As we count down to Opening Day, Wallace Matthews and Andrew Marchand will answer 14 for '14 -- the top 14 questions facing the 2014 New York Yankees. The series will run until the eve of the first pitch between the Yankees and Astros on Tuesday, April 1, and will end with both Matthews and Marchand making their predictions for the season.
Question: Will the Yankees draw 4 million fans in 2014?
Andrew Marchand: The largest single-season Yankees home attendance happened in 2008. With the old Stadium in its final year, 4,298,543 people went through the turnstiles.
The boost was due to fans wanting to take one more glimpse at the old place. It also occurred within the momentum of a historic run in which the Yankees became the only franchise to exceed 4 million in attendance in four straight years.
In 2013, the Yankees led the AL in attendance with 3,279,589, but as has been the trend in recent years, fewer fans made it out to the Bronx than the year prior.
The capacity of the new stadium is 49,642, which gives the Yankees the ability to draw 4 million, but not break the 2008 record. In the new stadium's inaugural year of 2009, a tick above 3.7 million fans came to the Bronx.
In 2014, I think they will fall short of 4 million because of how expensive it is to go and the uncertainty of how good the team will be. Will they draw more than last year? Sure. Will they get close to 4 million? Maybe. But I don't believe they will make it all the way back to 4 million.
Wallace Matthews: Nothing draws fans like a winning team, and as much as you would think the prospect of seeing Derek Jeter in his final season, or perhaps for your final time, would pack the Stadium on a nightly basis.
But I'm with Andrew on this. The prices are simply too high for the average working person to afford on a regular basis, and in order to fill nearly 50,000 seats 81 times you need a lot of repeat customers. Besides, do the people, whoever they are, who bought the outrageously-priced Legends Seats -- and now, rarely show up to use them -- even care much about Jeter or the Yankees in the first place?
What they do care about is winning, and being at what they perceive to be the place to be. Madison Square Garden was that place in mid-'90s; Yankee Stadium became that place when the team was in the midst of its dominant run from 1996 to 2003. The Yankees may well reach 4 million this season, but if they do, it will be more because fans are coming to see a winner rather than Jeter, who ironically has been the biggest winner of them all.