Few fanbases in the entire world of professional sports are impervious to losing. How a city supports their team in terms of tickets sales and television ratings correlates almost directly with where the team is in the standings. There are very few exceptions.
So, naturally, after missing the playoffs for two straight seasons, the Phillies are seeing a drop in season ticket sales. Here is what John Weber, Phillies VP of sales and ticket operations, told the Philadelphia Inquirer:
“Our sales numbers are down,” said John Weber, the Phillies’ vice president of sales and ticket operations. “Last year, we had about 24,000 season-ticket holders. We are going to have between 18 [thousand] and 19,000 this year, which still ranks us in the top of baseball. It is a very solid number, but not where we have been.”
From 2010 through 2012, the Phillies dominated in the attendance category. They led the majors in average home attendance in 2011 and 2012, and ranked second in 2010. Each of those years saw them average at least 44,000 patrons per night. That's impressive.
But last year, as they posted their first losing record since 2002, many fans stopped showing up. The Phillies dipped to eighth in the majors at just over 37,000 fans per game. That's still a solid number, but a loss of about 7,000 people a night.
Losing another 5,000 season ticket holders, as Weber says, would knock the Phillies down near the middle of the league in average attendance. That's still better than a lot of teams, even some who are good, but it will be noticeable.
Citizens Bank Park is known for having one of the best atmospheres in baseball, and for providing a distinct home advantage. That may no longer be the case.