Daren Rovell of CNBC recently took a look at the attendance numbers at Major League Baseball games so far this season, and has come up with some interesting numbers. MLB has had three straight years of declining attendance at ball games, and Rovell wants to figure out why. So he got out his calculator, did some research, and came up with some staggering facts about people (or the lack thereof) heading out to the ballpark.
Here's how Rovell broke it down:
I waited until each team played a minimum of two homestands to minimize the opponent factor, which obviously can affect attendance drastically. I took into account how many games each team has played so far and compared them with the same amount of games at the beginning of the season last year.
Rovell found that MLB is averaging 304 less fans per ballgame, barely a percentage point. That doesn't seem all that bad, right? Well, it is an average of all the clubs, and it really depends on where your team plays. The Mets and Yankees for instance are down 7.8% and 5.9% since last season, and both of these two teams are going in opposite directions. The Indians and Royals are both well above .500 and playing great baseball, but their numbers are down 5.3% and 16.1% respectively so far. Not a good sign, especially when small market teams are playing well. Even the Cubs, who always sell out at Wrigley, are down 16%. Huh?
As for the Bay Area, well, these fans know better. Obviously with the World Series win the Giants would see some uptick in attendance, 21.1% increase to be exact. But it's the Oakland A's who take the cake in the Bay, sporting a 25.9% increase since last year, second in MLB only to the Toronto Blue Jays 41.4% increase. Good work by Bay Area fans any way you slice it.
Rovell states that this is more of an 'image crisis' than a 'business crisis' for Bud Selig and MLB, noting factors like stadium ticket prices, seating at the venues, and the increase in season ticket prices as well. Some places (like Yankee Stadium) simply charge way too much for tickets closer to the action, so people just don't sit there. Other stadiums have too many seats, have insane prices for season tickets, or simply have their fans watching at home on their sofas. People still love baseball everybody, it's OK. But if anything this little study by Mr. Rovell proves that baseball needs to do some tinkering to their system to get the folks out to the ball game.
The 7th inning stretch isn't as fun at home everybody, so get up, get out, and go see your favorite ball club!