Miami Marlins Are Selling So Few Tickets They're Closing the Upper Deck

Remember when the Marlins used to cover the whole upper deck at Sun Life Stadium with a big blue tarp so the game looked a little more full even though only a few thousand people showed up? That was one of the main reasons the team pushed for a much smaller, taxpayer-funded ballpark in Little Havana.

Well, so few people are now showing up to that smaller, taxpayer funded ballpark that the team is now going to close the upper deck there as well.

After a disastrous off-season firesale and months of worse press than even Carnival Cruise Lines, no one has been going to Marlins game this year -- just 12 months after opening Marlins Park, for which county taxpayers will eventually pay more than $1 billion.

The Fish are technically fourth-to-last in the big leagues, with average ticket sales of 18,864 per game. But actual attendance -- especially after the team limped out to a terrible start and the sole remaining star, Giancarlo Stanton, went to the DL -- has been much worse. Just 14,000 came to the second game of the season.

So now, the Marlins are pulling out their favorite Sun Life trick. Starting with next week's series against Cincinnati, fans will only be able to sit in the lower bowl.

That will take about 10,000 of the ballpark's 37,000 seats out of play. The Marlins may actually shutter the top half of the stadium for all their remaining Monday-through-Thursday games, but the team hasn't made that decision official, the Miami Herald reports.

Really, it's a brilliant approach. Why worry about drawing more fans when you can just as easily close more and more of the ballpark? By the season's end, only section directly behind home plate (for the TV effect, of course) and the Clevelander in the outfield will be open to fans.

After all, as team prez David Samson said last year, with taxpayer cash fattening their wallets and MLB's revenue sharing pumping cash flow into the franchise, Jeffrey Loria and co. could really care less if fans are traveling to Little Havana.

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Tim Elfrink is a former investigative reporter and managing editor for Miami New Times. He has won the George Polk Award and was a finalist for the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting.
Contact: Tim Elfrink