David Butler II/USA Today Sports

Red Sox attendance down compared to last year

Alex Reimer
April 16, 2018 - 2:00 pm

The weather this April has been terrible. By my unofficial count, only two of the Red Sox’ eight homes games have been played in acceptable baseball weather –– meaning you didn’t have to bundle up with a parka, gloves and scarf to sit outside for a few hours. 

Unsurprisingly, these dreadful January-like conditions have seemingly hampered attendance. The Red Sox are averaging roughly 2,500 fewer fans per game this season compared to 2017, per Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan. Two weeks ago, Red Sox president Sam Kennedy said ticket sales are down around six percent

Other teams in the East Coast and Midwest are experiencing significant attendance declines, too. According to Passan, the Cubs and Cardinals have seen their attendance drop by nearly 5,000. The Indians’ average crowd has dipped more than 5,000, the Rangers’ more than 7,000 and the Pirates’ more than 7,500. The Blue Jays, Tigers and Royals are hovering near 8,000, with the Marlins checking in at 10,000. Baltimore is averaging almost 16,000 fewer, which is staggering.

The putrid weather isn’t the only factor that could be negatively impacting attendance. Several teams opted to abstain from free agency this offseason and tank in pursuit of a high draft pick next year. That means there’s lots of bad baseball being played, and fewer teams worth making a trip to see. 

But with the Red Sox starting 13-2, it seems as if their problems are largely weather-related. Sunday’s contest against the Orioles, for example, featured the lowest game-time temperature at Fenway Park since April 17, 2003. The official crowd was announced at 32,849, but that seems generous. 

Baseball is a parochial game, so these numbers are probably causing some angst in the commissioner’s office. The silver lining is that the weather should get better –– or at least we think. In 2007, the last time the league endured this many postponements in April, attendance eventually leaped to the largest figure ever.

MLB, and the Red Sox, are surely hoping history repeats itself. Because if not, the sport has bigger problems than some gloomy weather. Frigid temperatures are temporary. Teams that are too bad to draw is a season-long issue. 

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