The Miami Marlins opened their wallets big time this off-season. They re-signed Giancarlo Stanton to a blockbuster $325 million, 13-year deal. They gave Christian Yelich a seven-year deal worth almost $50 million. Then they brought in Michael Morse for two years for $16 million. Their total payroll is up around $15 million overall from last year (though it still remains the lowest in the National League).
So what did all of that money get them? So far, a 24-36 season that puts the team in fourth place in the NL East — and a still incredibly apathetic fan base.
More than a third of the way into the season, the Marlins still have the lowest attendance in the National League. Only the American League's Cleveland Indians and Tampa Bay Rays attract fewer fans.
Through 28 home games, the Marlins have played before an average crowd of only 20,388.
That's down from last year's 21,386 average, though it is just slightly up from 2013's 19,584-per-game attendance.
Either way, after a bit of a surge in 2012, the year Marlins Park opened (that season averaged 27,400 fans a game), the Marlins have been near the bottom in attendance every single year despite that shiny new stadium built with taxpayer money.
Oddly, the Marlins are 13th in the league when it comes to crowds they're playing in front of during road games, with an average of 30,492 fans, but that may be more of a function of the teams they've played so far than the Marlins being a big road draw. Ten of their road games have been against the Washington Nationals, San Francisco Giants, and Los Angeles Dodgers, which are each in the top ten for attendance this season.
The Marlins' best-attended game this season was opening day against the Atlanta Braves, with 36,969 fans in attendance (a sellout). Their worse attendance for a home game this season was a Tuesday, May 19 game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, during which only 16,034 people bothered to show up.
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