Empty Seats at Camden Yards Have Everyone Scratching Their Heads

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Maybe it's the lack of pies.
Maybe it’s the lack of pies.

Three weeks after ESPN’s Eddie Matz called Camden Yards’ low attendance numbers “borderline shocking,” the Orioles are still struggling to get fans in the seats – even as they fight for the postseason – and no one can quite figure out why.

It’s not that there is a lack of possible causes. The Baltimore Sun’s Peter Schmuck enumerated several in his recent story on the problem: Ticket prices have gone up; this summer’s been hot; a winning O’s team is not as exciting as it once was; fans are less inclined to go downtown after the unrest last April.

But no one theory is perfect. For example, the Baltimore Zoo and the city’s many conventions haven’t seen the same downturn in attendance, so it’s hard to pin it on a reluctance to go downtown. (Though perhaps baseball’s evening-heavy schedule makes a difference there.) Ticket prices have increased lately, but they’re still less expensive than the major league average. And if fans were less excited in general after a few winning seasons in a row, you’d think television ratings would sink along with attendance, but they haven’t.

So, uh, what’s the story, people?

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  1. Some thoughts …
    – The early school schedule killed any chance at getting families to come out in the early part of September. Have you noticed how cheesy the giveaways are this year?
    – I hate to blame it on this, but compared to other teams around the league, our stuff is pretty trashy. (e.g. the Oriole socks, the hat with the Maryland flag on the brim, or the sweatshirt during the final weekend). In comparison, the Orioles Hawaiian shirt giveaway (God only knows why someone has not started selling these) was so popular that you still see people wearing them all over the country. They go for $75 – $100 on eBay! The NFL licensed their version and sold them for years.
    – Seems to me that Camden Yards used to fill up with tickets sold to Yankee and Red Sox fans. What happened to those folks?
    – The Nationals are sucking up some of the attendance since they are really kicking a*s.
    – The Tuesday night discounts seem to have dried up?

    Maybe the reality of all this is that if we sign players to long, gargantuan contracts then the reality is that the money has to come from somewhere.

  2. Pretty simple.
    Those in the past that had the time and money have decided the experience is not worth the value.
    Proof you may ask.
    People will buys tickets for give away nights and walk in, pick up give away and walk out.

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