Attendance Rising

» 29 August 2009 » In international baseball, npb, sports business »

Although attendance is taking a hit in the States due to the economy, attendance is actually going up in NPB, with both the Central and Pacific Leagues announcing numbers for the season so far. The Central League increased its overall attendance by 6.2% and the Pacific League increased its numbers by 1.7% to date, comparing year-over-year.

The biggest factor for the increase in the Central League comes from the Hiroshima Toyo Carp opening its new Mazda Zoom-Zoom Stadium this season, which resulted in a 48% increase in tickets purchased. On the other hand, problems on the field do not seem to be affecting fan interest in the Yokohama BayStars, with attendance up by 9.4%. For the Pacific League, the Orix Buffaloes are contributing the most to the increase, with a 7.1% rise from last year. The Seibu Lions haven’t been too shabby either, increasing their attendance by 7%. The biggest drop comes from the Chunichi Dragons in the Central League at -5.7% and Chiba Lotte Marines for the Pacific League with -5.5%.

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  1. Ryo
    30/08/2009 at 2:50 am Permalink

    Why on Earth would more people want to go to BayStars games this year? That 9.4% increase is truly puzzling. Maybe it’s due to all of the excitement surrounding Kudo being the first pitcher to earn that time-wasting penalty. Can anyone think of another explanation?

  2. Ryo
    30/08/2009 at 3:43 am Permalink

    Maybe those “all you can drink” group tickets at the top of the stadium perhaps are the reason that attendance is up? I mean, what else is there to do at Yokohama Stadium these days?

    This is really sad when it comes to the Stars in my opinion. It just goes to show that fans will blindly support the team no matter what instead of making their voices heard and letting ownership know that they are displeased with the team as a whole. And that comment is coming from a Stars fan (yours truly) no less.

  3. Ryo
    30/08/2009 at 8:22 am Permalink

    There was an interesting thing happening back when Lotte was going for the record for most consecutive losses back in the late 1990s. The more they lost, the more fans came out to cheer them on. Counter intuitive, yes, but some fans really love the underdog. And a team that keeps losing has an appeal to such people.

    Furthermore, look at the Hanshin fans from the 1990s. The Tigers were a prominent door mat. Yet the fans continued to support the team, and in some ways become more fierce in their fandom.

    Winning more games will result in larger attendance. But it seems that losing will attract more fans that just being mediocre.

    Bobby BayStars in 2010!

  4. Ryo
    31/08/2009 at 12:04 am Permalink

    > But it seems that losing will attract more fans that just being mediocre.

    Interesting point!

    “some fans really love the underdog” – Absolutely!

    Especially in Japan and England, AFAIK

    (Also Cubs, Red Sox come to mind )

    Me? Sometimes … But I can’t tolerate Seibu losing at the same time

    > It just goes to show that fans will blindly support the team no matter what …

    Ha-ha! What else did you expect from them?

    Wanna make them root for themselves or be bandwagonners?

    They ‘blindly support’ their BayStars, because they ROOT for the BayStars!

    And that’s exactly what they should do.

    What do you want a revolt and a bunch of crashed souls!?

    Please don’t mess with their peace of mind …

    > Why on Earth would more people want to go to BayStars games …

    To watch baseball under the sun 🙂

    Nice and simple

  5. Ryo
    31/08/2009 at 12:30 pm Permalink

    9.4% up…that is impressive for the worst team in the league…Baystars marketing/ticket sales has done a great job without relying on winning I guess…

  6. Ryo
    31/08/2009 at 10:48 pm Permalink

    >Ha-ha! What else did you expect from them?

    A lot more because they are some of the most passionate baseball fans in Japan in my opinion who have been dealt a bad hand time and time again because of incapable and downright lousy management and most are getting tired of it. I know this from fact because I’m one of them, meaning that whenever I go to ol’ “Hamasta” I’m treated as an equal in the right field stands as people know who I am and respect my opinions even though sometimes they may seem outright insane. These people are my friends who I’ve traveled around the country with and shared meals with and taught me about the culture of the game in addition to the cheer songs and what not. I get around the stands and chat with people outside of my “inner circle” is what I’m saying.

    >Wanna make them root for themselves or be bandwagonners?

    Actually, most Stars fans respect if not root for in some cases the other teams in the Central League like the Swallows, Carp, and even the Dragons. The teams they really hate are the Tigers and Giants for obvious reasons. So that point was completely and utterly silly. Again, I’m not speaking for all the fans but this is what I’ve come to realize from the years of supporting the Stars. Fans can choose whomever they want to root for which in some cases is more than one team and not be a bandwagonner which brings me to my next point.

    >They ‘blindly support’ their BayStars, because they ROOT for the BayStars!

    You must realize that there is a difference between rooting for a team and supporting it. You can live in Kagoshima or Wakknai and root (cheer) for a team on TV or radio and never give the team a single yen. But when you support a team, you buy a ticket to enter the stadium, you buy a shirt and or some “ouen bats” and maybe even a “happi” to make yourself look more bad ass while cheering for the team. You give the team your hard earned money which in turn goes to pay the player’s salaries and hopefully allows the team to better it self in the future. It’s a never ending cycle because deep down while Yakyu is a game, it is also a business and these days, it seems that is the more important of the 2. Pleasing the fans is #1 because whether teams want to admit it or not, without them, they are nothing. Heck, some Japanese teams continue to operate in the red every season even with fan support (I’m looking in your direction Orix).

    >And that’s exactly what they should do.

    You’re right, fans do root for and should root for their favorite team but in addition to that, the ones who enter the stadium and buy the goods are also the ones SUPPORTING the team. Again, the main thing is to put a butt every 16 inches in the seats and please the fans as it is with all forms of entertainment be it movies, or sports, or whatever else. Westbay-san brought up a great point in saying that “being the underdog” attracts people which is true and he is correct ( it’s one of the reasons I still support the Stars despite dismal season after dismal season), but winning games and playing great baseball draws even more people and creates a better all around atmosphere at the ballpark.

    >What do you want a revolt and a bunch of crashed souls!?

    No, what I would like for more BayStars fans to be a bit more vocal about their concerns with the team. Not saying they have to steal a page from Lotte’s book and make huge banners expressing their concerns or whatnot or turn into crazy and rabid baseball fans like a lot of Hanshin’s fans are, I’m just saying be a little more outspoken if you disagree with something that the team does. Because they are the ones supporting the team and ultimately pull the strings.

    Please don’t mess with their peace of mind …

    Being a Seibu fan, I wouldn’t expect you to understand what “rooting for the underdog” is all about. And before you go any further, understand that I’m a Seibu Fan Club member and regualrly who SUPPORTS the team but does not cheer for them despite the fact that I love Okawari-kun and “Nakaji” among many other Seibu players. I only cheer for one team and I think you can figure out who that is after reading my piece here.

  7. Ryo
    01/09/2009 at 1:58 am Permalink

    Ooh, nice and interesting post. Thanks for answering, Matt.

    Tough to comprehend it immediatelly, only one thing …

    >You must realize that there is a difference between rooting for a team and supporting it.

    Yeah, I didn’t realize that.

    And how can I, because in Russia sports fans can only ROOT for teams.

    The teams are SUPPORTED from budget money :)))

    Or rather :(((

    Still, it is fans (or actually ‘fanats’, ultras) here in Russia who once in a while dictate everything to ther club, like firing coaches or team management

    > > What do you want a revolt and a bunch of crashed souls!
    > … Not saying they have to steal a page from Lotte’s book and make huge banners …

    I mentioned crashed souls ONLY when thinking along Japanese standpoint 🙂

    From non-Japanese point of view, I’d love fans to make huge banners and ask for kantoku’s head after every loss! 🙂

  8. Ryo
    01/09/2009 at 2:49 am Permalink

    Since the Lions vs Eagles broadcast refuses to work, a few more points


    Well, a somewhat strange concept.

    Do really think that you SUPPORT Hollywood when you buy a ticket in a movie theater or a DVD?

    Or maybe when you buy a hotdog ten times more expensive as usual at the ballpark?

    Do you think you support the team and have any right to ask for something back because of it?

    I don’t know.

    What’s the point of supporting a pro team at all.

    Myself, I’d never buy any merchandise or even a game ticket to watch any PROFESSIONAL sports!

    Especially baseball, where each individual game has almost zero meaning.

    I will only root (cheer) for/against on tv or internet.

    Besides, I can only root for myself and against somebody now 🙂

    (see for more)


    When I talked about a ‘piece of mind’, I meant more like a piece of mind (desirable state) in a mental ward.

    You mention oendan …

    And I don’t like oendan. What’s the point of singing (loud crappy shortish simplistic tunes) over and over again, without any reference to the game’s state.

    And how is it possible at all to watch baseball from the outfield?!

    I have no idea what they are doing there in oendan section – it’s probably indeed a mental ward, with the exception of a few organizers, who I’d not be surprised to know getting actually paid by the club.

    And if not for oendan, the games could well resemble a mourning feast, because the so-called fans of baseball in better seats do nothing but
    consume their macaroni and sake.

    Their are simply incapable, including oendan, to generate any game-context-specific buzz or a complete silence of disbelief or slightest hope.

    Compare that to Ashes cricket, that’s what sports is about!

    Not that zombi-like mental-ward monotonous atmosphere in NPB.


    PS And remove that ugly at-bat music as well!