Toward the end of April I took a peak at attendance numbers through April. They were up versus 2011. I felt a large part of that rise was the high percentage of weekend games in April 2012 (five of eight home dates – nine games were played with one being part of a DH – in April 2012 fell on Friday, Saturday or Sunday) versus 2011 (just five of twelve).
So, how do things look now that May is behind us? After 23 home games in 2011, the attendance was a mere 18,765. But the Pirates stayed in contention and the club drew 27,000 or more on average in each of June, July and August for the first time since the PNC Park was opened in 2001. September saw a return to normalcy for both the Pirates (falling out of contention) and the attendance numbers (19,811 in 2011 compared with 19,248 in 2010 and 19,714 in 2009).
After 26 home games through May 2012, the average attendance is 22,720. That’s the best it has been for the April-May period since 2001. Even diving in deeper shows an increase in attendance versus 2011. In 2012, there have been 14 Friday-Sunday games and average attendance for those is 27,752. For Monday-Thursday games (excluding Opening Day), attendance is 13,551 on average. Looking at those same splits for 2011 yields 22,806 for weekend and 12,864 for the weekday games.
That’s some great news. Hopefully, this team will be able to stay in contention and enjoy another summer of solid attendance. I’m not all that optimistic that this team will be in the same position as the 2011 club was in late August. The Pirates offense for May posted the worst batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage in the National League. If this club falls out of the race quickly, I would expect attendance to also tail off in an equal proportion.