Overview of MLB Attendance
Major League Baseball (MLB) has been one of the most popular professional sports leagues in the United States since its formation in 1903. In 2019, MLB set a new record for total attendance, with over 69 million people attending games throughout the season. However, recent reports suggest that attendance at MLB games has been declining in recent years. In this article, we’ll take a look at why this may be the case and what MLB teams can do to reverse the trend.
Attendance is Down Across the Board
The most recent figures show that attendance at MLB games has been on the decline since its peak in 2007. In 2019, attendance was down 2.6% from 2018 and down 8.6% from its peak in 2007. This is the largest year-over-year decline since 1994, when attendance dropped by 9%.
In addition, attendance has been declining across all 30 MLB teams. The Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees, two of the most popular teams in baseball, both saw their attendance drop by 10%, while the Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago Cubs, and San Francisco Giants all saw their attendance drop by more than 7%.
Reasons for Declining Attendance
There are several factors that could be contributing to declining attendance at MLB games. Some of the most common theories include:
Cost of Tickets
The cost of MLB tickets has been steadily rising over the past few years. In 2019, the average cost of an MLB ticket was $36.83, a 3% increase from 2018. This is a significant increase from the average cost in 2007, which was $25.18.
The rising cost of tickets is a major factor in declining attendance, as many fans are unable to afford to attend games on a regular basis. Additionally, with ticket prices increasing, many fans are choosing to watch games at home rather than attend in person.
Length of Games
The average length of an MLB game has been increasing steadily over the past few years. In 2019, the average length of a game was 3 hours and 5 minutes, the longest in MLB history.
The increase in game length has been attributed to several factors, including increased use of relief pitchers, longer commercial breaks, and increased use of instant replay. Longer games can be a major deterrent to fans, as they may not be willing to commit that much time to watching a single game.
Competition from Other Events and Leagues
In recent years, MLB has been facing increased competition from other sports leagues, such as the NFL and NBA, as well as other events, such as concerts and festivals. With more options for entertainment, many fans are choosing to spend their money elsewhere.
Weather can also be a major factor in declining attendance. Many MLB teams play in outdoor stadiums, which can be subject to extreme temperatures and inclement weather. This can make games less enjoyable for fans, and may lead some to choose to stay home rather than attend in person.
MLB’s Response to Declining Attendance
In response to declining attendance, MLB has implemented several changes in recent years. These include:
Lowering Ticket Prices
MLB has implemented several initiatives to lower the cost of attending games. These include offering discounts to season ticket holders, offering free tickets to select fans, and offering discounted tickets to military personnel. Additionally, MLB teams have also begun offering ticket packages that allow fans to attend multiple games at a discounted rate.
Promotions and Giveaways
Many MLB teams have begun offering special promotions and giveaways to entice fans to attend games. These include offering free food and drinks, discounts on merchandise, and special events, such as autograph signings and player appearances. These promotions can be a great way to attract more fans to the ballpark.
Improved In-Game Experiences
MLB teams have also taken steps to improve the overall in-game experience for fans. This includes expanded food and beverage options, improved seating, and upgraded video boards. Additionally, MLB teams have begun offering more interactive experiences, such as virtual reality and augmented reality, for fans to enjoy.
New Strategies to Increase Attendance
In order to reverse the trend of declining attendance, MLB teams need to come up with new strategies to attract more fans to the ballpark. Some potential strategies include:
Expansion of Social Media Presence
Social media can be a powerful tool for MLB teams to reach new fans and increase engagement. Teams should focus on creating engaging content, such as videos and photos, and using social media to promote special events and giveaways. Additionally, teams should also look to engage with their fans on social media by responding to comments and messages.
Incentives for Season Ticket Holders
Season ticket holders can be a great source of revenue for MLB teams. Teams should look to offer additional incentives to season ticket holders, such as discounts on merchandise and exclusive access to events and giveaways. Additionally, teams should also look to offer loyalty programs that reward season ticket holders for their continued support.
Increased Interaction with Fans
MLB teams should also look to increase their interactions with fans in order to make attending games more enjoyable. This could include offering activities for fans to participate in, such as trivia contests and on-field contests, as well as providing opportunities for fans to interact with players and coaches. Additionally, teams should also look to provide more opportunities for fans to give feedback and have their voices heard.
Attendance at MLB games has been declining in recent years, due to a combination of factors such as rising ticket prices, longer game times, and increased competition from other events and leagues. In order to reverse this trend, MLB teams need to come up with creative strategies to attract more fans to the ballpark. This could include expanding their social media presence, offering incentives to season ticket holders, and increasing interaction with fans. By implementing these strategies, MLB teams can ensure that attendance continues to rise.