One year after winning the second World Series in franchise history, the Royals drew the second-most fans in franchise history in 2016 — yet their overall attendance decreased by 5 percent from last season’s record mark.
After announcing an attendance of 29,475 for Sunday’s 3-2 loss to the Cleveland Indians, the Royals’ season attendance mark finished at 2,557,622 — 150,927 fewer than last season. On a per game basis, the Royals averaged 31,576 fans after averaging 33,439 last season. The Royals ranked 12th in the majors in both total and per-game attendance.
The Royals became just the fourth defending World Series champion in the last 20 years to see their attendance decrease the following season, though some of the factors are easily identified. The franchise received a sizable bump after making the World Series in 2014; the franchise drew just 1,956,482 that season and had not drawn more than 2 million since 1991. In addition, ticket prices have continued to increase.
The performance on the field may also have played a role. The Royals fell seven games under .500 after a miserable July, which momentarily knocked them out of the playoff race. The club recovered and surged in August, but the inconsistent performance in June and July likely suppressed attendance to a certain degree.
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Royals’ top five seasons for attendance
1. 2015, 2,708,549
2. 2016, 2,557,622
3. 1989, 2,477,700
4. 1987, 2,392,471
5. 1988, 2,350,181