Ravens Attendance is Slipping
For the past few years, I’ve discussed the fan experience both at M&T Bank Stadium and the experience of staying at home. The conveniences of staying home far outweigh attending live games and the improvements of that experience with the advancements in electronic technology and the advent of The Red Zone, further improves the at-home option.
That said, when things are going well, assuming the affordability is there for you, there’s nothing like attending live games. Fans of all walks of life, many are mere strangers, bonded together in a sea of purple for three or more hours.
At least that’s how it used to be when I was far more active attending live games.
But things have changed, and not for the better.
Many of the original PSL holders are giving up their tickets. Some sell their PSLs and/or tickets to brokers, and brokers sell to anyone, including fans of the opposing team. Some keep their PSLs but give away the tickets, oftentimes to millennials – some of which are there only for the party. The result is a crowd that is less committed than it once was, showing up late in the first quarter and leaving well before the end of the game.
Making matters worse is the team’s sub .500 record since Super Bowl 47, the lack of exciting playmakers and a team without a clear identity.
Adding to the problem is the emotion stemming from the player protests.
Things can and do change quickly in the NFL. Consider how you felt at this time last week and compare that to the way you are feeling now. Next week, the Ravens could turn today’s frown upside down. Yet one win won’t repair the damage that has taken place over years. Declining attendance has been a gradual erosion. One only needs to compare the prices for PSL’s today against those from the past. It’s the only thing associated with the Ravens that has declined in price. That’s a reflection upon perceived value.
Winning cures a lot and in this mediocre NFL, anything is possible. It’s also possible that the Ravens could lose more than they win during the balance of 2017. What then?
Could Steve Bisciotti attempt to protect his investment and try to reverse the trend of an increasing number of vacated seats? What if the Ravens fail to make the playoffs in 2017? Could Bisciotti stop the hemorrhaging with the same coaching staff?
That might be a tough sell.
Further detracting from the live experience is poor fan behavior. It may show up in the form of profanity not suitable for the youngsters in attendance. It may also show up in the form of violence.
Last season a 55-year old man, Joseph Bauer from Jessup, MD, got mixed up in an altercation with two Raiders fans from the New York region. The incident, which started in a concession line at M&T, left Bauer with permanent brain damage.
This season at a Carolina Panthers game, fans grew agitated over a couple in front of them standing the entire game, blocking their view, even when fans in front of them weren’t standing. Words were exchanged and then a sucker punch flew.
[WARNING: This video may be shocking to some]
On the heels of the player protests and the negative energy that arises from it, coupled with altercations like these, staying home is looking like a far more attractive option.
No concession lines. No one standing in front of you.
And the price ain’t so bad either.