Fans try to catch a home-run ball at the Braves’ game against the Padres on April 15, a Saturday night. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

LEADOFF: How Braves attendance differs on weeknights, weekends

Good morning. This is LEADOFF, the early buzz in Atlanta sports.

Through two homestands at SunTrust Park, the Braves’ attendance pattern has been pronounced: good crowds on weekends, not-so-good on weeknights.

The Braves have averaged 39,136 fans for their six home games played on Friday nights, Saturday nights and Sunday afternoons. But they have averaged 23,090 fans for the seven home games played on Monday through Thursday nights.

Overall, the Braves have averaged 30,496 per game for their first 13 games at the new stadium.

That’s an increase of 4,980 fans per game – 20 percent — from an average of 25,516 for their first 13 games at Turner Field last season.

But the 20-percent increase is smaller than the average boost of 28 percent that MLB teams have posted in their first full seasons in new stadiums since 2000. See first-year attendance figures for new stadiums here.

(The Braves have played the same number of weekend home games as at this point last season.)

Below is a look at how at the team has fared at SunTrust Park. (The red line constitutes the average attendance over the season. Hover over the columns -- or select a group of columns -- to get details on the games and attendance. You also can filter by opponents.)

The Braves’ sharp difference between weeknight and weekend attendance reflects the team’s long trend of drawing significantly less on weeknights during the school year than in the summer.

The Braves have drawn four crowds of 40,000-plus at SunTrust Park, all during weekend series. The stadium has a capacity of 41,149, about 9,000 less than Turner Field.

On the other hand, the Braves have had five crowds below 23,000 at SunTrust, all on weeknights, including a low of 21,359 for last Tuesday’s game against the Mets. At the same point last season, the smallest crowd at The Ted had been 14,160.

Braves officials expect to get a typical summer boost in weeknight attendance. But the extent of such a boost will be influenced by the team’s on-field performance, which so far has done the ticket sellers no favors: an 11-18 record, which comes to a .379 winning percentage, which projects to a 100-loss pace.

For all of last season, the Braves averaged 25,104 fans for 80 games at Turner Field. The summer boost was deflated by the Braves being far out of contention, resulting in their second lowest attendance for a season in 26 years.

The Braves currently rank 12th among the 30 MLB teams in average home attendance, compared to 22nd for all of last season.

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CHATTER …

Hawks owner Tony Ressler on his new stance that the coach shouldn’t run the basketball operations department: “I would say that other franchises have success with all kinds of structures. From my perspective, I love the idea of a head coach, particularly a head coach as talented as Mike Budenholzer, to be a head coach and not be, shall we say, conflicted by other requirements. I believe, and maybe more importantly Bud believes, that will help free him to do what he does best.” More here.

ESPN’s recent round of layoffs didn’t snare Tim Tebow. The network announced Monday it has reached a multi-year contract extension with the former Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback and current minor-league baseball player to continue as a college football analyst on ESPN and SEC Network. More here.

The Georgia-Georgia Tech baseball rivalry enters a new chapter tonight: a game at SunTrust Park. More here.

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