Houston Astros Attendance and the Price of Gas, 1962 Through 2010

I’ve gotten interested in trying to find correlations between major league attendance and a variety of outside cultural and economic factors. When I considered that Houston’s the center of the domestic oil industry, and its stadiums have been almost exclusively accessed by people driving their own vehicles, I thought to look up a possible link between attendance at Astros games and the price of gas.

On the one hand, Houston’s energy industry should be more profitable at times of higher gas prices, therefore giving people in the industry more money to spend watching the Astros play. On the other hand, higher gas prices presumably crimp the budgets of most Houstonians, making them reluctant to spend money on tickets and parking to see a relatively expensive entertainment. I don’t know which influence is greater, but decided to put together a graph plotting the year-to-year changes in attendance against the year-to-year changes in the cost of gas, from 1963 through 2010. Here’s what came up: attendance is the blue line, the price of gas is the red line:


Here’s a chart of the data that produced the graph, with the columns arranged like so: the year followed by the attendance, then the attendance increase or decrease from the previous year, the percentage year-to-year attendance change, and finally the percentage year-to-year change in gas prices:

1962 11,413
1963 8,883 -2,530 -22% -2%
1964 8,960 77 1% -1%
1965 (opened Astrodome) 25,561 16,601 185% 1%
1966 22,971 -2,590 -10% 0%
1967 16,646 -6,325 -28% 0%
1968 16,208 -438 -3% -2%
1969 17,815 1,607 10% -2%
1970 15,475 -2,340 -13% -3%
1971 15,575 100 1% -2%
1972 19,206 3,631 23% -4%
1973 17,210 -1,996 -10% 1%
1974 13,466 -3,744 -22% 22%
1975 10,593 -2,873 -21% 0%
1976 10,940 347 3% -2%
1977 13,698 2,758 25% -2%
1978 13,903 205 1% -6%
1979 23,461 9,558 69% 22%
1980 27,954 4,493 19% 28%
1981 24,023 -3,931 -14% 0%
1982 19,241 -4,782 -20% -14%
1983 16,692 -2,549 -13% -7%
1984 15,183 -1,509 -9% -6%
1985 14,621 -562 -4% -4%
1986 21,411 6,790 46% -25%
1987 23,579 2,168 10% -1%
1988 23,870 291 1% -4%
1989 22,653 -1,217 -5% 4%
1990 16,184 -6,469 -29% 9%
1991 14,767 -1,417 -9% -6%
1992 14,956 189 1% -4%
1993 25,736 10,780 72% -5%
1994 27,150 1,414 5% -2%
1995 18,942 -8,208 -30% 0%
1996 24,394 5,452 29% 6%
1997 25,269 875 4% -3%
1998 30,351 5,082 20% -15%
1999 33,408 3,057 10% 8%
2000 (opened Enron Field) 37,730 4,322 13% 26%
2001 35,880 -1,850 -5% -7%
2002 31,079 -4,801 -13% -7%
2003 30,299 -780 -3% 14%
2004 38,121 7,822 26% 15%
2005 34,530 -3,591 -9% 19%
2006 37,318 2,788 8% 10%
2007 37,288 -30 0% 6%
2008 34,741 -2,547 -7% 12%
2009 31,124 -3,617 -10% -27%
2010 28,783 -2,341 -8% 16%

There’s not much of a trend that emerges, but it’s interesting to see that attendance fell 22% in 1974 as gas prices rose 22%; that prices and attendance rose in 1979 and 1980, that attendance and prices sharply diverged in 1986, that attendance soared in 1993 for some reason, and that attendance quickly bounced back after the 1994-1995 lockout.

Published in: Uncategorized on April 3, 2011 at 5:04 am  Leave a Comment  
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