The Toronto Blue Jays did not see attendance levels as poor as might have been feared and for this, fans should be thanked…big time.
The Toronto Blue Jays are lucky. Their 2019 season has been terrible. The win-loss column provides the most obvious indicator of that. At the time of writing, they have 95 losses with 2 more games to play. We haven’t seen that many losses since 2004 (94) and before that, you have to go all the way back to 1980 when they hit 95 losses after their first three season saw over 100 losses each. Needless to say, this has been a unique season with the front office clearly going all in on a rebuild. If you combine this with the increase in average ticket price, one would think that attendance would drop dramatically. Yet, fans still managed to show their support for a bad team, for which management needs to show show their appreciation.
In looking at attendance across MLB, you might be tempted to think that the Blue Jays are down at the bottom of the league with the likes of the Miami Marlins. High ticket prices to a bad team doesn’t exactly make a recipe for high attendance. But, the reality is that the numbers aren’t as low as you might think. According to ESPN’s list, the Blue Jays sit in 22nd spot with an average of 21,571 fans per game. Their yearly total is 1.704 million.
Consider this: the Tampa Bay Rays just clinched a Wild Card spot and have been very good all season. Their 96 wins (so far) have resulted in an average attendance of 14,734 and a grand total of 1.178 million, which is good for 29th place in MLB. The Oakland A’s also just clinched a Wild Card spot and they sit just behind the Blue Jays with about 1000 fewer per game. As an aside, there is no one in the same boat as the Marlins as they average 10k a game and are at a season total of just over 800k.
It might be easy to dismiss the above comparisons since the Oakland and Tampa Bay markets are notoriously bad for showing their support at the gates. However, these are two playoff teams and, in the case of the Rays, a team that has been very good all year. Yet, the Toronto Blue Jays have enjoyed more support at their doors than they have.
This is a tad surprising considering the rage that the fan base has had to endure with the way the club went about dismantling the so called glory years of 2015 and 2016. Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion, Josh Donaldson, Troy Tulowitzki and Russell Martin are all big name stars that have been cast off with varying degree of drama. Letting franchise icons go and paying stars to pay elsewhere has not been an easy pill to swallow for many fans, causing anger and resentment that one would have thought would show itself in the attendance numbers.
While this whole rebuild thing has been happening (this is the first year of it being in full effect), the attendance has seen a steady decline. 2017 saw an average of 39,554, good for 5th place in all of baseball. 2018 dipped to 27,006 (13th place) and this season has dropped another 5500, give or take. The truth is that, with all the anger and frustration, this club is lucky that it hasn’t dropped off even more.
What has helped is the appearance of Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Bo Bichette, Lourdes Gurriel Jr.and Cavan Biggio. Fans have been treated with glimpses of what this team could be and reminded that good times may not be that far off.
The Blue Jays fan base has not completely died off and the front office should take notice of this. There is still passion for this team, there is still excitement and a buzz is easily attainable. They very well could have turned their collective back. Blue Jays management needs to thank these fans and thank them big. The bets way to do that is give them a winning product. This offseason should be dedicated to just that.
*Featured Image Courtesy Of DaveMe Images. Prints Available For Purchase.
HEAD ON OVER TO THE JAYS FROM THE COUCH VS ALS STORE AND GET SOME GREAT SWAG THAT YOU WILL LOOK GREAT IN AND YOU CAN FEEL GREAT ABOUT.
YOU CAN ALSO HEAD TO OUR JAYS FROM THE COUCH VS ALS FUNDRAISING PAGE TO MAKE A TAX DEDUCTIBLE DONATION DIRECTLY TO ALS CANADA.
THANK YOU FOR VISITING JAYS FROM THE COUCH! CHECK US OUT ON TWITTER @JAYSFROMCOUCH AND LIKE US FACEBOOK. BE SURE TO CATCH THE LATEST FROM JAYS FROM THE COUCH RADIO
Shaun Doyle is a long time Blue Jays fan and writer! He decided to put those things together and create Jays From the Couch. Shaun is the host of Jays From the Couch Radio, which is highly ranked in iTunes, and he has appeared on TV and radio spots.