The Tale of Two Fan Bases
The tale of two fan bases: my daughter purchased tickets for Game 4 of the NLCS at Dodger Stadium for $78 - for actual seats, not standing room only. By contrast, tickets for Game 1 of the NLCS at Miller Park are going for $120 for standing room only. The population of metropolitan Los Angeles is 13 million. The population for metropolitan Milwaukee is 1.5 million. And while total MLB attendance dropped by 4% this year, the Brewers attendance increased by just shy of 8%, drawing the tenth largest attendance in the league, at 2,850,875. Not too shabby for the smallest market of thirty MLB teams. To be fair, the Dodgers have the highest attendance in the entire league, but this is due not only to the size of the city, but to the size of Dodger Stadium (56,000 vs. 42,000 for Miller Park).
But regarding demand for playoff games, the larger issue is undoubtedly past success.
It was fun last week listening to Cubs fans complain about losing the division tie-breaker and instead making the playoffs as a lowly wild card, when just four short years ago they would have been thrilled to have been in the hunt. Now that Cubs fans have tasted success, nothing short of domination is deemed acceptable. I’ve experienced similar feelings with the Packers. After winning Super Bowl XLV, it was assumed that Green Bay would be back the next year and the year after that. No such luck; the subsequent years ended in bitter disappointment. Only Patriots fans know the boredom that comes with continuous success.
Brewer fans have no such worries. In nearly fifty years as a franchise, 2018 is only the Brewers’ third league championship. For many Brewer fans, no matter what happens in the NLCS, this year has been a success, a terrific run, unexpected and a total blast.
But you would think Dodger fans would have similar feelings. Sure, they were in the World Series last year, but they haven’t won it all since 1988, and they came oh so achingly close to winning it all last year, falling just one game short, that you would think fans would be chomping at the bit, desperate to witness their first world championship in thirty years.
No doubt, each playoff game from here on out will be a tough ticket, whether basking in the sun of Los Angeles or getting ready for winter in Milwaukee. But as a Brewers fan, it’s hard not to be thrilled not only with the team’s performance, but with the fans who are making my attempts to buy tickets a royal pain in the ass (and a jolt to my bank account).
I couldn’t be prouder.