With the Buccos on the road for the balance of April, it’s time for a quick look at their attendance. There is no good answer to whether the Pirates have been drawing more fans in 2012 versus the last couple of years. The raw data suggests they are drawing more fans. A deeper dive reveals that overall attendance will hinge on whether this team can compete.
Through April, the Pirates have drawn an average of nearly 25,400 fans in 2012. That mark is aided by the fact that five of the eight home games were played on Friday, Saturday or Sunday. Also, the double header on Wednesday helps inflate the numbers as a Tuesday evening game would likely have drawn somewhere in the range of 12,000 to 18,000 paying customers.
The Pirates had twelve home dates in April 2011. Average attendance was just under 17,100 and they had two full weekend slates. Overall attendance in 2011 was 1.94 million, the most the team has drawn since the inaugural season of PNC park in 2001. In 2010 the Pirates drew a little more than 18,700 in nine home games. April 2010 saw just one series of games fall over a full Friday-Saturday-Sunday weekend. The attendance for the full season in 2010 was 1.61 million, good (or bad) for 15th of 16 National League teams.
A closer look shows what appears to be a rather flat trend on attendance; attendance for the first Tuesday night game has been similar for the last three years. In 2012, the first Tuesday night game drew just shy of 10,500 fans. Here’s a look going back several more years:
2011 – 9,832
2010 – 9,386
2009 – 9,917
2008 – 10,185
2007 – 13,062
2006 – 16,682
So, what caused average attendance to go up in 2011 after the team drew better in the first month of the season in 2010? I believe it is the simple fact that the team competed in 2011. So, the hope is for the team to stay in the hunt late into the season and for the turnstiles to keep moving. Oh by the way, that 1.94 million the Bucs drew last year still placed them 15th out of 16 clubs in the loop.