Why Has it Dropped Over the Last Decade (2010-2019)
Major League Baseball (MLB) has long been considered America’s pastime, but recent years have seen game attendance decline at games. From 2010 to 2019, the average attendance at MLB games had fallen by approximately 7%. This trend has raised concerns about the sport, and many are left wondering why fewer people are attending games.
Does Poor Team Performance = Lower Attendance?
Numerous factors impact MLB game attendance rates. Team performance is a key factor. Teams that consistently perform well tend to have higher attendance rates, while teams that struggle tend to have lower attendance rates. For example, the Chicago Cubs’ attendance rate increased significantly during their World Series-winning year in 2016, while the Miami Marlins’ attendance rate decreased significantly during their rebuilding years from 2017 to 2019.
Lower Attendance Due to Higher Ticket Prices
Another factor that impacts attendance is changes in ticket prices. When ticket prices increase, attendance tends to decrease. However, the relationship between ticket prices and attendance is not always straightforward. For example, the San Francisco Giants attendance rate remained steady despite ticket price increases, possibly due to their success on the field.
Stadium Seating Capacity
Stadium capacity is also a relevant factor in attendance rates. Smaller stadiums tend to have higher attendance rates due to a higher demand for tickets, while larger stadiums often struggle to fill seats. However, this relationship can vary depending on the team and their success on the field. For example, the Los Angeles Dodgers, who play in one of the largest stadiums in the league, consistently have high attendance rates due to their on-field success.
Can External Factors Reduce Attendance?
External events, such as weather, also impact game attendance. Cold or rainy weather can discourage fans from attending games, while warmer weather can attract more fans, this is more about where the teams play. Additionally, external events like the 2020-21 COVID-19 pandemic have had a significant impact on attendance rates, with many games being cancelled or played without fans in the stands during that period.
Rule Changes and Broadcasting Trends
Finally, changes in rules and broadcasting trends have had an impact on game attendance. The league has made various rule changes over the past decade, such as limiting mound visits (currently at 5 per 9-inning game) and shortening the time between innings (2019 rule), to speed up games and make them more appealing to fans. However, these changes have not necessarily resulted in increased attendance rates. Broadcasting trends have also had an impact on game attendance, with many fans preferring to watch games from home rather than attend in person. However, this may be due to other factors such as weather or ticket prices, as already mentioned.
In conclusion, numerous factors impact MLB game attendance rates, including team performance, changes in ticket prices, stadium capacity, external events, and changes in rules and broadcasting trends. While there is no single reason for the decline in attendance, it is clear that MLB will need to adapt to these changing trends to ensure its continued success in the future.
As a baseball fan, what do you think are the most significant reasons for the decline in attendance at MLB games? Let us know in the comments below.