MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers expect to top 2.5 million in attendance this season, which would be their lowest total since 2006, but an acceptable figure given the team's tumult on and off the field, COO Rick Schlesinger said.
"My goal at the beginning of the year is always above that, but in light of the team performance and some of the other things going on, it's a reflection of [the challenges] we have accommodated," Schlesinger said.
Those challenges include a 64-82 record entering Saturday, injuries throughout the starting lineup and, most notably, Ryan Braun's season-ending suspension for violations of the Joint Drug Program. Braun's admission created public relations problems for the Brewers, which the club addressed in part by giving every fan who passed through the turnstiles in August a $10 voucher good for food, beverage, merchandise and tickets. Attendance topped 30,000 for all but one of the Brewers' August home games.
After drawing 39,665 fans on Friday night to open the season's final homestand, the Brewers ranked 13th of the 30 Major League teams with a 31,745 average attendance per home game, good for third among National League Central teams behind the Cardinals and Cubs, but ahead of the Reds and Pirates.
By filling Miller Park to a 73.8 percent capacity on average, they also ranked 13th in MLB and third in the NL Central.
"Given all the things we had to deal with, we're still above league average," Schlesinger said. "Obviously, I want to get back to the three [million mark], but team performance is a vast determiner of those numbers."