Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Colorado Rockies will get great attendance in 2013 regardless of disappointment

The Rockies will have plenty of big crowds in 2013
The Colorado Rockies will once again be in the top half of the league in attendance in 2013.

Many fans, many members of the media, and observers have long questioned why the Rockies continue to have 30,000 fans pour through the turnstiles at Coors Field on a nightly basis. The fans come to the games whether the Rockies are 15 games over .500 or 25 games under .500. Fans simply keep coming.

Calls have been made for people to start boycotting this team. The front office has continued to avoid responsibility for the failures that have led to the disappointment that is the 2012 campaign.

Despite utterly failing, the Rockies ownership and front office continues to insist that nothing is wrong, almost burying their heads in the sand and pretending as if they don't realize how poorly the team that they put on the field is performing. They blame Coors Field, they blame the players, they blamed the clubhouse culture, they have blamed the scheduling, and nearly everything else that can be blamed besides themselves.

The fans who have called for boycotts have assumed that the Rockies ownership group won't make changes in the front office until it starts to hurt them where it counts--in the wallet.

In reality, Rockies fans aren't going to quit going to games. Coors Field produces a phenomenal atmosphere for families with kids, and 20-somethings looking for a fun night out in downtown Denver alike. With an atmosphere like that, the Rockies are going to continue to get fans at the ballpark.

However, those desperate for fans to stop showing up are going to be even more frustrated headed into the 2013 season. The Major League Baseball schedule came out on Wednesday, giving fans their first look at who will be making their way to Coors Field next summer.

For the first time, interleague play will be spread out throughout the season. The Houston Astros are making the move to the American League, meaning each league will have 15 teams. The Rockies were unfortunate enough to draw them as their "natural rival", meaning they will play each other at home and away every season.

The Astros won't sell any extra tickets, but the blow to fans hopes that the Rockies will start to feel pain in their back pockets came when the schedule is examined. Not only do the New York Yankees come to Coors Field for three games, the Boston Red Sox are will also be coming to Denver for a two-game set at the end of September. Also, the home opener will be April 5th against the Padres.

What that means is that the Rockies, who normally increase the prices for games against teams like the Yankees and Red Sox, are going to get a huge five-game boost. The ticket prices are generally double, and they always sell out. So essentially, instead of an average National League team playing weeknight games which would garner the average 25,000 to 30,000 at regular prices, the Rockies will get 49,000 fans who all paid double price to get through the gates. That is a huge bump in revenue.

With six of the 81 games guaranteed to be a sellout, the Rockies also get boosts from the Cubs and the Cardinals. It means that the Rockies are nearly guaranteed 12 games in which they will have a park full of fans. Six of those games will be priced far higher than the average game.

The reality is, the number of tickets sold simply might not have anything to do with who is calling the shots at 20th & Blake. This ownership group seems content that Dan O'Dowd and Jim Tracy are the right two guys for the job, regardless of the results on the field since 2010.

Fans want to believe that a change in attendance will motivate the owners to change. It makes them feel like they have some sort of control. In reality, the Rockies ownership group may not connect the two together. Dick Monfort seems very happy with O'Dowd's job, regardless of the results. He seems to be buying in to O'Dowd's theory that Coors Field is playing differently and he might actually believe that it isn't O'Dowd's fault that the talent on the field isn't as good as it was in the past.

If the Rockies are going to get the message that fans want them to get, it isn't going to come in 2013, when fans will be pouring through the gates donning their Red Sox and Yankees jerseys, but still contributing to the financial success of the Rockies.

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