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2010 Texas Rangers Win-Curve Revisited

In 2009, I published a win-curve that predicted Texas Rangers attendance for a given win level. The Rangers won 87 games, and my win-curve predicted 27,958 attendees per game for that win level. Actual attendance was only 27,641. The difference was 317, only a 1.15% difference.

This season, I updated my data and published another win-curve. The yellow dot on the graph marks the 2009 attendance level, and the red dot marks the 2009 win level.

2010 Attendance Prediction. For a full description, read the original article (link above).

In 2010, the Texas Rangers won 90 games. My win-curve predicted an average home attendance of 31,202. According to ESPN's numbers, the actual average home attendance was 30,928.

The difference of 274 attendees per game translates to only a 0.89% overshoot. The model was more accurate this year than last year.

As the season approaches, I will update the data and issue a new prediction.

Reader Comments (4)

Wow, that's a high degree of accuracy. Wouldn't the attendance plateau at some point if the team won, say 90 games 3 or 4 years in a row? Ok, nevermind, I went back and read your 2009 post and realize that you would recalculate the curve each season as the variables in the formula change a bit. I look forward to seeing the 2011 prediction.

January 10, 2011 at 11:24 AM | Unregistered Commentert ball

There is a plateau because a team cannot outsell its stadium's capacity. For teams like the late '90s Cleveland Indians who sold out every game for something like 8 straight years, I'm not sure how helpful my model would be.

It's entirely possible that my model has been lucky two years in a row. We'll see how things go in 2011.

January 12, 2011 at 5:51 PM | Registered CommenterTrip Somers

Looking at your original 2009 post again, you seem to be saying that the team could expect an increase in attendance even if they won fewer games than in 2008. This seems counter-intuitive, though your model turned out to be very close. Which component of the model do you think made that statement (and its resulting projection) accurate? How could the Rangers expect to increase attendance even if they won fewer games?

Sorry, it's been well over two decades since I had any serious math.

January 14, 2011 at 1:01 AM | Unregistered Commentert ball

That was true for both years. Intuitively, it makes sense because of fan expectations: "Hey, they won 90 games last year. Let's go watch the Rangers play." Instinctively, this would suggest that as long as the team gets near their previous win level, they should see similar, if not slightly increased attendance.

Logically, consecutive seasons at the 87-90 win level should increase attendance for a team that has not been historically good at baseball. The question I can't answer is what the model project for a team that hovers around 75 wins. Would it still predict increases?

For bad teams the same logic doesn't hold. People don't get psyched up about their team having a 75-win season, so there's no logical reason for attendance to increase the following year.

If I had the time and patience (information gathering for this single model was a pain), I would enjoy doing similar studies on other teams just to see how their trends match up.

What makes these models very difficult to deal with is differences between markets. I discussed this a bit in the original article. New stadiums, consecutive playoff appearances, work stoppages, etc. all affect attendance differently in each market. The relative stability of the Rangers' franchise with regard to these types of variables makes their model pretty simple by comparison.

I'll be very interested to see how the World Series appearance affects 2011 attendance. My guess is that the model will underestimate attendance unless the team falls on its face in April.

January 15, 2011 at 2:30 PM | Registered CommenterTrip Somers

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