Kansas City Royals’ home attendance dropped to lowest level since the 1970s this season

Following the Kansas City Royals’ final home game of the season Sunday, which featured the largest comeback in franchise history, players and coaches tipped their hats to the home crowd to acknowledge the fans in a gesture of appreciation.

That crowd of an announced 18,350 represented the second-largest of the season’s final six-game homestand. It was also an above-average crowd for the Royals this season, who recorded their lowest average attendance in more than three decades.

The Royals drew 1,277,776 fans at Kauffman Stadium this season over 80 home dates, for an average of 15,972 per game.

The last season they posted an average attendance below 16,000 per game — not including the past two seasons, with attendance limitations in place because of the pandemic — came in 1975, when they drew 1,151,836 over 77 home games for an average of 14,959 per game.

The Royals entered this week ranked 26th in Major League Baseball (out of 30 teams) in average home attendance, ahead of the Pittsburgh Pirates (15,772), Tampa Bay Rays (13,927), Miami Marlins (11,158) and Oakland Athletics (10,019).

The Royals did not have full seating capacity available for all home games last season, and no fans were allowed to attend games during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season.

The Royals’ average attendance figures for the previous 10 full seasons were as follows:

2010: 20,192

2011: 21,289

2012: 21,748

2013: 21,614

2014: 24,154

2015: 33,438

2016: 31,577

2017: 27,755

2018: 20,557

2019: 18,496 (Includes 25,454 for June 13 ‘home’ game in Omaha)

More changes coming?

Last week, Royals CEO and Chairman John Sherman announced the firing of president of baseball operations Dayton Moore after 16 years at the helm of the organization.

Moore’s longtime lieutenant J.J. Picollo took over as executive vice president and general manager and now oversees the baseball operations department.

It’s unclear if the Royals will make a managerial change. Current manager Mike Matheny has one year remaining on his contract after this season.

Sherman said the decision about the futures of the Royals’ manager and coaching staff will fall to Picollo.

Over the weekend, Picollo said he had not yet made any decisions on the coaching staff.

Picollo and the top officials in the baseball operations staff will hold their regular end of season meetings this week in Detroit, where the Royals begin their season-ending road trip.

The Royals entered the final nine games of the season with a record of 63-90. They’re in fourth place in the American League Central Division, just ahead of the Detroit Tigers (60-92).

The Royals and Tigers begin a three-game series on Tuesday night at Detroit’s Comerica Park.