Schedule Heat Map: 2014 Triple-A Season

Tons of preliminary data to dump on the blog in advance of the 10/2/14 MiLB Promotional Seminar data presentation. I’ll be back later to make it pretty, I promise!

Short explanation: based on the normalized attendance data set from the 2014 Triple-A baseball schedule, here’s the heat map of dates from April 3 through September 1. Dates in green represent above-average attendances; dates in red represent below-average attendances; dates that appear white are basically average. The brighter the color, the more above/below average the date is.

April      May

June      July

Aug-Sept

The takeaways:

  • Why do we play games in April, again?
  • The only decently green dates in April are Opening Day and the following Friday, when teams who started the year on the road generally play their first home game.
  • The slightly-green Tuesday, May 13 is due to its frequent selection as an Education Day promotion, which generally draw thousands of schoolchildren.
  • The first time we see more than four above-average days in a row is the final week of the year, August 26-September 1. At this point, there is no “let’s catch a game sooner or later” for the fan base. If we could bottle up that sense of urgency and sprinkle it around to the rest of the schedule, we’d be set.
  • Monday, July 28 is pretty damn red. Monday, July 7 has an excuse… after a long holiday weekend, nobody’s looking around for fun outings except for those who were working through the holiday. July 28 is probably a beautiful night in most Triple-A host cities, and it’s understandably frustrating to look out on a sea of empty seats during what should be our biggest month of the year. Don’t despair. We’re all in the same boat.

And the biggest takeaway, in my opinion: Fridays and Saturdays are great days. Everyone loves to come to the ballpark. Look at all that green! Unless you’re selling out every Friday and Saturday, PUSH ONLY THOSE DATES.

This is going to feel weird and wrong. After all, we have somewhere between 30 and 72 home dates, and they’re all like our children, equally deserving of love and attention. But if we’re going to maximize profits, we need to Sophie’s Choice some of these dates. Fans love fireworks and giveaways and stress-free weekend baseball. Fans are less interested in your $2 Tuesday night nacho deals when they have work the next day. Save yourself the effort… shift your advertising/messaging dollars to Fridays and Saturdays, give emphasis to those dates in your e-newsletters, and let the Sunday-thru-Thursday games sink or swim on their own merits.

Days of the Week

Monday thru Wednesday, you’re on your own.

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