Attendance for Major League Baseball (MLB) has been declining for years, with the 2020 season being no exception. The league’s attendance rate is at an all-time low, with only around 3.02 million fans attending games in 2020, a drop of nearly 30 percent compared to the 2019 season. This is despite the fact that the league has seen increased TV ratings, and digital streaming of games has grown significantly in recent years. So, why is it that MLB attendance is so bad?
Reasons for Low Attendance
There are a variety of factors that have contributed to the decline in MLB attendance. Some of the most significant include:
The Length of Games
The average time for an MLB game in 2020 was over three hours, which is too long for many fans. Many people don’t have the time or patience to sit through nine innings, and this has contributed to declining attendance numbers.
Cost of Going to Games
The cost of attending an MLB game can be prohibitively expensive for many. Tickets, parking, food, and souvenirs can add up quickly, and that can be a deterrent to fans considering attending a game.
The weather can have a major impact on attendance at MLB games, especially in the northern part of the country. Cold, wet, and rainy weather can make it unpleasant to sit in a stadium for three hours, and many fans opt to stay home instead.
Competition from Other Sports
MLB also faces competition from other sports, such as the NFL, NBA, and NHL, which can take away from its fan base. Many fans are choosing to attend games for other sports, rather than MLB games.
The Economic Climate
The current economic climate has had a major impact on MLB attendance. With the pandemic causing job losses, many people are unable to afford tickets to games or other expenses related to attending games.
The Quality of Play
The quality of play in MLB has declined in recent years, as the league has seen fewer and fewer star players. This has caused many fans to lose interest in the sport, and has led to declining attendance numbers.
Lack of Promotions and Incentives
MLB has done a poor job of promoting games and offering incentives to fans to attend games. Many teams have done little to no promotion, and have failed to offer discounts or other incentives to get fans in the stands.
The Impact of Low Attendance
The low attendance numbers have had a major impact on the MLB. The league has seen a decrease in revenue, as ticket sales have declined. This has caused some teams to cut payroll, as they have had to balance their budgets. It has also caused some teams to struggle financially, as they have not been able to make up the difference in revenue.
What Can MLB Do To Increase Attendance?
MLB can take a number of steps to try and increase attendance. Some of the most effective include:
Shorten the Length of Games
MLB should look to reduce the length of games, which would make it more appealing to fans. The league should look to implement changes that would shorten the length of games, such as limiting the number of pitching changes and instituting a pitch clock.
Offer Promotions and Incentives
MLB should look to offer promotions and incentives to get fans in the stands. Teams should look to offer discounts on tickets, food, and merchandise, as well as special promotions and giveaways.
Improve the Quality of Play
The league should also look to improve the quality of play. This can be done by investing in scouting and player development, as well as by signing more star players. This would help to make games more exciting and appealing to fans.
Improve Digital Streaming
MLB should also look to improve digital streaming of games, as this can be a great way to attract fans. The league should look to make the streaming experience as enjoyable as possible, and should look to offer incentives to fans who stream games.
MLB attendance has been declining for years, with the 2020 season being no exception. There are a variety of factors that have contributed to the decline in attendance, including the length of games, cost of attending, weather, competition from other sports, the economic climate, and the quality of play. The low attendance numbers have had a major impact on the league, and MLB should look to take steps to increase attendance, such as shortening the length of games, offering promotions and incentives, improving the quality of play, and improving digital streaming.