The benefits of local ownership

There was a great moment at Dodger Stadium last night when the team announced Vin Scully would be returning for his 66th season. Click the link and watch the video — you’ll be jealous.

You’ll see a full house, nearly 50,000 fans, jammed into Dodger Stadium for a weeknight game — a lot of them wearing blue. It’s the byproduct a local ownership group that gets it.

In 2011, at the nadir of the Frank McCourt era, the Dodgers drew a little more than 36,000 a game — a decline of 7,000 per game from 2010. They were outdrawn by the Angels and five NL teams. The Dodgers weren’t great that year but weren’t horrible, finishing around .500.

Now, with McCourt (among the stains on the Used Car Salesman’s resume) gone, the franchise is relevant again. Attendance is up nearly 10,000 fans a game from 2011. Putting a good product on the field certainly helps, but it’s no coincidence that baseball — foundering in other parts of the country — is thriving in Southern California; the Angels, owned by local businessman Arte Moreno, are  drawing more than 38,000 in Anaheim.

Meanwhile, in Atlanta, attendance is down 3,356 fans per game. The atmosphere has become increasingly bland — take away the Chop and would you be able to distinguish the Braves gameday experience from those in Houston or Arizona?

But hey, the new mixed-use development in the ‘burbs should fix everything.

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8 comments

  1. In Atlanta, the announced return of Vin Scully would have been sponsored by Napa Auto Parts (“NAPA know-how helps you do the job right!”) and quickly sandwiched between the Tool Race and another uproarious edition of ‘Kiss Cam’ set to the country-rock twang of “Keep Them Kisses Comin'” by Georgia’s own Craig Campbell.

  2. Don’t forget the perfectly timed cutaway to the fan in a visitor’s jersey (or Braves fan, when Boston is in town) accompanied by the Eric Carmen classic, “All By Myself.” Guess it tested better than Gilbert O’Sullivan’s “Alone Again Naturally.”

  3. Not to nitpick, but the Dodgers didn’t draw 3 million in a season until 1978 and drew fewer than 3 million about 10 times after that.

  4. After checking out Yankee Stadium and Fenway Park last weekend, I can say with confidence that dropping the tool race, most of the gimmicks on-screen and the cheer-prompters (really – people will cheer even if you don’t tell them to) makes for a much more enjoyable experience. Toronto has the same kind of crap. The Yankees don’t need it. The Sox don’t need it. (but oh my god the Mets are ridiculous with it too) Time to let it go. I find I’m constantly distracted by all the crap at the ballgame. Let baseball be baseball.

  5. As much as I admire Dodger Stadium and the revived atmosphere of professionalism (and not risking being grievously assaulted in the parking lot or outfield bleachers) there, they really overuse that ear splitting clap prompter thing on nearly every at bat.

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