Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Wizards attendence

The number of people who attend Wizards games will be absolutely critical to the success or failure of The Harrison Square Project.

I have heard estimates that there are 150,000 fans each year. I have also heard estimates that are closer to 250,000 or even 300,000.

This is a BIG spread.

Does anyone know how many Wizards fans actually attended Wizards games in 2006 and actually sat in their seat during the game?

If possible please tell us where you got your numbers from.

Does anyone know how many attendees Fort Wayne is projecting each year?

Mike Sylvester


Kevin Knuth said...

In 1993 they had 318,000 I believe. That was the highest attendance.

I think you could get the numbers from the Coliseum. They have to share that info under the Freedom of Information act.

Scott Greider said...

Whatever number it's been, you can add to it 420 (our family's six season tickets x 70 games). Can't wait! ;-)

Tim Zank said...

Kevin, why don't you glance at your speed dial and give mike the number for the Freedom of Information Act?

Just couldn't resist!

Frederick said...

Wouldn't Randy Brown know what the recent numbers are?

Kevin Knuth said...


Funny! I will give you that.

Anonymous said...

Five dollars says the poster above not only does not buy six season tickets, but goes to less than 5 games the first full year the stadium is downtown.

brian said...

I'll gladly take your bet anonymous.

LP Mike Sylvester said...


Who do you think I should contact at the Colisuem? I would rather not do it with an FIA...


I have no doubt after meeting you in person that your family will buy six season tickets and that you will loyally support the new stadium...


I would think Randy Brown would be able to make a very accurate guess. I have now heard from two different sources that wish to remain anonymous that supposedly Randy Brown thinks that there are about 150,000 people who actually attend Wizards games each year.

I think I am going to contact Randy Brown and see if he will talk to me about it.


I find it interesting that you are disbeleiving Scott Greider's post. I have met Scott and I have NO DOUBT that his claim is true... If Scott says he is buying six season tickets then Scott is buying six season tickets...

Scott and I disagree on this project; however, I certainly take him at his word...

In fact, Scott will be taking my entire family (On his dime) to a Wizards game downtown because he is going to lose a bet he and I have about how much public money is going to be used on the parking garage...


I would bet on Scott as well... Heck I would give odds...

Mike Sylvester

Robert Enders said...

If for some reason the downtown stadium is not built, would you still buy those season tickets?

scott said...

I don't see where you're going with your latest venture, Mike.

Do you think you'll be able to point to the attendance numbers of a $6M rush-job concrete block in the middle of a parking lot as the basis for future attendance at a $30M ballpark that has fan experience built into its design as a top priority?

I immediately thought of San Francisco in thinking about how a facility affects attendance.

Up until 2000, the Giants played in Candlestick/3Com Park. For the last 7 years that it was used for baseball, the facility averaged 22,330 fans per game.

Starting in 2000, the Giants have been playing in PacBell/AT&T Park. For the first 7 years (2000-2006, inclusive), the average attendance was 40,065 fans.

The Giants increased their average attendance by 44% by moving from a parking-lot surrounded facility to a downtown ballpark with a vastly improved fan experience.

Like you said in another post, "It all depends on the setting partner..."

Anonymous said...

Again Scott,

You cannot make attendance comparisons betweeen a MLB stadium and a lower single A team. Fan psychology is not the same.

Also, do some research on what is known as the "honeymoon effect." It predicts that attendance will surge in year one, be just above normal in year two, and slide back to normal thereafter.

scott said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
scott said...


I know about the honeymoon effect, yet it doesn't hold true in San Fran.

First 5 years of attendance at new San Fran ballpark:

2000 - 40,973
2001 - 40,877
2002 - 40,163
2003 - 40,307
2004 - 40,232

It has yet to "slide back" to the 22K seen at Candlestick.

Scott Greider said...

@Mike: Thanks for defending me. I was feeling a little maligned by Anonymous.

@Anonymous: I guess you have a point, though. No, our family won't be going to every single home game. But we do plan on going to as many as possible, and then giving the tickets to others for other nights. So maybe some of those seventy will not be attended. Fair enough.

@Robert: We're planning to buy tickets and attend games not because we're rabid baseball fans. But rather because when the games take place downtown they can be experienced and enjoyed along side other civic things like socializing, walking, sightseeing, dining, drinking, relaxing, encouraging, dreaming, etc. Some of those things can happen in a parking lot out on Coliseum Blvd., but not many. So no, we wouldn't buy season tickets for Memorial Coliseum. Maybe a few games at most.

As has been stated so well by Hardball and the guys at DFWB, HS is not primarily about baseball. Rather, baseball as a means to the end of social interaction and civic participation. If I can go even further, as a means to help reverse the stunning fragmentation that has progressively plagued America, the effect of which is all sorts of social ills. Yea, attending a Wizards game downtown at the new HS will help make America a better place!

scott said...

Alright, today's not a math day for me. The Giants increased their attendance by more than 44%, so I'll put it this way, "they almost doubled their average attendance per game" :)

Jeff Pruitt said...

I don't know about current attendance but I know that Hardball Capital and city officials are using the 300K number for their projected attendance when they speak in public.

Note that this would be the 2nd highest attendance figure ever for the Wizards. I have a hard time believing they can sustain that even if it is in a downtown stadium.

I would hope they could show that this project will work even if they only have the MEDIAN attendance over the last 10 years. Then if the 300K number becomes reality it will be that much better.

In general, a business plan should utilize slightly pessimistic revenue numbers as a basis for the project...

Jon J. Olinger said...

Problem is that is 300 people that show up 1000 times...

Angry White Boy said...


I blogged that back in February (see here). The Fort Wayne Wizard’s were ranked 70th out of 176 minor league baseball teams in 2006 with only 3841 fans attending on average per game.

More stats here:

Angry White Boy said...

Assuming 70 home games that's only 268,870. Nothing like rounding up eh? Aw then again being off by 31,130 people when most of their numbers don't add up shouldn't surprise anyone, now should it?

scott said...


No offense, but your number is crap. You're going to put Fort Wayne in the same category as AA and AAA teams with higher population bases to draw from? Give me break. Fort Wayne was 4th in attendance in the Midwest League in 2006.

Opponents try to cling to the idea that the Wizards aren't popular, but how about this number?
6: Number of consecutive seasons in which Fort Wayne's attendance has increased

Or this one:
7: Fort Wayne's rank in Street & Smith Sports Business Journal's rating of 230 Minor League markets in the country

LP Mike Sylvester said...


I will grant you that comparing Memorial Stadium to a Downtown stadium may not yield the exact number of fans who will use a Downtown Stadium!

Attendence in a Downtown Stadium could be either higher or lower then at Memorial stadium. I think everyone reading this blog understands that.

I want to know how many fans actually attended in 2006. I want to know the total number of fans who attended the game not those who were given free tickets and did not go to the game...

I want to establish how many fans attended in 2006 and I want to know what growth or shrinkage rate Fort Wayne is projecting...

This one of the first things that Fort Wayne will have to establish to come up with financial projections...

That way we can use these projections (along with others) to judge the success or failure of the project if it is consumated...

Simple questions Scott. Questions that I am sure the City dealth with in December... The answer just has not been released to the public yet...

Mike Sylvester

Anonymous said...

The Wizards are seen as one of the best Minor League Franchises.

I'm so glad the Libertarians don't run this city. We'd be stuck in the days when I was Mayor.

Mayor Harry Baals

Park or Die said...

Why is no one talking about the parking situation downtown?

brian said...

What parking situation? You think it is a problem?

Jeff Pruitt said...


As of now, the city and Hardball Capital are projecting attendance at 300K. They used this number several times at the YLNI panel discussion and I remember it well because it was the first time I had heard of ANY projections from the city...

Doug H. Sec, Lib Pty AC said...

To All,

Let me preface this comment by saying that I do not have a degree in either Marketing or Mass Psychology.

That said I think it is reasonable to determine the following statistics and see how they would be factored in.

Question: Of the approximately 3,900 attendees at each Wizards game HOW MANY are in control of their own pocketbook?

In simple terms "how many are children?"

The reason I ask this is because I think it needs to be pointed out that there will NOT be 3,900 cars paying for parking. There will NOT be 3,900 adults looking for something to do after the game who are willing to spend their own money.

This has to impact the project somehow.

However, neither the success or failure of this stadium (should it be built) will override my disillusionment with it for the following reasons:

#1) Eminent Domain was grossly abused to acquire the property, ripping it away from Belmont to give to another private company, and;

#2) Public money is being risked with NO indemnification to the hard working taxpayers should the project not pan out as hoped for;

#3) We are already spending half a billion dollars on schools(NOT counting interest), we need hundreds of millions for our sewers, and we owe at LEAST $200 million to the police and fire pension fund.

The backs of taxpayers in Fort Wayne cannot take this level of irresponsible spending.

IF this were 100% private money that bought the property without abusing Eminent Domain and 100% private money that invested in the project I would back it 100%.

Because then I WOULDN'T have a say, it wouldn't be our money.


Doug Horner

LP Mike Sylvester said...

Downtown Parking:

I think the Downtown parking situation is interesting.

When I go Downtown I generally park in the City-County parking garage and walk where I need to go because that way I do not have to worry about my parking meter running out of time.

I personally think there is plenty of parking downtown. I have lived a lot of places and I think we most likely have too much surface parking downtown. I think we need more buildings and fewer parking lots.

I actually like to walk. I really dislike the idea of building a public parking garage. I do not think we need one.

If a motel wants to build a parking garage they should build one with with their own money.

I think that our parking could be improved downtown; however, it is not a major problem.

I think that all of the one hour meters should be made into two hour meters,

Anonymous said...

Alright, today's not a math day for me. The Giants increased their attendance by more than 44%, so I'll put it this way, "they almost doubled their average attendance per game" :)

I'm no mathematician, but wouldn't doubling attendance require a 100% increase?

Angry White Boy said...

Scott, excuse me they're not my numbers. Perhaps you should be slinging your biased comments at the publisher of those numbers?

Quite frankly, I don't give a sh*t what league they're in, the attendance numbers are what Mike was looking for and that's what I provided. According to The Baseball Cube,
last year's attendance was only 253,564.

The link you provided didn't have any numbers on attendance.

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