Angels eye 3M fans for 13th straight year

ANAHEIM -- Vice president of communications Tim Mead said the Angels "fully anticipate" reaching 3 million fans for a 13th straight season in 2015, even though they entered Friday on pace to finish just below that mark.

The Angels began a critical nine-game homestand against the Rangers, Dodgers and Astros -- three teams that entered Friday a combined 37 games above .500 -- having drawn 2,435,922 fans and averaging 36,907 per game, their lowest figure since winning the World Series in 2002.

They'll need to average 37,605 fans over their next 15 home games to reach 3 million again, and after looking at projections, Mead felt confident that they would. They're already expecting more than 40,000 for each of the three Dodgers games next week.

"With the importance of this homestand," Mead said, "we fully anticipate some big crowds."

Attendance was low at the start of the year, though. By the end of their fourth homestand on June 3, the Angels were averaging 34,061 fans. Their home attendance had dropped 4,556 per game from where it was by that point in 2014, accounting for the third-largest drop in the Major Leagues.

It was especially troubling for a franchise that was coming off a 98-win season and employs arguably the game's most exciting player, Mike Trout.

Said Mead: "We're in a market in April and May that, at times, when school's still in session, we just tend to lag a little bit."

The Angels also no longer get the benefit of two potential home series against the Yankees and Red Sox, the two American League East teams that are typically their biggest draws. Their Yankees series this year came during the week, and none of their division rivals necessarily piqued fans' interest until now.

The overall strength of the resale market and the increased popularity of mini-plans could've also played a role.

"I don't think there's one factor," Mead said of the early-season dip in attendance. "But I think our fan experience continues to be among the best in baseball."

The Angels are hopeful attendance will peak down the stretch, just enough to join the Yankees as the only teams to reach 3 million fans over the last 13 years.

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.