I'm not disputing the gap between "paid" vs. "gate" attendance. It's a longstanding issue, even in the major leagues.
aid attendance does serve a purpose, albeit for the owners. If you’re a low-revenue maker such as the Indians, Pirates, or Marlins, just getting ticket revenue matters. Sure, those clubs want to have fans come to the games, but the figures help with matters such as sponsorship sales. If you tie paid attendance to what is deemed a sellout threshold number – a number that can be thousands below what the seating capacity is listed at, it can impact the number of sellouts in a season, something else key to sponsorship sales.
FWIW, Mark Cuban has stated there's no real reason to announce any attendance figures to the general public.
My larger point was that (a) the games are not desolate the vast majority of nights, such as when they were at Skeldon--so let's not get all conspiratorial with the Blade pulling pictures; (b) winning would help ease the gap between paid & gate attendance figures; and © every game does not need to be a sellout or near-sellout to be a success. Sometimes, other stuff is going on and a ballgame just ain't in the cards that night. They'll make it up and on average will be fine.
You're talking to someone who sat in Cleveland Municipal Stadium back in the 80's with (generously announced) 4,000 other "fans" to watch fat Andre Thorton chug through another loss. Even if there were 4,000 fans there (there weren't) that place (80,000 seats) really looked empty!