We’re the Worst Baseball Fans, Study Says

pic via Allen Schatz
pic via Allen Schatz

Smarty pants people at the Emory Sports Marketing Analytics consortium? have scientifically determined that we suck.

In their study of Attendance Sensitivity to Performance and Prices, ESMA found that Phillies fans are the most fair-weather in all the land:

Screen Shot 2014-06-13 at 1.37.11 PM

Win sensitivity sounds like something that might affect small-boned men or Zack Greinke.

Now, let’s take a look at how ESMA reached their conclusion:

These models are built to estimate team-level response to price and winning percentage.  We use data from 1998 to 2013.  For more on our methodology, please click here.

Team Performance

Our first analysis looks at the responsiveness of fan demand to team winning percentage.  This can be thought of as a measure of how demanding fans are of their teams.  In other words, we are looking at the tolerances fan bases have for losing (or maybe we could view this as insight into which cities are the most prone to bandwagon behavior).

Well, shit. Honestly? It’s hard to refute this, as much as I’d like to. 1998-2013 is a pretty wide swath encompassing several Phillies eras.

You have the we’ve sucked for a long time now and we still do era from 1998-2002.

The we’re contending because we have Jim Thome era starting and ending in 2003.

The new ballpark era from 2004-2006.

The we’re the best team in the division era from 2007-2011.

And the this is it, Michael Jackson era from 2012 through TBD but presumably at least 2018.

In other words: it’s a large enough sample size, and you don’t need figures to know that attendance kind of sucked until the new ballpark, then it was great for eight years, and now it kind of sucks again. There’s an arc there, and it mostly correlates with the Phillies’ success… which I guess makes us bandwagon fans. But. But there are some outliers. The new ballpark is a big one, so is the development of two MVPs (Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins), a World Championship, mega signings, a no-hitter and a perfect game, Chase Utley’s majestic beauty… and then the GM completely decimating the team because he’s inept. For the last decade, the Phillies have been operating outside of normal parameters, on both ends of the Spectrum (sort of literally), so the truth in our fandom is probably somewhere in the middle: yes, we’re bandwagon-ish, but the massive spike around 2007 is as understandable as the massive decline over the past year. The Phillies went from great to awful in a hurry, meaning that these losing seasons are a painful reminder of what once was. Had the Phils slowly returned to Earth and then to the hell in which they now reside, we might be more tolerant of the losses and just enjoy the team for what it is. But right now we’re mad. Joe Jackson mad. So the decline in attendance is understandable. Mostly. Maybe. Or not. Shit, we suck.

via NBC Philadelphia


51 Responses

  1. When the team sucks, attendance sucks (as it should). We don’t need no study to tell us that.

  2. So what’s the conclusion of this study: fans of teams that suck but still go to their games are the BEST fans in baseball? If my team sucks, why would I want to pay for tickets/parking/concessions if I know I’m going to watch a shitty product? Fair weather my ass. I consider myself a great fan of the Eagles/Phillies/Flyers, but my attendance at their sporting events is directly correlated with their win/loss record, and I for one don’t think that’s a problem. Yeah I’ll still make it to 2-3 Phils games this year just because I love baseball, but if they were playing better you bet your sweet ass I’d go to more games. In the meantime, I’ll watch them suck from the comfort of my living room.

    1. What a bullshit excuse. Sorry that the 10 dollar standing room only tickets are breaking your bank bro. If you only go to a game when the team is good, you are a douchebag.

      1. No dickbag, we only go to the games when ownership/management puts the effort into fielding a competetive team!

        1. They have what, the 3rd highest payroll? But they are making no effort, got it.

  3. Definitely a huge bandwagoning element, but I think attendance this year is more because there is absolutely nothing to be excited about because of the GM. Going into a season with things looking up, like 2007 or maybe even 2005 is one thing. Going into a season knowing you’re on top like 2009 is another thing. And then going into a season being sold a shit sandwich by your GM as if the awful team he constructed is actually worth watching let alone potentially contending – also known as the Mets every year since 2006 – is quite another.

    This team could be even worse next year, but as long as they move old pieces and fire the GM, I guarantee attendance will increase.

    1. It doesn’t say they’re the third “best” fans.

      The Marlins have made the postseason once (2003) since this study began and they were 28th in attendance that season. Basically, the Marlins have poor attendance figures whether they’re good or bad so their “win sensitivity” doesn’t go from one end of the spectrum to the other like the Phillies’ has over the last 16 years.

  4. You idiots who are defending not being bandwagon fans and then saying you won’t go to a game because they suck. Newsflash. That’s called being a bandwagon fan. So save the time and comment with “I agree, this study is accurate” vs arguing a point that you ultimately agree with.

    1. Fuck off idiot! We so-called bandwagon fans can discern the difference between:

      a major-league-caliber team that loses some games because they went up against a better team or just the “any given night” syndrome,


      a collection of garbage put together by an imbecilic GM and condoned by a clueless buffoon of a president. The reason there are so many unskilled uniformed employees masquerading as “players” is because said imbecile shot his financial wad on o er-the-hill players who were already on the downside before their last contract was signed. Now, the jagoff has to round out a 25-man roster with double-A stiffs.

      On top of everything, management glosses over the whole charade with idiotic shit like the phanatic, retro nights, dollar dog nights, and all manner of distractions.

      1. And it’s dickbags like YOU that continue to hand over your money to Montgomery that enable him to proceed without making any changes. WHy should he, if he’s still making money?

        Fucking koolade-drinking lemming!

    2. There is a huge difference between “bandwagon fans” and “if the owners are going to put this crap on the field then i’m not spending my hard earned money on them fans.”

      1. Are you serious? You won’t go so you don’t enable Montgomery. You really think would notice the one beer you buy, the one hot dog and the $35 you spend on nose bleed seats?? That dude spent more on his breakfast this morning than you all did collectively on the rent you pay your parents for their basement every month.

        1. You must be from Delco with that much empty space between your ears.

          Of course he won’t feel 1 person staying home, but THOUSANDS have already stayed away from the game, concessions, and parking lots in droves. The dumber Amaro gets, the more seats that will remain empty.

          In the meantime, I sleep well knowing I’m not financing that ass-bag Montgomery (directly, or through comcast).

        2. Really? “Parents’ basement” jokes? Is that the best you got?

          YOU are the idiot.

  5. So… we’re not a bandwagon fanbase because we’re reacting to the abrupt awfulness and staging a protest? Unlikely. I think it’s much more reasonable to apply Occam’s Razor.
    Losing = bad attendance.
    Winning = good attendance.
    Being that the Phillies’ attendance follows those markers, that makes it a bandwagon fanbase. That’s fine… as long as no one is judging other teams for having such fanbases and using the Phillies as a counter-example. Saying that attendance was artificially high due to extreme success (perfect games, best team in the division, etc.) is tenuous at best. Likewise, attaching the rate at which they became bad team to why attendance might be lower than if they gradually became worse and worse is grasping at straws. For the Phillies, winning = attendance. End of story.

    Also, the report states “It seems the Phillies should charge more [for tickets] and use the funds to invest in players.” It appears as if there’s a good chance this was assembled by people without any real knowledge of baseball. The Phillies’ issue isn’t in how much money they spend on players but how they choose which players on whom to spend it. I can understand that the authors wouldn’t be familiar with every team, but they should do at least a little bit of research for the team they’re listing as “best” or “worst.”

  6. When the Marlins, who consistently draw no one, are rated as one of the most loyal fanbases, there is something wrong with the formula used.

    1. BTW, my last post was put in to be approved because I had the word “h0rse$hit” in it? WTF is going on here?

  7. Let me get this straight: the first professional sports franchise IN THE WORLD to reach 10,000 losses has fans that are kind of sick of watching them? Huh, weird.

    The Phailies are back to where they belong in the natural order of the universe. If you were alive in 1980 and reading this today, you should consider yourself lucky to have been around for their only two WS wins in their 131 loser history.

  8. You think this has any correlation to the fact that the administrator of “Philly’s Most Irreverent Sports Blog” stops watching and reporting on the Phillies the second they fall out of playoff contention?

    You are what’s wrong with us, Kyle.

    1. That’s not fair, he blurbed that a late pick in this year’s draft had a DUI. That’s just as good as ever mentioning Nola was our highest pick in like a decade, or something.

  9. NONE of you CAC’s have to cajones to say Jimmy was right, huh? I’ll say it: JIMMY WAS RIGHT!!!!

    1. That’s right ShoNuff. I’se be gittin’ mah nig ass out of this cracka town just as soon as I brake Shitty’s record!

    2. No Afro Puffs, RICHIE ALLEN WAS RIGHT – this town has no time for lazy-assed bruthas.

      (And I agree with him. They need to shuffle their lazy asses out of town ASAP. You can go with them. Maybe get a job as Andrew Bynum’s jock-sniffer.)

    3. You better get off this site and get ready for that Scott bachelor party this weekend! They’ve requested several costumes including Zulu Warrior and something called LA Kings Security Guard(?). Watch out for rufies.. they keep insisting we send them someone “too buku”, whatever that means.

  10. Wow, what an eye-opening study. Teams that vary the most between awful and unbeatable have the highest “attendance sensitivity.” The teams that no one cares about have very little fluctuation (Marlins) and the teams that haven’t had a losing season throughout the sample period (Yankees) are the most “loyal.” Profound.

  11. Two World Series in 130 year history, the most losses of any team with more than 10,500 losses and it could go on and on. The idiots are the ones that show up to watch this disaster. You can watch the games. What the hell, Comcast collects the Phil’s money from its subscribers whether you watch the games or not.

    1. Kyle, next year those that lose in the first round of the 64-whatever-the-hell-it-was-called should have to stay off the air for 6 months. Call it an entry fee.

  12. The fact that the Atlanta Braves fans were not #1 or even top 8 makes this analysis a complete joke. By far the worst fans in baseball. Won the division what 14 straight years and still don’t sellout including a playoff game a few years ago. Obviously their were tons of bandwagon fans since the Phils won but nothing compares to Atlanta.

    That is all.

    1. Atlanta is like 60% black… last time I went to a Phillies game I saw two not wearing pinstripes or selling me food.

    2. Your comment makes no sense. If the Braves aren’t selling out when they’re in the playoffs then they’re clearly not bandwagon fans…

  13. I feel like we’ve also had the most win volatility over the last decade and a half, so that doesn’t surprise me. I’m not going to back that up with information though because that leaves my hypothesis open to dispute.

  14. We have only won 5 pennants in last 34 years, so every year we don’t win the pennant of course I say, “we can’t win, fire somebody” . Statistically for the idiots out there, it is supposed to take 75 years to win 5 pennants, but I think uniformed fans like me know better. I like to say “blow it up”, because “blowing it up” has worked out so well for the Sixers. I know this to be true, as I go to a Sixers game every 15 years or so. I am a SABR expert. If someone hits .320, that just means they’re a bum .680 of the time. I hate when Ryan Howard strikes out, because I would rather see him “make contact”, even if it results in a double play. I am a Philadelphia fan, and I am proud to say, I know nothing about sports except getting drunk and using foul language.

    1. Wow that’s great. Yeah all Philly fans who want “someone” (read: Ruben Amaro, Jr.) fired are totally wrong. He’s definitely a great GM who has done well. I mean look at all the prospects he’s acquired in deals and how much recent minor league talent we have. He’s totally a great talent evaluator.

      Also, don’t give us this 75 years to win 5 pennants bullshit. We’re not supposed to be an average MLB team. We have the third highest payroll in baseball and are supposed to be one of the premier destinations for free agents and people wanting trades. You think Red Sox and Yankee fans would be satisfied if they won one pennant every 15 years? No way. Get a fucking clue, you clown. Amaro sucks as a GM. If you think fans are wrong in saying he should be fired, then you may actually be mentally handicapped.

  15. No more than most other fans in other cities. Have you checked the attendance of some of the other ballparks?

  16. It’s not just the wins, it’s the hope.

    Few, if any, other baseball team in the sport is as bereft without the possibility of success as the Phillies.

    Our GM is an idiot janitor and could be replaced by WIP callers and it would be an improvement.

    We have hundreds of millions of dollars locked up for years to come in players who have already called it a career.

    People went to the game, or at least listened to Harry, in order to see the team take shape. What possible reason would you have to see a game now? I mean, really, what? We’ve already flipped to the end of the book. There is nothing here and nothing coming and no way to get anything because of salary commitments. It’s not just that they’re bad, it’s that there’s nothing to see and nothing that CAN be seen in the near future.

  17. Hey Realist. The same idiots they say Phillies have gotten worse since they won the World Series are the clueless ones. The same ones that used to boo Schmitty all the time. Only the greatest 3rd baseman ever. And they booed whenever he struck out. Because they do not understand averages and statistics. Of course, you can only “get worse” after winning the World Series, except RAJ actually improved the team. Won a pennant in 2009, and set franchise record for wins 3 years after WS win. Fans want to go for it, but then whine about the hangover. Sound familiar to you? Why not go for it when you can? RAJ did it right. Ed Wade would never have gotten ownership to spend the money. Rememebr letting Schilling , JD Drew, and Scott Rolen walk away? …..Never forget, Realist, Never forget. Phils still 12th out of 30 teams in attendance, by the way So it is funny how CB focuses on misrepresenting the attendance.

    1. ” Phils still 12th out of 30 teams in attendance, by the way ”

      Wow, is this .300 Monty? Who else would measure their team’s success by attendance and not wins?


  18. kyle scott’s mother is such a whore. you guys have NO idea!!!

    also……sean brace? really? how the fuck am i STILL getting paid to talk about sports on the radio?!?!??!!? hahaha…..i am TERRIBLE.

  19. I thought these comments were like the mob: mothers, wives and kids were off limits.

    Brace still being on the air will forever be one of the great mysteries in the history of broadcasting.

  20. Mikey Mess, Whaah! no one is coming to the games, Whaah! “Fire RAJ” ..yeah lets go back to the years of Phils being 24th in payroll like they were in 2001. Then it will go from “Fire Cholly” , “Fire RAJ”, to “We need new owners! ” Whaah….Classic Philly…appreciate the fact that RAJ has the ability to spend or you will be watching the likes of Felipe Crespo, Jason Michaels, and Eric Valent all over again. Did you watch many games back then?—-By the way, I can’t believe you are still on 97.5. You are not very good.

    1. Jesus, you’re an amazing idiot. Must be Phillies front office. There is no justifying the vast majority of Amaro moves, financially nor statistically.

      The fact that you chose to launch into this screed only a few days after Rube publicly exhibits not understanding the difference between at bats and plate appearances makes it even funnier.

  21. You are proving my point. Philly fans just want change whenever they are not in first place. When Chip Kelly was 3-5, everyone was off the bandwagon as they will be again when Birds finish 7-9. Attention span of ants. Its not about RAJ, its more about the hatred that spews from the ohilly fans who do not understand the law of averages. This team is likely at its end, but it will be a long rebuilding process, so why not let it run 1 more year? Do you really care whether it takes 9 or ten years to rebuild ? See Sixers for example. Everyone wanted Rub to go for it and sign Lee and Hamels. Now they whine and whine and whine. Howard’s contract? Seriously 25 million? Thats rip up money for owners. Do you have any idea how little that is to people who have money? They have over 300 million + in revenue, and Howard attracts fans because of his power, even as it is declining. The MLB model allows one to overpay for sluggers. Not sign Jimmy? Seriously, there were better SS available to sign? Did RAJ misstep in not signing BJ Upton? Nope. Did he misstep in not signing Josh Hamilton? Nope. Wasn’t because of money. Was because of value.

    1. Not about spending $. It’s about judging who can play and who can’t; especially prospects. Anybody can spend $. See St. Louis Cardinals, Oakland Athletics, and Florida Marlins for reference materials.

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