“Build it and they will come.”
That’s been the mantra of many a sports owner hoping for a boost in attendance with shiny new facility.
As the first week of the opening of SunTrust Park comes to an end, we wanted to see how attendance was faring at the Braves new home.
VERIFY: Is attendance up for the Braves?
While the question sounds simple, the answer isn’t so easy to determine.
One important thing we want to note: According to the North American Association of Sports Economists, the quality of a team has zero impact on attendance in year one of a stadium, so when we start comparing years, it doesn’t matter how good the team was.
Through the first six games at SunTrust Park, the Braves have averaged a little more than 31,000 fans. That’s 76 percent capacity at the new stadium.
Back in 1997 when the Braves opened Turner Field. for the first 6 games, it was filled to 76 percent capacity -- exactly the same as SunTrust Park.
But Turner Field was larger. So while the percentage numbers are the same, 43,000 more people went to opening week at Turner Field than at SunTrust Park.
So is attendance up for the Braves vs. The opening of Turner Field? No. It is not.
What about comparing attendance to last year?
This year: 76 percent capacity and 188,000 fans attended games in the first week.
Turner Field last year? 55 percent capacity and 162,000 fans.
This one is clear. Attendance is up for the Braves compared to last year.
Before SunTrust Park opened, Braves officials told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that they wanted to see 3 million people walk through the turnstiles in year one. That would be 90 percent capacity. the trend right now says they’ll fall far short of that.
But for the team owners, Liberty Media, the only number that matters? 24.82. That’s the stock price. This time last year? 18.05. Are they happy with their investment in SunTrust Park? We’ll say that’s verified, too.
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