Twins’ losses even extend to ticket sales

  • Article by: MIKE KASZUBA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 17, 2014 - 9:42 AM
hide

Target Field

Photo: David Brewster, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Five years after Target Field opened, the Minnesota Twins for the first time are in danger of drawing fewer fans in a season than they did in the team’s final year at the Metrodome.

After peaking at 3.2 million fans in Target Field’s first year, the team’s attendance has steadily fallen, with the Twins drawing 2.47 million fans last year. At the Metrodome, which is being torn down, the team drew 2.416 million fans and won a division championship in 2009, its last year in the multipurpose stadium.

This year, the Twins are still hoping to reach 2.5 million fans — with the boost of Minnesota hosting its first Major League Baseball All-Star Game in nearly 30 years. But the team acknowledged that it had sold 1.6 million tickets so far for this year, behind the 1.75 million tickets sold at this time a year ago.

“Shame on us,” said Twins President David St. Peter, who had predicted that the team would level off at 2.7 million fans after Target Field’s initial seasons. “I didn’t anticipate losing 90-some games in 2012, and I certainly didn’t anticipate losing 96 games in 2013.”

In 2011, the team’s second year at Target Field, the Twins narrowly missed losing 100 games, finishing with 99 losses. St. Peter said the three consecutive 90-loss seasons — even with a new $555 million publicly subsidized ballpark — is “going to take a toll.”

Team officials also said that season tickets — a fuller barometer of interest in the Twins — have fallen sharply. After selling 25,000 season tickets in each of the first two years at Target Field, the total dropped to 23,000 in 2012 and 19,000 in 2013, and stands at 17,100 heading into this season’s home opener on April 7. The team said it hoped to reach 17,500 season tickets for this year.

Still, the Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce is briskly selling tickets for its annual season kickoff luncheon in April.

“There’s a lot of buzz,” said Todd Klingel, the chamber’s president. “[But] they owe us a better team, and I’m glad Mr. St. Peter realizes it.”

Klingel said the annual luncheon typically sells out; this year’s event is charging $1,000 for a table of nine to have lunch with a Twins player or coach. He also said there is heavy interest again in the chamber’s eight season tickets — in the second row, behind the visitor’s dugout with a view of the downtown Minneapolis skyline.

“They’re spending some money and trying to fix enough of the problems to actually be competitive,” said Klingel.

For some Twins fans, that is hardly enough.

At his sports memorabilia store at Rosedale Mall, owner Ryan Marshall said interest in the team and the sale of Twins merchandise are both down. “They built this giant new stadium, and I go there probably 10 to 15 times a year and I spend all this money, and it just seems like they’re putting it directly in their pocket” and not signing better players, Marshall said.

“It almost seems like a ‘Scrooge effect.’ They’re like, ‘Well, whatever. We know these people are going to come, so why reinvest it in players?’ ” he said. “The nostalgia of a new stadium is going to wear off, and then what do you got?”

St. Peter said it was unfair to compare current ticket sales to the Twins’ last year at the Metrodome. He said that even with 2009 being the last year there — and with the Twins winning the division that year — the team still sold only 11,000 season tickets.

“If you’re going to start to cite the Metrodome, you should cite average attendance in the Metrodome over a decade period — good years, bad years,” he said. Comparing 2009 to the Twins ticket-sales issue now, said St. Peter, is “apples to oranges.”

During a 10-year period at the Metrodome ending in 2004, with the Twins generally fielding losing teams and as the lobbying began for a new ballpark, the team never drew more than 1.9 million fans. The Dome’s biggest attendance year — 3 million fans — was in 1988, the year after the Twins won the franchise’s first World Series.

Former state Sen. Steve Kelley, a lead legislative proponent of the public-subsidy package to build Target Field, said he never believed that a new ballpark would automatically translate into a winning team. “There’s no way to build a building that will guarantee success,” said Kelley, who said he has only been to Target Field a “couple of times.”

“Some legislators may have thought this will just sort of fix all problems,” Kelley said of Target Field. But he said he and others always felt that the new ballpark simply “gives the Twins the best opportunity to compete [and that] then the responsibility’s in their hands.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions
Final123456789RHE
Minnesota000000000040
Detroit «00100002X340
@Ballpark Replay
Preview | Matchup | Lineup | Log | Wrap | Box
W:D.Price(15-12) L:K.Gibson(13-12) S:J.Nathan (35)
HR: MIN- None DET- I.Kinsler (17)

ADVERTISEMENT

Kansas City - WP: J. Guthrie 3 FINAL
San Francisco - LP: T. Hudson 2
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Atlanta
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Baltimore 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Miami 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Chicago 10/26/14 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 10/26/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Oakland 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Cleveland
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Pittsburgh
Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Washington 10/27/14 7:30 PM
Dallas
New Orleans 10/30/14 7:25 PM
Carolina
Dallas 117 FINAL
Orlando 92
New York 80 FINAL
Toronto 83
San Antonio 87 FINAL
Houston 96
Miami 104 FINAL
Memphis 98
Minnesota 113 FINAL
Chicago 112
Phoenix 105 FINAL
Utah 100
Sacramento 93 FINAL
LA Lakers 92
Denver 78 3rd Qtr 0:34
Golden State 90
Portland 88 4th Qtr 5:53
LA Clippers 76
Dallas 3 FINAL(SO)
New Jersey 2
Tampa Bay 4 FINAL
Winnipeg 2
Vancouver 3 FINAL
Colorado 7
Carolina 3 FINAL
Edmonton 6
Columbus 1 FINAL
Anaheim 4
Connecticut 21 FINAL
(18) East Carolina 31
Miami-Florida 30 FINAL
Virginia Tech 6
So Florida 17 FINAL
Cincinnati 34
Troy 13 FINAL
South Alabama 27
BYU 30 FINAL
Boise State 55
(6) Oregon 45 3rd Qtr 13:25
California 28
North Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Rice
UAB 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Arkansas
Rutgers 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Wisconsin
Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
SMU
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
Virginia
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Navy
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Toledo
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Stanford
Fla Atlantic 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Pittsburgh
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
Old Dominion 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 10/25/14 4:00 PM
UCF
(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 10/25/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
Tennessee
So Carolina 10/25/14 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 10/25/14 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 10/25/14 9:45 PM
Washington
Nevada 10/25/14 10:59 PM
Hawaii
(2) Florida State 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Louisville
Troy 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
Cincinnati 10/31/14 7:00 PM
Tulane
Tulsa 10/31/14 7:00 PM
Memphis
Purdue 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
(17) Oklahoma 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Iowa State
Oklahoma State 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
(10) TCU 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(22) West Virginia
Texas 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Texas Tech
Northwestern 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Iowa
Maryland 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Penn State
Houston 1 FINAL
Chicago 2
Montreal 23 FINAL
Ottawa 17
Saskatchewan 27 FINAL
Calgary 40
Hamilton 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Winnipeg
Hamilton 10/31/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Winnipeg 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Toronto 11/2/14 11:00 AM
Montreal
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who should get the Twins' managing job?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close