Which baseball fans show up after Opening Day

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Opening day is awesome. There is a buzz in the air. There is a new hope. The baseball season is just beginning, and there’s no reason THIS YEAR isn’t the year.

However, by day 2 of the baseball season, reality sets in. Only 10 teams will make the playoffs. Fans go on with their lives.

I wondered: Which teams have the smallest and largest drop-off in attendance between opening day and “Day 2?”

I looked at the % of attendance for each home team on the 2nd home game vs. the 1st home game: The higher the %, the more fans return to the stands in the 2nd home game.

Day 2 Attendance

Not surprisingly, most teams sell out on opening day. However, Day 2 is more revealing. In 2014, the Angels, Giants, and Red Sox all had the smallest drop-off in attendance in Day 2 vs. Day 1 (virtually no drop-off.) This may be correlated to the recent successes and high potential/expectations for 2014 these teams have.

Interestingly, those teams don’t have the largest stadiums, and were out-drawn on Opening Day. Teams like the Dodgers and Rockies have larger stadiums, however, weren’t able to retain the same crowd on day 2.

The lowest-retaining teams were Cleveland and Chicago White Sox, both teams with harsh, cold conditions on Day 2. Tampa, the #3 worst-performing team, doesn’t have the same excuse, playing in a dome. Tampa Bay had the lowest attendance on Opening Day and the worst “warm weather city” in crowd retention.

Does W/L record on Opening day have an impact on fan retention on Day 2?

You would think baseball fans would not be so short sighted as to bail on their team if they lost the home opener. The data confirms this – teams that lost on opening day actually retained more fans in home game #2 than winning clubs.


win loss attendance mlb

Finally, I wondered if a team gets a lift from hosting true opening day, and if attendance wanes if the team starts on the road

I grouped MLB teams into 3 categories:

  1. Those that start the season at home.
  2. Those that start on the road, but have their first home game in the first weekend of the season.
  3. Those that go 2 weeks before opening at home

There doesn’t appear to be correlation of higher attendance in home game 2 and when the game occurs.

first weekend mlb

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