The honeymoon with Target Field is officially over.
The cavernous stadium sat largely empty as two last place teams played out the string of their lost seasons on Wednesday under overcast skies, a scarce crowd attending the Minnesota Twins’ final home game against the Arizona Diamondbacks. After a fourth straight season of 90 losses or more, combined with poor weather and a weekday afternoon game, the setting had an eerie silence that resembled an early season high school scrimmage and not the setting of a major league baseball game.
With all the gloom and doom, it’s difficult to believe that this palatial stadium was the epicenter for all Major League Baseball fans just two short months ago. With all the festivities and events, almost two hundred thousand fans worked their way through the turnstiles during the midsummer classic weekend while 11 million fans tuned in to watch Glen Perkins, Kurt Suzuki, and the rest of the MLB All-Stars in what turned out to be a 4 hour homage to Derek Jeter on television. The Twin Cities was represented well and by all accounts the 4 day celebration went off without a hitch except for a short rain delay during the Home Run Contest. All was well for the patrons of Target Field, or so we wanted to believe.
Even before that glorious period when all eyes were on Minnesota, there were warning signs that the fan following had waned and the honeymoon period for Target Field was beginning to fade. According to Forbes, attendance for the first 43 games in 2014 was 1,193,669 which sounds impressive until you realize that is a 10.15 percent decrease from 2013. The figures for the second half of the 2014 season show an even sharper drop-off with only 1,027,492 paying for tickets through yesterday’s game. That’s compared to a 2013 2nd half attendance of 1,149,171. That is with the team actually having a better record by one win than the 2013 squad had on this date last year.
Crunching the numbers, the conclusion is clear: Target Field is no longer enough of a draw for fans to attend Twins games.
Without the All-Star Game to promote as well as rumors that the team roster and staff will remain status quo, a large drop-off in both season and single-game ticket sales can be expected until the fortunes of the Twins make a positive turn.
If it doesn’t, the spark of romance between Twins fans and Target Field may never get reignited.