The Ballpark at Union Station opened in 2000 with a maximum capacity of 40K fans. 3,000,000 fans walked through the turnstiles that first year as the ballpark was christened Enron Field, an Astros team record 72-90, and an annual payroll of
52 million dollars.
Over the next 5 years, Enron Field was renamed Minute Maid Park; however, the attendance remained close to 3 million anually. The Astros were the 2nd winningest team in the N.L. The payroll rose to over 100 million dollars and the Astros made the playoffs 3 times eventually losing the World Series in 2005.
The attendance remained at 3 million for the next 2 years while the Astros struggled as a .500 team. A downturn in the economy, an owner that was dead set on remaining relevant with "has been or never were" free agent acquisitions, and a pending sale begin to take it's toll on the overall attendance records.
Finally the sale of the Astros, a complete rebuild of the entire organization, 3 straight 100 loss seasons, a move to the hated American League, the lack of a TV deal, and a field full of AAAA talent has reduced the tickets sales to 50% from 2004 highs. As a partial season ticket holder, I, can attest that the largest number of fans this past year were not purchasing Astros gear at the team store.
So, my question is, what does it take to bring the fans back to Minute Maid?