August 1, 2014

Dodgers Attendance Woes Worst in MLB for 2011

We’ve posted a few stats on the drop in attendance for Dodger home games this season via our twitter feed, and ESPN Los Angeles just provided a sobering update this afternoon:

Through June 1, home attendance at Dodger Stadium is down a total of 221,984 from last season, an average 7,161 fewer fans per game. This represents a 16.7 percent overall drop, which is by far the worst in baseball this season.

Attendance across MLB through Monday is down 381,786 from last season, an average of 426 fewer fans per game

The Dodgers organization continues to decline to discuss season ticket sales or overall attendance but it’s clear that the Dodgers are battling a double whammy of far fewer walk-up and single game advance ticket sales as well as a significant no-show rate that is plaguing baseball as a whole.

If you haven’t read Darren Rovell’s story entitled Does Major League Baseball Have an Attendance Problem then head over to CNBC right now and take a look (or watch the embedded video below). the number of people tweeting pictures with hashtags #emptystadium or #emptystadiums showing the disparity between reported attendance and actual butts-in-seats is surprising.

Dodger Stadium Defiled for AMA Supercross Event

It’s a sad day at Dodger Stadium when the grass is intentionally killed for something other than an improved field for baseball, but that’s exactly what’s been going on this week as 500 dump truck loads of dirt have invaded Chavez Ravine for an upcoming AMA supercross event.

If that’s not bad enough, the dirt will be there for five weeks in order to also accomodate a monster truck event on February 19th.

The Dodgers have discussed hosting these kind of events in the past, but always backed off due to the impact to the field. Apparently, they’re much more comfortable with the idea now – perhaps the economic side of such a proposal? It makes sense given that the franchise owns the stadium and isn’t generating revenue with it in the offseason without events like this one.

All photos credited to Jon Soohoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Dodgers Host Third Annual Blogger Night; Embrace New Media

Alex, Ron Cey, Chris

The Dodgers get it. I’m not sure that there is another organization in professional sports that gets it the way that VP of Communications Josh Rawtich and the Dodgers get it. 

What the Dodgers “get” is how to engage with bloggers and members of non-mainstream media outlets to expand their outreach into conversations that are happening across the internet. 

Josh and his staff reaffirmed this position when they hosted the third annual blogger night at Dodger Stadium on Monday, July 5th in a luxury suite behind home plate. As with past events, there was a steady stream of Dodger dignitaries that stopped by to engage with the bloggers in attendance, including Dodgers GM Ned Colletti.  Colletti stayed for an hour after commenting that his visit last year ‘felt rushed’ and that he was impressed by the level of questions and discussion at past blogger engagements. 

Ned Colletti

Colletti wasn’t the only front office visitor that the 14 blogs who were in attendance had a chance to meet: Assistant GM Kim Ng, Dodgers legends “Sweet Lou” Johnson and Ron Cey and Dodgers President Dennis Mannion all dropped in for a considerable piece of time to listen and respond. 

Dodgers President Dennis Mannion

The list of blogs represented was also impressive, including many of our favorites, such as Dodger Thoughts, True Blue LA, Sons of Steve Garvey, LA Dodger Talk, and Vin Scully is My Homeboy, just to name a few. These guys were engaged and made the most of their time with Colletti and the others, while also taking time to stay on top of the game that was going on (something Chris and I weren’t able to do nearly as effectively). 

Chris and Sweet Lou

Following are a few thoughts and nuggets of information that were of interest to us: 

Pitching and the Trade Deadline 

Both Colletti and Ng were clear that pitching is their top priority as the trade deadline nears. They didn’t seem to be particularly focused on starting pitching or relievers, but it was obvious that both character and consistency were at the top of their list of traits they were looking for. Ng and Colletti split duties here, and either one might be involved depending on who has an established relationship with the key individuals (player, front office, agent, etc.). 

Digital Media is Growing for the Dodgers 

Chris and I had a great exchange with Josh Lukin who is the Director of Digital Marketing for the Dodgers. Josh started ramping up the digital marketing efforts for the club a few years ago while working on more traditional marketing efforts, but now dedicates most of his time on social media. It’s clear that Lukin is very interested in pushing the envelope in the digital space and leveraging Twitter and Facebook in particular to drive promotional efforts, deliver news and generally get folks more engaged with the Dodgers online. We talked about his recent promotion where he rewarded members of the four new Dodger email clubs with the opportunity to purchase standalone game tickets to the Yankees series before also sending a Twitter broadcast with a similar offer to the team’s followers. Lukin said the ROI on Twitter, Facebook, and SEA engagements have been very strong and that we could expect the Dodgers to do more in this space. 

Continued Blogger Support For Home Games 

The Dodgers are continuing to support a select set of Dodger Blogs with shared credential access to home games – something that MLB and other teams have been very slow to follow-up with on their own. Public Relations Supervisor Amy Summers told me that blogs now cover roughly 30-40% of the home games at Dodger Stadium and that weekend coverage is at almost 100%. She indicated that the Dodgers organization was very pleased with how the program has worked thus far and we discussed the “storytelling” aspect of blogs as compared to traditional journalism. 

Blogger Camaraderie 

Most of us who have been blogging about the Dodgers have met one another a few times over the past three years. What’s most impressive is the sense of mutual respect that runs through the group. Each blog really is unique and has its own slant or type of storytelling, which differentiates it from the others and removes any sense of competition. When we all get together at outings such as this, we share stories, trade insights and generally enjoy one another’s company. It’s a refreshing change from how blogs from other teams or sports interact with one another and something that just seems to have developed amicably. 

Overall, it was a great night in Chavez Ravine. I even saw team photographer Jon SooHoo in the parking lot getting set for a fireworks shot while perched at the top of a ladder (his image is shown below). I’m looking forward to next year’s event and the continued dialogue with both the team and my fellow bloggers in the second half of the season. 

Fireworks at Dodger Stadium - Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers

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Dodger Stadium: After the Excitement

Dodger Stadium - A View from the Dugout

Dodger Stadium - A View from the Dugout

As I visited Dodger Stadium for the final comments from Dodger players and executives yesterday, I was struck by how much the day felt like the last day of school (well, if the last day of school followed a brutal exam that everyone felt they did really poorly on).  Still, it was a gorgeous and brilliant day – the perfect day for baseball, really – and a feeling of optimism was in the air as conversations turned to next year and the hope that lingered on the horizon for the Dodgers.

Like my friend Steve Sax from the Sons of Steve Garvey, I tried to capture the moment as Dodger Stadium prepared to enter the off-season and rest it’s weary bones for what is sure to be an exciting 2010 campaign.  I didn’t even realize that Friday was supposed to be Game 6 until I read the Sons’ account of yesterday, which made the day all the more bittersweet.

Free Dodger Dogs Sept 14th vs Pirates

Who says there is no free lunch these days?

The Dodgers are dishing out one free Dodger dog to every person in attendance for the 9/14 game vs the pirates!

The Dodger Dog