Monday, August 1, 2022

Cleveland Guardians Struggling to Attract Fans, TV Ratings

As a result of years of pressure from activist groups, several years ago, the Cleveland baseball franchise changed the team’s name.  Naturally, the team prominently declared its commitment to the correct motivations, suggesting that unity and “community” explained their decision:

“We believe our organization is at its best when we can unify our community and bring people together – and we believe a new name will allow us to do this more fully.”

So after over 100 years as the Cleveland Indians, the team started play in 2022 as the Cleveland Guardians. reports if the numbers are to be believed, it’s possible that fans might not have taken kindly to the rebranding efforts.

Local TV ratings for the newly christened Guardians have dropped dramatically, with one report placing the number at -30%.

That’s the third biggest decline of any team in the league, with only the moribund Oakland Athletics and rapidly fading San Francisco Giants reporting worse numbers.

The Guardians however, have seen their numbers fall precipitously.

It’s not just ratings; in person attendance is down significantly from previous years as well.

In 2019, the last fully pre-pandemic season, the team averaged 21,465 fans per game.

This year, so far, average attendance has fallen to 15,025.

If these numbers continue, that would mark the non-COVID low point for the franchise since they moved into their new ballpark in 1994.

It might be tempting to blame the low numbers on poor results this season, but the Guardians are currently 2nd in the American League Central, only two games behind the first place Minnesota Twins.

Attendance has generally been lower across MLB this season than in 2019, but Cleveland in particular is outpacing the average decline.

In 2019, non-Indians attendance averaged 28,436. This year, that number is 26,582, meaning the league overall is down 6.5% in ticket sales.

Meanwhile attendance for the Cleveland franchise has plummeted 30% from 2019.

Regardless, the numbers are bleak for the Guardians. The decision to rename the team was clearly done out of fear of criticism and political pressure, and it’s possible that it’s substantially hurt the franchise financially.

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