I got a phone call yesterday from the Milwaukee Brewers office: “Hi this is Mark from the Milwaukee Brewers. We saw that you bought tickets from us last year. Would you be interested in a buying a 10-pack?” Yes I would!
The baseball season is almost here, folks, and I’m ready to see the Brewers in action. Watching Carlos Gomez fly around the base paths, chanting “MVP” as Ryan Braun steps into the box and cheering with splendor as a Kyle Lohse fastball is called “Strike Three”.
The signing of Lohse has been a controversial one. Our own J.P. Breen tried to make sense of it and so did dozens of other baseball writers. The general consensus seems to be that while the signing has made the team better in the short run: a) the Brewers may still not be good enough to get a playoff spot, and b) it makes the already below-average farm system even worse; an important aspect of a small-market team. But as a friend recently told me, “I don’t care about the farm system: Let’s go Brewers!”
And she’s not alone. Most baseball fans care much more about the team they have now than the promise of a better team in the future (ask a Houston Astros fan). Milwaukee fans, in particular, are known to come out and support their team despite being in one of the lowest populated areas. Last year, despite an abysmal start and a faltering bullpen Miller Park was 6th in attendance in 2012 among National League Teams.
Rob Neyer of SB Nation had this to say:
The Brewers have constructed a sort of unspoken compact with their fans: We’ll keep trying to win if you keep showing up. And the fans, vice versa.
And boy is he right. Take a look at this chart of attendance, wins and payroll at Miller Park since 2002. I ignored the 2001 point as an outlier because it was the park’s first year. Since 2004, Mark Attanasio has built a culture of winning in Milwaukee and the fans have responded.
Brewers tickets cost $57.74 on average (lowest in the majors). As the chart shows, 240,000 fewer people attended in 2012 than 2011. Having Lohse on the team makes the Brewers better contenders and more people will attend the games. If he can bring in 190,000 of those “lost” fans, he’ll pay for himself this year. According to USA Today, such a return on investment is already on its way. On the day that Lohse was signed, the Brewers sold 34,000 tickets.
But even if he doesn’t, Kyle Lohse and the rest of the players are going to be fun to watch. And at the end of the day, that’s what matters. Baseball is entertainment. So I’m calling Mark and letting him know that I want another 10 pack. Let the fun begin!