Photo of a poorly attended Baltimore Orioles game at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

Image Credit: Greg Loesch (CC BY 2.0)

The Baltimore Orioles set an all-time low for single game attendance earlier this week when they hosted the Toronto Blue Jays at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The official attendance was 7,915 which is just 17% of the stadium’s capacity. The previous all-time low for single game attendance was set on April 12, 2010 when the Orioles hosted the Tampa Bay Rays. If we wanted to get technical, the all-time low for single game attendance occurred on April 29, 2015 vs. the Chicago White Sox when all baseball fans were barred entry due to the ongoing Baltimore riots.

One explanation for the poor turnout Monday night is that the organization currently allows partial season ticket holders to swap out tickets for future games if they change their mind and don't want to attend an upcoming game. This is a rare ticketing practice in Major League Baseball. The poor weather was certainly a factor with temperatures hovering in the low 40’s and was accompanied by wind and rain. The Cleveland Indians played in the coldest game in Progressive Field history earlier this week and the Chicago Cubs cancelled their home opener at Wrigley Field due to snow. 

The Baltimore Orioles put together an outstanding season in 2014 by finishing first in the American League East but attendance has been slowly decreasing every season since. Following the riots of 2015, many are speculating whether or not baseball fans feel safe journeying into downtown Baltimore for Orioles games anymore. However, other Major League Baseball teams also struggled with their home attendance earlier this week as well. The Miami Marlins set the franchise’s all-time low for single game attendance vs. the New York Mets and a Chicago White Sox day game vs. the Tampa Bay Rays drew only 974 fans.

The Baltimore Orioles rarely draw big crowds when hosting the Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays; especially compared to when they host the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox. Between 1992 and 2000, the average attendance for a Baltimore Orioles home game exceeded 40,000 people. Those were, of course, the Cal Ripkin Jr. and Brady Anderson years and before the Montreal Expos relocated and became the Washington Nationals. By 2005, average single game attendance at Camden Yards dropped to the low 30K’s and by 2011, the Baltimore Orioles were only averaging just over 21,000 fans per game. In 2017, the Baltimore Orioles finished 25th in overall attendance out of 30 Major League Baseball teams.

Photo of the exterior of Oriole Park at Camden Yards, home of the Baltimore Orioles.

In 2018, the Baltimore Orioles are offering two free upper level tickets for children under the age of 9 that are accompanied by an adult that purchases a ticket at full price. The program is called “Kid’s Cheer Free” and is aimed at stimulating interest in children that will continue to come to Baltimore Orioles games when they get older. Although we hope they’re successful with this campaign, it’s a shame considering Oriole Park at Camden Yards is arguably one of the best ballparks in Major League Baseball.


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