Miami Marlins: Jose Fernandez’s impact on attendance


As we close in on the weekend, it’s about time we start talking about Jose Fernandez again. Miami’s ace is set to make his first start since August 7th in Atlanta.

Fernandez hasn’t lost a game at home in his young career. His demeanor on the Marlins Park mound seems to appear different than on the road. There’s something special about Jose in Miami, and that reflects in attendance numbers.

"Marlins Park average home game attendance (2015): 21,783Jose Fernandez 2015 starts:7/2: 32,598 (+10,815)7/9: 25,027 (+3,244)7/28: 23,988 (+2,205)8/2: 25,288 (+3,505)Average home game attendance when Fernandez starts (2015): 26,725 (+4,942)"

Albiet a small sample size, Fernandez evidently draws a significant amount of fans and other spectators to Marlins Park.

I compared his impact on attendance to some of the other top pitchers in the National League. However, pitchers like Zack Greinke, Clayton Kershaw, Madison Bumgarner, Gerrit Cole, and Jake Arrieta see packed stadiums each night, due to the success of their team.

Then, I investigated into a similar situation, one on the south side of Chicago. The White Sox, like the Marlins, have a definitive ace (Chris Sale) and power bat (Jose Abreu) and also find themselves on the outside looking in. I peeked into Chris Sale’s impact on home attendance. His statistics told a different story.

"Chicago White Sox average home game attendance (2015): 23,803Chicago White Sox average home game attendance in Chris Sale starts (2015): 22,823 (-980)"

So why does Jose Fernandez impact attendance more than Chris Sale?

Perhaps it’s because Fernandez is often hurt, so Marlins fans want to take advantage of viewing him when he’s healthy. The high concentration of Cubans in Miami to watch a Cuban pitcher could also be the reason. Or maybe it’s the energy Fernandez brings to the mound that draws spectators.

Whatever the factor is, it’s always a sight to see when Jose comes to the ballpark. The righty ace provides a spark we don’t often see from the Marlins.

I found this exercise a fun activity to do leading up into Jose Fernandez’s start. I hope you enjoyed it as well. Expect a flock of fans to come to the park on Saturday when the ace returns to Marlins Park for his first start in over a month.

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