Rehab Assignments and Minor League Attendance

My buddy Frank Stephenson sends me the following about John Smoltz’s recent outing in Rome.

In my paper on beer sales and Rome attendance, I found that Chipper’s rehab appearances increased Rome’s attendance by about one-third (all else constant). After attending Smoltz’s Thursday rehab game in Rome and seeing the sold out park I was curious about the increase attributable to Smoltz. I had my research assistant Tyler pull together Rome’s attendance data for this year and we found that in three previous Thursday night home games the team averaged about 3,300 fans. The 5,105 on hand for Smoltz’s game therefore represents a 54% increase over other Thursday night games this season. While this quickly calculation should be treated with some caution because I may not have accounted for all other factors (e.g., promotions), it looks like Smoltz had a bigger fan effect than did Chipper.

BTW, comparing Smoltz’s Saturday game to previous Saturdays yields an increase of only 5% or so, but this effect is attenuated by the stadium’s capacity. On previous Saturdays the team virtually sold out the stadium (average of 4,843 with capacity of 5,105) so the Smoltz effect bumps up against the stadium capacity.

2 Responses “Rehab Assignments and Minor League Attendance”

  1. Mike says:

    Rehab assignments definetely help attendance at minor league games. Without Major Leaguers rehabbing minor league teams are desperate for fans, and do some pretty crazy stuff to bring people in. As a result minor league games sometimes are more fun than Major League games!

    I posted on my site about a minor league team in Texas that paid tribute to Eddie Gaedel, the midget who got one at bat for the St. Louis Browns back in the day, by having a professional wrestling midget take an at bat and then wrestle another midget after the game.

    Pretty nuts. I might have watched that game over a Yankees/Red Sox game!

  2. Ken Houghton says:

    Was there a decline over time with Chipper? (Not questioning the premise–Chipper wouldn’t drag me to a ballpark the way Smoltz would–but a player’s first appearance would be more of an “occasion.”