The news is not good. In fact it is downright scary.
Consider this: of all franchises in all sports, the lowly Seattle Mariners have seen the biggest drop in attendance. MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL, group them all together and Mariner fans have left what they perceive as a sinking ship at a faster rate than anyone.
Between 2002 and 2012, according to the website 24/7 Wall Street, the attendance at Mariner games at Safeco dropped like a deadened bunt, to the thud of 51%.
Losing half your fan base in a decade says a lot. One can blame the economy and rising gas prices that keep those outside King County from going to many games, but that is, to some extent, a red herring.
The real problem is ownership and a string of poor General Managers who traded away promising rookies, or lost them to free agency, and signing, or trading for players who stunk up Seattle like rotting fish in a Pike Street Market dumpster. Adam Jones, Shin-Soo Choo, and Mike Morse are three former Mariners that have gone on to star for other teams. What a big difference thy could have made, had they stayed in Seattle.
Fans have sent a message to the Mariner brass. They are tired of bad player moves, they are tired of losing every season, they are tired rising ticket prices for mediocre teams, they are tired of bad community relations like ownership not wanting an arena built in the SoDo district.The message ownership sent was clear. They said they were interested in profits, not going to the World Series. Thank you Howard Lincoln. They were unwilling to spend money to bring in a winner. I can understand how over the years they became gun shy. Consider Chone Figgins. When they did try to land free agents, they were often burned. But that gets back to wrong decisions. Figgins and Ichiro were the same type of player, both singles hitters. Third base is a power slot. The signing made no sense.
But you still must spend money to make money. You can always make a profit, make up the money spent by fielding a winner, getting into the playoffs. More games, more marketing, more money. Fans in today’s age want to see a winner, especially when they are overpaying on seats and concessions. But the Mariners were content with profits they continued to make. Until recently.
I wonder if the brass has read the article that said the Mariners have dropped 51% of their fans. Are they now going to wake up? Are they now going to bring in the right players to get the good ship Mariner sailing fast in deep waters? Or are they going to continue to sail in shallow waters, probably running aground on a sandy beach on an uncharted island?
If the downward spiral continues, maybe the Mariners will follow the Sonics to Oklahoma City.