Team Performance, Attendance and Risk for Major League Baseball Stadiums: 1970-1994

By William N Kinnard, Jr.; Geckler, Mary Beth et al. | Real Estate Issues, April 1997 | Go to article overview
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Team Performance, Attendance and Risk for Major League Baseball Stadiums: 1970-1994


William N Kinnard, Jr., Geckler, Mary Beth, DeLottie, Jake W, Real Estate Issues


The market value of a major league baseball (MLB) stadium is, to a large extent, a function of attendance levels1 at MLB team games. Attendance levels determine revenue from ticket sales (and stadium rentals), concession (food and souvenir) and parking.2 What are the identifiable influences on home game attendance for a MLB stadium or team? In an effort to provide supportable answers to this question, we analyzed available published data on average attendance for all MLB stadiums and teams for the period 1970-1994.3 Activities Undertaken By RECGC Sources of Data

With assistance from Research Associates of Virginia, data were assembled on attendance figures, stadium capacity and won-lost records during the regular season (also called "winning percentage" or WINPCT) for all teams in major league baseball. These data were obtained from published sources for 1970 through 1994. We considered this 25-year span adequate to reflect long-term trends as well as cyclical variations over time. Data Gathered

We first organized our information by league (American and National), and then by team, for each year. A data file for each team was developed that included the following information: Team name League

Year franchise began (if after 1970)

Average attendance per home date per year (excludes post-season) Won-Lost record ("Winning Percentage") Games behind league or division champion at end of season Won league or World Series previous year Capacity of stadium (each year) Date of new stadium (if any) Capacity of new stadium

(if applicable) Dome stadium (Yes-No)

Strike Year (Yes-No)

Games missed (if strike year)

Year (for all annual data) Five teams began franchise operations after 1970: Texas Rangers (1972); Seattle Mariners (1977); Toronto Blue Jays (1977); Colorado Rockies (1993); and Florida Marlins (1993). In addition, there were seven new American League stadiums and two new National League stadiums occupied during the period covered in the analysis (see Exhibit 1). In addition, capacity of the California Angels stadium was increased in 1981 to accommodate National Football League specifications. The New York Yankees played home games at Shea Stadium in 1974 and 1975 while Yankee Stadium was being renovated and its capacity reduced.

We calculated Winning Percentages by dividing games won by total games played each season. The Attendance Percentage was calculated by dividing average attendance per game for each season by the stadium's official seating capacity occupied during that season. In the case of the Toronto Blue Jays, who occupied the SkyDome in June 1989, a weighted average percentage was calculated, because games were played in two different stadiums during the 1989 season. Tabulations, Graphs And Models Produced After the foregoing information and calculations were assembled, the occurrence and duration of MLB work stoppages (strikes and lockouts) were tabulated, as shown in Exhibit 2.

The Winning Percentage (WINPCT) and Attendance Percentage (ATTPCT) figures for each team were calculated by year. The American League figures are presented in Exhibit 3; the National League figures are in Exhibit 4. From these figures each team's average Winning Percentage and average Attendance Percentage were calculated for the entire 25-year study period. The Winning Percentage and Attendance Percentage averages also were calculated for 1989-1994 for all 26 teams (a two-year average for the Colorado Rockies and Florida Marlins).

Each of the teams was then ranked by average Won-Lost percentage and by average Attendance Percentage for the two time periods: 1970-1994 and 1989-1994. Those results are presented in Exhibit 5. We plotted the relationships between average Winning Percentage and average Attendance Percentage figures, over the entire 25-year study period, on separate graphs for each team. Eight of those graphs are presented as Exhibit 6.

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