When Target Field opened in 2010, Minnesota Twins fans were hungry for out-door baseball after having spent the previous 28 seasons watching the Twins play their home games indoors at the H.H.H. Metrodome and over 3.2 million fans poured through the Target Field turnstiles to watch the playoff bound Twins play ball. The 2010 AL Central champs were swept by the New York Yankees 3 games to zip in the ALDS but it turns out that was the least of the Twins problems.
In 2011 the Twins dropped from 94 wins the previous season to just 63 wins and 99 losses and attendance started it downward spiral. Since their first year at Target Field the attendance at Twins games has dropped each year, that makes six consecutive years that the attendance at Twins games has dropped. It certainly hasn’t helped that the Twins have averaged only 67.8 wins from 2011-2016. The Twins started this century (2000) with just 69 wins but from 2001 through 2010 they had just one losing season in which they still won 79 games (2007) and they appeared in the playoffs six times. Twins fans weren’t used to having a losing team and they don’t have the patience that Twins fans of yesteryear may have had and even though they have a beautiful new ballpark in downtown Minneapolis, they have shown little to no interest in paying good money to watch a losing team. The team fired their long time manager Ron Gardenhire after the 2014 season but not much changed and attendance continued to drop. The organization decided to brag about their up and coming players but they too have not lived up to expectations and this past season the team lost a team record 103 games and attendance dropped to 1.9 million, that is a drop of 41% in seven years. The team also fired their log time GM Terry Ryan several months ago and has hired Derek Falvey to head up Baseball Operations. Falvey will start when his current teams (Cleveland Indians) playoff run ends. Who knows, if the Indians make it to the World Series (and it goes seven games) it could be some time before he reports for work in Minnesota and the season ended two weeks ago. Time is wasting and although Rob Antony is the interim GM, I’m guessing not much is being done until Falvey shows up.
Since Target Field opened seven years ago in 2010 the Twins have had 18,080,326 fans pay to watch the Twins play ball. When the Washington Senators moved to Minnesota in 1961 and became the Minnesota Twins, fans in the Midwest were hungry for major league baseball even though they already had AAA minor league teams in Minneapolis (Millers) and in St. Paul (Saints). Calvin Griffith’s team averaged over 1.3 million during their first 10 years in Minnesota before attendance started to fall after the Twins were swept by the Baltimore Orioles in the ALCS in both 1969 and 1970.
An interesting Twins attendance fact
The Twins have drawn a little over 18 million baseball fans in seven seasons at Target Field, it took the Met Stadium Twins 16 years to draw a total of 18,025,865 fans and the Twins only had losing seasons five times between 1961-1976. Today’s Twins organization bemoans the attendance drop since 2010 but they should be counting their lucky stars that they have as many loyal fans as they do, particularly when you consider that in 1976 the average price for a Twins ticket was $3.38 and the most expensive seats went for $4.50 and in 2016 the average ticket price was $31.72 and the high-end ticket went for $117. I am not even going to delve into concession prices.
The attendance figures we talk about here are tickets sold, not butts in the seats like they used to count in the old days. Matter of fact they used to provide both sets of numbers but now days all the public gets to see is tickets sold which makes for some interesting conversations when the crowd is announced and you look around and see hardly anyone at the ballpark. But that is a whole different story.