W.I.L. Attendance Down 69,035
[Victoria Colonist, Sept. 24, 1952]
Stepping up a class from “B” to “A” failed to help the Western International Baseball League at the gate this season.
Official figures released yesterday by league president Bob Abel disclosed that attednace dropped about nine percent from 1951 this season. The official paid attendance of 646,120 is the lowest in seven post-war seasons. The 1951 attendance was 715,555. The difference is 69,035.
GAIN 52 PER CENT
Only a 52 per cent gain in Victoria, the replacement of Lewiston with Tacoma and a small increase at Yakima prevented a far-worse let-down.
Victoria, which won its first championship, outdrew Spokane and was second only to Vancouver. The pennant-winning Tyees could not do better than 105,948 but this was a gain of 36,098 from 1951.
Lewiston didn’t have a particularly successful season with only 62,366 to show for a first-year club. This, however, was a gain of 19,903 over the attendance at Tacoma for the last season.
Yakima Bears, who got away to a disastrous start, showed a gain of 4,025 but their attendance of 64,044 hardly indicates that it was a successful financial season.
Vancouver and Spokane were actually the big disappointments. While Vancouver led the league with 119,533 it was long way from the 200,000 predicted for the Capilanos’ first full season in their spanking new park and 44,494 less than last season.
Spokane’s failure to draw more than 104,500 was most surprising of all. The Inland Empire centre is counted on for around 150,000 each season and it had a contending club which finished second. The loss from 1951 was 41,329.
Salem dropped more than 20,000 and Tri-City and Wenatchee both lost more than 15 per cent of their 1951 total and must be counted as dubious entries for 1953.
League officials get together at Seattle Friday to discuss the problem and they privately admit it is a grave one, They are now almost unanimous in their belief that only the entry of Calgary and Edmonton will enable them to survive and the Alberta cities will be a prime topic of discussion.
Attendance figures follow:
1952 1951 change
Vancouver ..... 119,533 164,027 -41,494
Victoria ...... 105,948 69,850 +36,098
Spokane ....... 104,500 145,739 -41,239
Salem .......... 83,047 103,976 -20,929
Yakima ......... 64,044 60,019 + 4,025
Lewiston ....... 62,366 42,463 +19,903
Tri-City ....... 54,022 64,599 -10,577
Wenatchee ...... 52,660 64,482 -11,822
TOTALS ........ 646,120 715,153 -69,035