Marlins Park has had no shortage of empty seats this season. In the first season following a massive fire sale, huge seas of empty blue seats have been the norm for home Miami Marlins games.
Facing some of the worst attendance figures in MLB, the Marlins have decided to close off the upper bowl during weekday series starting next week. The 37,442 capacity of Marlins Park will shrink to around 27,000.
Team Sr. Vice President PJ Loyello told the Miami Herald Tuesday that the move "will give an overall better fan experience." The move also saves the team money on game operations, since fewer concession stands, ushers, and janitorial staff will be needed if nearly half the stadium is off limits to fans.
Loyello said some staff members will work fewer hours as a result of the change, but none will lose their jobs. He also said the team has not decided to close the upper bowl for the remaining weeknight games this season, but a decision will be made for each series on an ongoing basis.
The Marlins are drawing an average of 18,864 fans per game through the first 16 home games of the season (down from 27,401 in 2012, the first season it was open). Only the Seattle Mariners, Kansas City Royals, and Cleveland Indians draw fewer fans.
The move is not that surprising, considering the team did the same during its final seasons at Sun Life Stadium.
The team will keep the upper bowl open during the weekends, and will still sell upper bowl tickets for weeknights. But unless sales pick up, anyone with upper bowl tickets (according to the Herald, the team sold roughly 500 upper bowl season tickets in 2013) will be transferred to lower bowl seats (at no extra charge).