OPINION | This article contains opinion that reflects the author's views.
After more than 100 years, the Cleveland baseball franchise caved to pressure from left-wing activists who demanded they change their name.
Ahead of the 2022 season, the franchise announced its name change for the purpose of “unity” and “community.”
At the time, the team said, “We believe our organization is at its best when we can unify our community and bring people together – and we believe a new name will allow us to do this more fully.”
However, after changing from the Cleveland Indians to the Cleveland Guardians, the franchise is reportedly struggling to attract fans and ratings.
TV ratings have dropped dramatically. One report shows the team finishing with -30%. This is one of the largest declines of any team in the league.
In-person attendance is also down significantly from previous years as well.
Average attendance this year has fallen to 15,025.
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If these numbers continue, that would mark the non-COVID low point for the franchise since they moved into their new ballpark in 1994.
Attendance has generally been lower across MLB this season than in 2019, but Cleveland in particular is outpacing the average decline.
In 2019, non-Indians attendance averaged 28,436. This year, that number is 26,582, meaning the league overall is down 6.5% in ticket sales.
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Meanwhile attendance for the Cleveland franchise has plummeted 30% from 2019.
There simply aren’t many great explanations for this dramatic decrease in ratings and fan support other than general dissatisfaction.
It could be that many fans are upset with the direction of the on field product, or it could be that they’re upset the team they grew up with changed from its historic identity to a generic name they have no connection with. Maybe it’s a combination of the two factors.