As you know, the (low) attendance numbers at recent Reds games has become a bit of a topic of conversation. With that in mind, this very interesting piece appeared in the Wall Street Journal this week:
Erin Smith, a Ph.D. candidate at NYU’s Stern School of Business, co-wrote a paper that shows a 48% increase in a team’s attendance makes that team score an extra run every game. Before Monday’s games, this scoring boost would have bumped the Padres to a game ahead of the San Francisco Giants instead of being tied with them, and it would have put the Rays two games ahead of the Yankees instead of a half-game behind. In the NL East, the Atlanta Braves would have leapfrogged the Philadelphia Philles.
Ms. Smith’s study, which was published this year in the Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports, used a regression model to account for things like team ability, stadium size and weather. By doing this, she showed that increased attendance does, in fact, help teams play well, instead of this simply being a matter of good teams drawing more fans.
Unfortunately, I let my subscription to the Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports lapse, so I can’t comment on the paper’s methodology. The reported results are interesting, to say the least. According to the study, Cincinnati would have had 3.18 extra wins this year if they had played before capacity crowds every game.
Take it for what it’s worth.