A few weeks ago, I mentioned the work of independent baseball statistician Scott Lindholm. Lindholm recently gave a presentation on MLB attendance trends to a SABR Chicago/Milwaukee gathering. The whole briefing is interesting, if you like big picture data trends.
In Part 3 of his presentation, Lindholm gives his thoughts on Rays attendance. Lindholm is not from Tampa Bay so he assumes “wins = attendance”, which Tampa Bay has proven is not true. If you put a stadium in Siberia, few people will go, even if the team is undefeated. There is a norm for how far people will travel for baseball. The further out from the park a population is, the smaller the percentage of fans that will attend.
I don’t want to criticize Lindholm for the work he did. It’s all great stuff. But while overall attendance is great, when he starts getting into individual teams, his presentation has gaps. These gaps show the need for local attendance subject matter experts. Ones who can add context to data and tell the whole story.