Just for fun I decided to see just how much the Pirates record affected overall attendance.
The graph should be fairly self explanatory, on the x axis is the distance the Pirates were from 500 and on the Y axis is the attendance for each game. If you just look at the graph you can not really determine too much. So I did a numbers breakdown too.
Over 500: 29,561
Under 500: 22,938
500 and above: 26,842
500 and below: 22,367
One game from 500 or above: 25,338
One game from 500 or below: 22,938
Two games from 500 or above: 25,246
Two games from 500 or below: 23,276
Three games from 500 or above: 24,931
Three games from 500 or below: 22,605
The numbers look promising at the start but get less and less promising as you continue to go down. I think the most significant numbers are the one game from 500 or above and the 2 games from or below. Essentially that breaks the season in half (38 games to 42 games)*. The difference in attendance between those two is a mere 2,062. The above and below 500 is also important and shows something somewhat significant but we are talking about a 21 game sample and that is really small.
* The games only add up to 80 because of a DH against Milwaukee and baseball-reference reports game 2 to have an attendance of 0. So I threw out that data point.
Also worth comparing is the high and low points. There was one game where the Pirates were 7 games above 500 and one where they were 18 below. The 7 games above got an attendance of 25,207 and the 18 below got an attendance of 23,632. That difference is only 1575 people.
Another way to look at it is what games got the highest and lowest attendance figures. Of the Pirates top 10 attendance games 3 happened when the team was below 500, 1 happened when they were at 500 and the other 6 they were above 500. Of the next 15 top attendance games only 5 occurred when the team was above 500, the other 10 occurred when the team was below 500 (including 17 games below!). The bottom 10 attendance games all occurred when the Pirates were 500 and below but strangely enough 7 of them occurred when they were within 3 games of 500.
The Pirates average attendance was 24,255.3625. They had 38 games above that number and 42 below. In 22 of the 38 games they were above that mark the Pirates had a losing record, in one games they had a 500 and in the remaining 15 they of course had a winning record. In 31 of the 42 games that were below that number the Pirates had a losing record, they were at 500 five times and above of course only 6 times.
What does all this data tell us? That while there is a correlation between the Pirates record and increased attendance the difference is not as significant as one might think. To the best I could calculate and this was really quite difficult to figure the difference between the Pirates playing well this year and playing poorly amounted to about a 3,000 increase in attendance.
A much much better barometer of what drove attendance this year is the day of the week:
All this data is mainly pointless as the real proof of whether or not the Pirates won over fans will come when we see how many more season tickets were sold. Nonetheless the numbers are fun and interesting to look at.