past two seasons, not so much that bad, but certainly a lot worse than we seen them from 2007 to 2010. One of the best periods of time that this team has seen in a long time seems like it's well past now.
What is different now is that the fans are hanging in there. When you're a GM or upper management of a baseball team, that's something that you look at, if there are fans in the seats night after night, they must be doing something right.
The Phillies managed to put just over 3 million fans in the seats last year. That's not a small number. It's a lot smaller that the previous couple years, but a small cry from the days when the Phillies only managed 1.6 million or 1.7 million fans per year during the lean years at Veterans Stadium.
This begs the question, if the Phillies aren't really good anymore, then, is Philadelphia just becoming a city that has fell in love with baseball?
A town that loves baseball a whole lot would be Chicago, and specifically Cubs fans. The Cubs drew 2.6M fans last year, and they have finished dead last in their division for 4 years now. You can only explain that by saying that the town is still supporting the Cubs and probably they really love the game of baseball.
Here's the attendance for the Cubs for the past 10 seasons:
|6||2008||97||64||1||Lost LDS (3-0)||Wrigley Field||3,300,200||$120,345,833|
|7||2007||85||77||1||Lost LDS (3-0)||Wrigley Field||3,252,462||$101,670,332|
That's an impressive fan base in Chicago just looking at the past 10 years of ticket sales, never mind the sky high prices now that the MLB teams are starting to realize from television and other revenue sources.
If we look at a similar chart of Phillies attendance to the games of the last 15 seasons at Veterans Stadium, and all the years attendances at CBP we can see that the support has been increasing especially when the Phillies moved to CBP in 2004:
Here's the last 15 years at Veteran's Stadium
|Rk||Year||Lg||W||L||Finish||Playoffs||Stadium ▾||Attendance||Est. Payroll|
|1||2003||NL East||86||76||3||Veterans Stadium||2,259,948||$70,780,000|
|2||2002||NL East||80||81||3||Veterans Stadium||1,618,467||$57,954,999|
|3||2001||NL East||86||76||2||Veterans Stadium||1,782,054||$41,663,833|
|4||2000||NL East||65||97||5||Veterans Stadium||1,612,769||$47,513,000|
|5||1999||NL East||77||85||3||Veterans Stadium||1,825,337||$31,897,500|
|6||1998||NL East||75||87||3||Veterans Stadium||1,715,722||$36,297,500|
|7||1997||NL East||68||94||5||Veterans Stadium||1,490,638||$36,656,500|
|8||1996||NL East||67||95||5||Veterans Stadium||1,801,677||$34,314,500|
|9||1995||NL East||69||75||2||Veterans Stadium||2,043,598||$30,555,945|
|10||1994||NL East||54||61||4||Veterans Stadium||2,290,971||$31,599,000|
|11||1993||NL East||97||65||1||Lost WS (4-2)||Veterans Stadium||3,137,674||$28,538,334|
|12||1992||NL East||70||92||6||Veterans Stadium||1,927,448||$24,492,834|
|13||1991||NL East||78||84||3||Veterans Stadium||2,050,012||$22,487,332|
|14||1990||NL East||77||85||4||Veterans Stadium||1,992,484||$13,740,167|
|15||1989||NL East||67||95||6||Veterans Stadium||1,861,985||$10,779,000|
Here's a chart of the first 10 seasons at Citizen's Bank Park, yes it's hard to believe but CBP is 10 years old already:
|1||2013||NL East||73||89||4||Citizens Bank Park||3,012,403||$150,860,000|
|2||2012||NL East||81||81||3||Citizens Bank Park||3,565,718||$171,501,558|
|3||2011||NL East||102||60||1||Lost LDS (3-2)||Citizens Bank Park||3,680,718||$172,976,379|
|4||2010||NL East||97||65||1||Lost NLCS (4-2)||Citizens Bank Park||3,777,322||$141,928,379|
|5||2009||NL East||93||69||1||Lost WS (4-2)||Citizens Bank Park||3,600,693||$115,479,046|
|6||2008||NL East||92||70||1||Won WS (4-1)||Citizens Bank Park||3,422,583||$97,879,880|
|7||2007||NL East||89||73||1||Lost LDS (3-0)||Citizens Bank Park||3,108,325||$89,428,213|
|8||2006||NL East||85||77||2||Citizens Bank Park||2,701,815||$88,273,333|
|9||2005||NL East||88||74||2||Citizens Bank Park||2,665,304||$95,522,000|
|10||2004||NL East||86||76||2||Citizens Bank Park||3,250,092||$93,219,167|