I watched almost all of the Bisons games on TV this year, and the fact that Coca-Cola field at times looked like a ghost town was certainly disappointing. I read Mike Harrington's article in the Buffalo news this past Sunday, and I have to say, I pretty much agree with everything said in the article.
There are a myriad of reasons for the low attendance over the last few years. There's less disposable income out there with the Bills and Sabres and the countless festivals in the summer. Fans aren't happy with the Mets. There's a belief that the Mets didn't try hard enough to put a winner on the field. I think a reason for lowered attendance, especially the last couple of seasons,has been because of the Sabres and the Terry Pegula effect on the community. Everyone's gravitating to the Sabres because of him and the great things he's doing for the team and the area around the building (Alumni plaza, Webster Block, etc.), and rightfully so.
So, what can the Bisons do? I've got a few suggestions:
- First of all, remove some of the seats. There's no reason why the park downtown should have anymore than 13,000 - 15,000 seats. There's very little chance Buffalo will ever get a MLB team. Take out some seats. Removing seats could create standing room only areas, to which you could sell tickets there for 4 or 5 bucks. You could also use the area to add tables for people to sit and eat while watching the game.
- It is totally unacceptable for the scrolling signs along the base sides to say "welcome to coca-cola field" all game long. Add a ribbon board along the entire facing of the club level so fans can see the score of the game, game stats, and the out of town scores.
- I was in Washington last Thursday for the Cubs/Nats game. The Nats have all the team flags on top of the stands around home plate as these pictures illustrate. Could it kill the Bisons to put the IL team flags anywhere? It would be a nice touch.
- Add wi-fi in the park. Social media is big nowadays. Adding wi-fi would be a boost for people who want to tweet about the game or post things about the game on facebook. It also could allow people to get stats of the game or listen to the radio broadcast from their seats
- Bringing the Toronto Blue Jays on board as the parent club next year will help. You could create ticket packages allowing fans the chance to watch both the Blue Jays and Bisons in the same day and draw fans from the GTA and Southern Ontario. I would be interested in doing a Jays/Bisons doubleheader. I'm sure some other fans here would be as well.
Hopefully the Bisons read this blog or Mike's article in the paper. Being tied to the Jays will help, but the herd can do things to help themselves at the box office in 2013.