The Yankees are in a deep hole, down two games to none against the Detroit Tigers in the American League Championship Series and having captain Derek Jeter sidelined with a broken ankle. To make the situation even more difficult for the Bronx Bombers, the normally raucous crowd at home has been a bit more sparse this year.
Several thousand fans were absent from the game on Sunday in which the Yankees fell 3-0 to the Tigers. The game drew 47,082 fans, the New York Times noted, the third straight playoff game that the Yankees drew fewer than 47,200 fans. In the previous 17 playoff home games dating back to 2009, the Yankees averaged 50,140 fans.
The Yankees tried to take some creative measures to hide the empty seats. Ushers were instructed to move fans from the upper deck into empty seats below so the stadium would appear more filled, Yahoo Sports reported. The team had sent emails to fans and season ticket holders on Saturday alerting them that there were still tickets remaining for Sunday’s game.
The New York Times thinks that scheduling may have something to do with the Yankees’ attendance decline:
“The sudden decline may be the result of the new playoff format that forced the Yankees to play home games on five consecutive days. Without a day off, fans have had less time to prepare to attend games. StubHub and other online resellers had thousands of tickets available, including some for as little as $25 for Sunday’s game.”
Fans could also be suffering from a lack of patience, said Vince Gennaro, the author of Diamond Dollars: The Economics of Winning in Baseball.
“The playoff schedule seemed to be a lot more uncertain,” he said. “I wonder if it’s getting tougher and tougher to plan. You can’t make too many trips down there, and perhaps the expectation is that the Yankees will go deeper in the playoffs.”
The attendance situation may be difficult, but, if the Yankees don’t start winning, they won’t have any more games at home to worry about.