Research shows Washington, 3 other teams have seen sharp decline in attendance since 2008

Shalise Manza YoungYahoo Sports Contributor


Despite the rising cost of attending a sporting event in person, many professional teams still see packed stands when they host home games.

But not all do, and one study found that four NFL teams have suffered sharper declines in attendance over the last decade than most teams.

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Washington down over 30 percent

This week, the website 24/7 Wall Street published an evaluation of attendance figures from the 2008-18 seasons.

Using numbers from ESPN, the site looked at which teams across all pro sports saw the biggest decline in home attendance from 2008 to last year, highlighting the 12 with the largest losses.

Plenty of seats available: a recent study shows that attendance at Washington's FedEx Field was down nearly a third compared to 2008. (AP)
Plenty of seats available: a recent study shows that attendance at Washington's FedEx Field was down nearly a third compared to 2008. (AP)


Not surprisingly, Washington has seen the biggest difference over the last decade among NFL teams in terms of percentage of capacity.

With Washington making the playoffs in 2005 and 2007 and thanks to FedEx Field being near the top of the league in capacity, the team led the NFL in attendance from 2006-08, averaging 88,604, or 96.6 percent of capacity.

By last year, that number had plummeted to 61,028, or 31.1 percent fewer than 2008.

Washington didn’t even sell out its home opener last year.

Bengals, Buccaneers, Colts also big losers

The other three NFL teams to make the list were the Cincinnati BengalsTampa Bay Buccaneers and, a bit surprisingly, the Indianapolis Colts.

Despite going just 4-11-1 in 2008, the Bengals averaged 64,582 fans; last year, it was 50,573, a 21.4 percent change.

The Bengals shouldn’t feel so bad though: the city’s Reds of MLB also saw a 20.9 percent drop in home attendance for the same time period.

Tampa Bay, which hasn’t made the playoffs since 2007, saw a 15.7 percent drop in attendance and is now on its sixth coach since ‘08.

Indianapolis made the playoffs in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2018 but 24/7 Wall Street found that the Colts had 10.8 percent fewer fans in attendance last season vs. a decade ago.

MLB’s Detroit Tigers saw the biggest loss among all pro sports teams, at 41.3 percent.

(The Los Angeles Chargers and Los Angeles Rams were not considered in the evaluation because 24/7 Wall Street did not include teams that changed venues during the period.)

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