Seating capacity at Citizens Bank Park is 43,651, according to Wikipedia and beat writer Matt Gelb (though the Phillies website still lists 43,647, which Wikipedia lists as the capacity from 2009-2011).
Last night’s attendance? 43,821.
It was the first time attendance dropped under 44,000 since September 7, 2010, when the Phillies reported an attendance of 43,841, and the lowest since the sellout streak began on Tuesday, July 7, 2009, when attendance was 43,623.
The sellout streak currently stands (sits?) at 216 consecutive games. [The June, 2010 series against the Blue Jays, which was originally supposed to be played in Toronto but was moved to Philly because of the G-20 Summit, does not count towards the streak, mostly because two of the games weren’t sold out…]
Now, there’s always quite a bit of fuzzy math that goes into this for publicity purposes. It would seem that the Phillies would count anything over 43,651 as a sellout. But, when the streak began on July 7, 2009, attendance was 43,623, below the listed capacity, which, at that time, was 43,647.
Why, you ask? That's because sellouts are actually counted for games below capacity.
An NBC Philadelphia story from April cites VP of Ticket Sales John Weber as saying that the sellout barrier is about 43,000 (Gelb says it's between 42,900 and 43,100). Weber didn't give specifics about which games in May still had tickets available at the time of the interview (he simply said seats remained for 10 of 14 games in the month), though the answer is probably all of them, since the Phillies make 500 standing-room tickets and other last-minute player and guest releases available on game days. It’s those standing-room tickets, and presumably club and suite sales, that get some games up near 46,000.
Will the streak end tonight or sometime soon?
Again, if there are merely a few hundred seats remaining, you can be damn sure the Phillies are going to find a way to sell them. MLB teams being so closely partnered with StubHub, where they can list their own tickets, makes it very difficult to track just exactly where secondary market tickets originate from. I have my theories, but that’s a whole different discussion. The point is, between the poor play and dreary weather, it’s possible that this sellout streak – spanning nearly an entire era of Phillies baseball – may come to an end soon. Or, at the very least, come close enough to ending that the Phillies will have to get quite creative with attendance figures.
Speaking of… tickets for tonight’s game start at $6 on Crossing Broad Tickets.