Using Foot Traffic to Measure Game Attendance at Five Major Baseball Stadiums

Using Foot Traffic to Measure Game Attendance at Five Major Baseball Stadiums

While fans aren’t quite back in the stands yet, sports are making a comeback. In 2020, fans are cheering on their favorite teams from their living rooms. Once fans are able to come back to the stands, how can stadiums and teams plan logistics effectively? Historical location data provides sport teams and stadiums with information that they can use to predict how many fans to expect. We analyzed foot traffic from the beginning of MLB’s season on March 28, 2019 through the last day of post-season on October 30, 2019 at Progressive Field, Citizens Bank Park, Fenway Park, Tropicana Field, and Target Field. We took a look at these professional baseball stadiums to get an idea about the best day and month for fans to watch their respective teams play ball when stadiums officially re-open.

Based on our foot traffic analysis, here’s what we found:

Busy Months Vary By Team

Busiest months vary by team and stadium. Citizens Bank, Tropicana Field, and Target Field saw the most foot traffic towards the end of March. Spring training must have built up the enthusiasm for Indians, Phillies, and Rays’ fans. Fenway Park and Progressive Field didn’t see as much foot traffic towards the start of the season. However, fan attendance at home games spiked later on for the Red Sox and Indians. The Red Sox saw their highest average visits in the postseason months of September and October, probably due to being considered an American League (AL) wild card chase. June is the busiest month for Progressive Field – most likely due to the Indians’ summer winning streak.

Figure 1. Average visits per month for Indians, Phillies, Red Sox, Rays, and Twins

Most Fans Went on the Weekends

The Phillies, Red Sox, Rays, and Twins had the most total average visits on the weekends and lower total averages on weekdays. The Indians saw slightly higher total average visits on weekdays. Sundays were the most popular day for Phillies fans. Indians fans came to see their team play at Progressive Park the most on Fridays. Wednesdays were the least crowded at Twins and Rays. The Indians didn’t see huge fan turnouts on Sundays while the Phillies tended to have larger crowds on Mondays. Thursdays were the least popular day to cheer on the Red Sox at Fenway Park.

Figure 2. Average visits for day of week for Indians, Phillies, Red Sox, Rays, and Twins

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The Red Sox won first place for having the most total average visits to their home stadium. The Phillies came in second followed by the Twins. The Indians and Rays had the least total average visits. If the 2020 season is going to be anything like 2019, then the Phillies, Red Sox, Rays, and Twins fans should try to avoid going to games on the weekends and purchasing tickets for games early in the season. Indians fans can avoid crowds by purchasing tickets for games at the beginning of the week or the months of April and August.

Figure 3. Total average visits for Indians, Phillies, Red Sox, Rays, and Twins

What was the Most Attended Home Game?

The Indians had the best home game attendance on August 3rd. They won this Saturday game against the L.A. Angels. The most attended home game for the Phillies was on March 31st. They defeated the Atlanta Braves that Sunday. The Red Sox saw their highest average attendance as they played against the Yankees at Fenway Park. Despite the support from fans, the Red Sox lost to the Yankees that day. The Rays saw their largest average attendance as they played against the Astros in the AL Division Series on October 7th. The Rays defeated the Astros 10 to 3. On July 5th, the Twins won their highest attended home game against the Rangers.

Takeaways for Baseball Fans

Overall, the best time to go to cheer on your favorite baseball team at their home stadium depends on the day and month. Other factors might include who your team is playing against and how your team is doing throughout the season. Try going to home games during weekdays rather than the weekend. Plan ahead of time by going to a home game midseason. No matter when you decide to go to a baseball game, there is nothing like the experience of cheering on your favorite team at their home stadium.

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