It would be hard for Orioles fans to not notice that the nearby seats at Camden Yards have become more and more vacant over the past decade. But according to a study from 247wallstreet.com, it might be worse than you think.
Michael B. Sauter crunched attendance numbers for each team in the four major American professional sports leagues, and the Orioles are high on a list of a dozen teams that have lost the most fans since 2001.
Using attendance records provided by ESPN, Sauter determined that attendance at Camden Yards has dropped 44 percent in the past decade. Only the Cleveland Indians (56.1) have experienced a bigger drop.
“Baltimore’s golden years were arguably during the Cal Ripken Jr. era of the 90’s,” Sauter wrote. “The team was competitive nearly every year, and had the best record in the American League in 1997. After Ripken retired, the team’s talent -- and most of its fan base -- began to wane. The team is in a division with three of the best teams in the American League (the Yankees, the Red Sox, and the Rays) and the odds are stacked against it gaining a playoff berth.
"The team has not made the playoffs since 1997. In 2001, the annual stadium attendance in Baltimore was just over 3 million. Today, it is 1.74 million.”
Five MLB teams had the top five spots on the list, with the Seattle Mariners, Pittsburgh Pirates and Oakland Athletics coming in behind the Indians and the Orioles. The Detroit Lions (NFL) were sixth, followed by the Arizona Diamondbacks (MLB), Philadelphia 76ers (NBA), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (NFL), Indiana Pacers (NBA), Columbus Blue Jackets (NHL) and Oakland Raiders (NFL).
*** Blogger's note: I've corrected Sauter's quote. He had said the Orioles had the best record in the AL in 1998, but he meant 1997. Thanks to the readers who pointed it out in the comments section.