Although I've been writing about it here since this past February when I posted my prediction of 2.9 plus or minus 100,000 for Rangers attendance in 2011, this is the weekend that the attendance story goes mainstream. It's being widely reported that the Rangers stand to break their all time attendance record if they can draw approximately 42,000 per game for their final three game home stand of the regular season. While that is a big number, given that they averaged nearly 45,000 for the comparable weekend last year, when the division race was already on ice, it seems to be pretty much a foregone conclusion that with the division to be won this weekend, that they will set the record, although reports this morning that approximately 10,000 seats still remain available for each game would indicate that there will need to be some walk up crowd to get it done.
As I've been discussing, and Jamey Newberg pointed out yesterday morning, it is particularly impressive that this was accomplished despite the record streak of 100 degree days that definitely had a negative effect on this summer's attendance.
Interestingly, the huge increase won't move the Rangers relative position among AL teams in total attendance. They were fifth last year. They'll be fifth this year. And, they only move up one spot in mlb, from thirteenth to twelfth. However, there is a huge gap, especially in the AL from Boston, Minnesota the Angels and the Rangers (all in a tight group between 2.8 million and 3 million), to the Tigers (2.4 million) and everyone else (none currently higher than 1.9 million). So, as we have discussed, to the extent there is a divide between the haves and the have nots, the Rangers flag is planted firmly in the territory of the haves, albeit towards the bottom of that group.
Let's talk about the three games coming up this weekend.
Friday September 23, Rangers vs. Mariners 7:05. Fans Choice fireworks. None of the games this weekend is available for ticket trade in by season ticket holders. This has created a situation where there simply isn't much extra supply to go around, so that the secondary market is extremely limited. Just about 500 tickets available on Stubhub for Friday night, and those mostly at prices higher than what they would go for at the box office. Not even a thousand available for either of the other two games. There are still some pretty good seats available for purchase directly from the Rangers for all of these games, so this is actually a weekend where my first thought if I want to buy tickets, would be to purchase directly from the Rangers. With the Angels game not starting until 2 hours after the Rangers, unless the Rangers move slow and the Angels quickly, the only way there is going to be a dogpile on Friday night is if they go into the game with a magic number of 1 and win. That means the Rangers win tonight and the Angles lose tonight which certainly could happen.
Saturday September 24 Rangers vs. Mariners 3:10 p.m. This is a change from the game time that will be printed on your tickets in order to make this the national game. As I write this is probably the best bet to be the clinching game, although with the game time moved up there will be no simultaneous help from the Angels. Again, they'll have to go into the game with a magic number of one and win to get it done.
Sunday September 25, 2:05 p.m. Rangers vs. Mariners. If the clinch hasn't been accomplished yet, there will be something seriously wrong if this day doesn't end with a dogpile. The Angels scheduled start time is just half an hour after the Rangers so if the Magic Number is one or even two they could get it done before the day is out. In addition to the fans choice t-shirt giveaway to the first 35,000 (make no mistake, they will run out so get there early if you want one) and the dollar ice cream for the kids, there will be a constant stream of giveaways for fan appreciation day, plus something to commemorate the all time attendance record they will be setting. After the game is done, there will also be a chance to run the bases.Throw in a possible clinch and this could be the mother of all promotional days
I'll post a thread about ALDS game 1 and the ticket situation for that game when (not if) we've clinched a playoff spot. Until then...