Braves fans, surrounded by many empty seats, seek a foul ball during July 5 game against the Phillies at Turner Field. Photo by Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com
Photo: ccompton@ajc.com
Photo: ccompton@ajc.com

Braves’ attendance, TV ratings post 2nd largest drops in majors

By two significant measures — attendance and TV ratings – the Braves’ rebuilding season has proven to be a tough sell with fans.

On both scores, mid-season studies show the Braves have posted the second largest declines in the major leagues.

Attendance at Turner Field is down 4,258 per game from the same point last season, the largest drop of any MLB team except Philadelphia, according to figures compiled by baseball-reference.com.

And local TV ratings for Braves games are down 32 percent compared to midway through last season, the largest drop of any team except the Chicago White Sox, according to a study by Sports Business Journal.

The declines came as the Braves posted a 42-47 record at the All-Star break, a sub-.500 record that was predictable after a flurry of trades that shed payroll and star-power while mostly bringing back young prospects who might pay off in the future. Fans didn’t miss the message of the trades: that the team was being designed to win in 2017, not 2015.

In their next-to-last season in 50,000-seat Turner Field, the Braves have drawn 24,903 fans per game through 40 home dates, ranking 23rd among the 30 MLB teams in announced average attendance. That is down from an average of 29,161 at the same point last season and puts the Braves on pace for their lowest full-season attendance in 25 years.

On Fox Sports South and SportSouth, Braves games have averaged a rating of 2.03 in the Atlanta TV market this season, according to Sports Business Journal’s analysis of Nielsen data. That means 2.03 out of every 100 households in the market have watched Braves telecasts on average.

By comparison, the major-league teams with the highest local TV ratings this season are the Kansas City Royals (12.06) and St. Louis Cardinals (9.25), SBJ reported.

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