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.