I was talking about butts in the seats. That's pretty interesting about the TV ratings. Any theories on why the TV ratings are high, but attendance is low?
I always thought that the retirees from up north would go out and watch the Marlins because any baseball is better than no baseball, even if it is not the Yankees or Mets. Sort of the same situation I was in before the Expos moved to Washington. I was a lifelong Expos fan, but I went to Baltimore on a regular basis to watch the O's even though I was never an O's fan.
Butts in seats is a huge issue. A lot is demographics. There is no worthwhile mass transit, and none that stops anywhere near the stadium. If you go to a game, in order to catch the last Tri-Rail back to Palm Beach, you have to leave by 7:30, and usually wouldn't even see the 1st inning.
Huizenga (former owner who gets nearly all the stadium-related revenue) just more than doubled the parking, this time to $25 as I found out today. The tolls are about $5, so with gas, I'm out $45 - $50 and haven't even entered the stadium yet.
The heat/humidity is awful out there, even by Florida standards. It's out in the middle of the Everglades. The stadium, being a bowl, doesn't allow for a breeze in the lower bowl, and the upper bowl is unavailable except for one promo game during the season and post-season play. The heat index at the stadium is usually over 100 even for night games. Today it was 112 at the start of the game. By contrast, at home in Boca, it was about 82.
It's a football stadium, and there are very few half-way decent seats. In most of the seats, you cannot see much of the field.
What I believe to be the most significant reason is one that is rarely acknowledged, and that's the way the population is spread out. Rather than being in a circle as is the case in DC, the population in the defined market is spread in an area about 100 miles north-south, and and average of 7 miles east-west. The stadium is outside the east-west zone, and is about 20 miles from the bottom north-south. It's really a crap location.
Other excuses quoted by others: 1997, 2000, 2005, 2007 firesales which prevents fan loyalty, the strike in the 2nd season which destroyed attendance.