Cardinals' attendance nosedive continues into 2024

Busch Stadium was sparsely populated to see Sonny Gray dazzle in his debut, but a more productive team could see a slow return to normal for the St. Louis Cardinals and their fans.
Philadelphia Phillies v St. Louis Cardinals
Philadelphia Phillies v St. Louis Cardinals / Dilip Vishwanat/GettyImages

You could hear a pin drop in Busch Stadium during Sonny Gray's debut in a St. Louis Cardinals uniform, as even the team's new ace couldn't tantalize fans to plop their keisters into the seats of the ballpark on Tuesday, April 9. The reported attendance of 31,972 was the smallest crowd for a night game and the fourth-smallest crowd in the history of the third iteration of the stadium, excluding the pandemic year of 2020 and its spillover into 2021. 

The Cardinals' attendance dwindled in 2023 as the Cardinals broke down, finishing in last place in the division, and fans' reluctance to attend games appears to have carried over into 2024. Busch Stadium's total attendance in 2023 was 3,241,091, which was a 2% drop from 2022's 3,320,551.

It was an inopportune time for the Cardinals to suffer attendance losses: With the uncertainty of the Cardinals' television deal with Bally Sports affecting the team's spending budget, getting people to the ballpark is more important than usual in powering the organization's spending habits, according to President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak.

Mozeliak was booed heartily when he was introduced to the home crowd on Opening Day at Busch Stadium, signifying fans' frustration with the current regime and perhaps foreshadowing further attendance deterioration if the front office does not make sweeping changes on the field.

The Cardinals' 6-6 record to begin 2024 is nothing special, but the team has shown marked improvements early on, especially on defense, where it was the last team in the major leagues to commit an error. If the Cardinals continue to do the little things right and deliver strong results, the team should see fans trickle back into the ballpark despite the new competition provided by teams such as St. Louis City SC and the Battlehawks.

Cardinals fans have made their opinions known about the front office following the team's faceplant in 2023, and while Mozeliak and company may never fully make it back into fans' good graces barring a World Series parade through downtown St. Louis, there could be a growing sense of optimism that last year was a fluke and that the Cardinals will return to their rightful throne atop the division. It's extremely early, but if attendance picks up, the Cardinals might just be able to beef up their spending power as well.

This MLB season is still just getting started and you can bet on the fun with bonus bets thanks to FanDuel! You'll get $150 in bonus bets, win or lose, if you sign up, deposit $10 or more and then bet $5 or more on any wager this week. Click this link to sign up with FanDuel today!