Will New Marlins Park Improvements Affect Attendance?

 

 

Even though it has only been six years since Marlins Park opened, it is already receiving a facelift. In addition to a new logo and colors the Marlins and CEO Derek Jeter announced a new wave of improvements to fan experience and yes, the removal of that horrific home run sculpture in left center field.

 

But will any of these improvements really make a difference to fan attendance? The Miami Marlins were dead last in attendance in the 2018 season compared to all 29 other MLB teams, only averaging around 10,000 fans in attendance per game compared to a 28,000 average per game around the league. Derek Jeter and the Marlins are definitely looking for any way to bring in fans to the stadium. Let’s go over some of their plans.

 

The Club

 

Image courtesy of MLB.com

Marlins Park will welcome a new lounge area behind home plate called The Club. President of business operations Chip Bowers said that “this enhancement is part of an ongoing commitment to exceed expectations and elevate the fan experience at Marlins Park, with a fresh Miami vibe in a unique setting”. This reminds me a lot of the VIP club called “The 72 Club” at Hard Rock Stadium, the Miami Dolphins stadium. This experiment has not worked out for the dolphins as it is a definite eyesore when you see huge empty teal seats on your television. I honestly feel like this upgrade, as nice as it may seem, will not work out for the Marlins. Tickets for this club will be extremely expensive and a little “too much” for the typical Miami fan.

 

New Social Sections

 

 

 

Image courtesy of MLB.com

 

The Marlins will also add two additional social space areas. A standing room only section down the first base line and a center field zone. According to the Marlins these tickets will be “low-priced” and be close to concessions.

I am completely in favor of these sections and I feel like this will provide a much-needed area to just hang out and watch a baseball game. Miami is a city with a very large number of young professionals and these sections will serve as a perfect happy hour hangout for many.

 

The team also announced the addition of a dedicated area to celebrate Miami culture called “Comunidad 305”. The Marlins are using the strength of this city, the diversity, in their favor. This section will be filled with musical instruments, flags and more that will emulate the atmosphere of baseball in the Caribbean and Latin America. If it’s done correctly, it can definitely boost attendance and increase the popularity of actually watching a game at the stadium.

 

Removal of Home Run Sculpture

 

Image courtesy of MLB.com

Yes. It is finally happening. The infamous home run sculpture, machine, contraption, whatever you want to call it, it is gone. Well from inside the ballpark at least. The team announced this past October that they will be moving the dreaded sculpture from left center field to the outside plaza. The void left will be filled by the new multi-level center field standing room area.

This is a huge win for the stadium as the Marlins were pretty much the laughing stock of the league for having that “horrendous and tacky” sculpture inside the ballpark as the Miami Herald described it.

The outfield and line fences will change from that key lime green to a dark blue matching with the stadium seats. This will help the seats and the fence to blend well instead of having that unnecessary rainbow of colors.

The truth is that this team can make as many stadium improvements as they want and yes it might affect attendance slightly in the short term. But if the product on the field is not producing wins, attendance will suffer.

With so much to do in Miami, this is a market in which professional sports teams need to win in order to get fans in the stadium. So yes, these stadium improvements will help but in order to meet the league average in attendance the answer is in one simple word: win.

 

 

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