Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Early attendance figures for MLB are healthy

Major League Baseball is in a really good place right now. With more and more teams benefiting from local television deals, small and mid-market teams are doing better at tying up young players long-term and the health of the game is showing in early attendance figures around baseball. Thus far, the league's attendance is up by nearly 198,000 from a season ago and on average, 1,200 more fans are in the seats than a year ago at this time. Twenty of baseball's thirty teams are above last year.

The ten teams that are down in attendance are: Colorado Rockies, Atlanta Braves, Chicago White Sox, Houston Astros, Los Angeles Dodgers, Angels, Minnesota Twins, San Diego Padres, Seattle Mariners and the San Franciso Giants. Of these ten teams, the Giants' falloff has been negligible with only 383 less fans in the stands than last year. The Twins, Angels and Dodgers have seen the most significant erosion of fans in the seats. The Twins are easy to understand as that team has fallen on hard times. But the Dodgers opened with bang this season and the announcement of new ownership should reap a bounce-back as the season goes along. The Angels' losses has been hard to understand with the off season they had. 

Some nice gains have been made by the Pirates, Royals and the Nationals. All reflect a new buoyancy in how the fans feel about those franchises. Let's hope the Royals' tough start doesn't diminish some of that new interest. The Tampa Bay Rays have only played three home games and all were against the Yankees, the biggest draw in the game. So their increase has to be discounted and time will tell if their attendance struggles continue.

The New York Mets and Miami Marlins have been nice surprises. The Mets are drawing much better than a year ago and thus far, the new ballpark in Miami has given the Marlins a nice bump.

As can be predicted, the recent successes of the St. Louis Cardinals and Texas Rangers have paid off handsomely in attendance figures. The Rangers are up slightly, but the Cardinals have more than 5,000 spectators more per game this season than at this time last year.

Our game is in a good place. Attendance is up. Interest is high. Ownership-Labor is at peace and attendance figures thus far show a robust interest in the game.

For a complete look at attendance figures, click here.


songsofthegame said...

Do you think the vigilant way authorities are going after players who have taken drugs is helping to relegitimize the game for fans, and therefore, they are attending games?

William Tasker - Caribou, ME said...

Perhaps, songs. But think this is more of a case of excellent marketing of the sport and the peace of labor issues at play. I don't think the average fan cares much about the PEDs issue.