Reporting Tim Kephart
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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Miami Dolphins fans have been loyal to the franchise despite a decade of failure and not winning a Super Bowl in nearly 40 years. But even though the team is showing signs of life this season, the fans’ patience may be running out.
According to 247WallSt.com, the Dolphins have seen a 17.1 percent drop in attendance over the last decade. The Dolphins averaged roughly 73,470 fans in 2001-2002 and by 2011-2012, the attendance had dropped to 60,866, a drop of more than 12,000 fans on average.
The website reported that no team in the National Football League has seen a bigger decline in attendance than the Dolphins; of course the team also went 60-84 over the last decade has had three consecutive losing seasons.
The Dolphins have, until recently, dodged a problem most sports teams in South Florida face at some point: win, or no one will come. The Marlins are the classic example of the philosophy of win or else fans won’t show up.
Last season, the Marlins had the lowest attendance for a Major League Baseball team opening a new stadium in recent memory. The Marlins have regularly averaged some of the lowest attendance in sports and don’t show any signs of improvement.
The Fins have also had to deal with the Miami Heat in 2005-2006 and then the Heat again starting in 2010 with the joining of the Big Three of LeBron James, Chris Bosh, and Dwyane Wade. Fans have turned to the Heat who is coming off two consecutive NBA Finals appearances and a championship last year.
In addition, fans with massive HDTV’s and state of the art sound systems have found its better to watch a game at home than spend the hundreds of dollars for tickets plus concessions at the game.
Still, winning is the cure-all and if the Dolphins can start doing that consistently, the fans will return.
Incidentally, according to 247WallSt.com, the pro sports team running out of fans the fastest are the Seattle Mariners which saw a 51 percent drop in attendance over the last decade. No other NFL but the Dolphins made the Top 13 list of teams running out of fans.