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Remembering the Horror: The 2005 Attendance Figures at the K

As the Metro area continues to debate the possibility of a new "downtown" baseball-only stadium in Kansas City, an inexorable side-debate rages on the merits and demerits of baseball at the K. Amazingly, after the 1990s stadium/graft/luxirification boom which saw the Seligeans travel from city to city alternatively threatening relocation and promising revenue, competive gains and revived cities, good ole Kauffman Stadium (nee Royals Stadium) now stands as one of the oldest stadiums in baseball.

In 2005, the Royals averaged 17,356 in paid attendance per game, good for 29th "best" in baseball, ahead of only the Devil Rays' paltry 14,052 per. In terms of percentage capacity, the Royals filled 42.5% of the seats in '05, again good for 29th, and again ahead of only Tampa Bay.

In looking at 2003, we can get a sense, roughly, of what the best-case scenario for Royals' attendance might be. During that miraculous season, which saw the Royals spend more days in first place than any other AL Central team, the Royals drew 1,779,895/ 22,819 p/g. The following season, riding a minor wave of increased interest (which quickly turned sour towards disgust again) the team drew 1,661,478/ 21,031 p/g, falling from 22nd to 29th overall.

For the sake of novelty, we'll note that, yes, the team did draw quite well during the 1970s-80s glory years, while refraining from actually evoking that era as an argument either way. Lets work on sustaining two consecutive winning seasons before we start counting on the effects of a decade-long run of success, shall we?

Finally, I think that theres some possiblity that we might see an uptick in attendence next season, for reasons totally unrelated to the Royals. Theres a small chance that the White Sox conversion from "medicore, bland team" to "gritty WORLD CHAMPIONS WHO PLAY THE GAME THE RIGHT WAY" could make those seemingly endless Sox-Royals matchups more enticing. Plus, theres the current status of the Indians as the darling of the baseball world (I'm not buying). One of the problems with the AL Central is that even its members aren't particularly interested in one another, at least in terms of fans. Each "rivalry" doesn't add up to Cubs-Cardinals in terms of attendance generation, much less Red Sox-Yankees. Should the White Sox and Indians get off to strong starts in '06, it could have a cascade effect that bumps the Royals' attendance up 500-2,000 per game against those teams.

And with that money we can resign great players like Joe McEwing.