MLB Attendance Figures Continue to Slump

MLB Trophy

Major League Baseball is, of course, one of the critical markets when it comes to the top sporting leagues and spectacles in the United States, but itís not undisputable that, as an organization, the MLB is starting to lose some of its luster.

The pandemic hit all major and minor sporting leagues hard, and of the larger markets, the MLB has found it hardest to get back to near its pre-COVID levels. The league hit a total of 64,556,636 in attendance for the 2022 regular season, and when you compare that to the last season that wasnít affected by the coronavirus pandemic, that comes in some four million fewer and represents a drop of over 5%.

That makes it the most significant single-season drop since 2009, and itís now nine straight seasons of decreased attendance, and the last increase occurred between 2011 and 2012. This has had a knock-on effect on other related industries, with betting on the MLB also suffering, but fortunately for those who are keen to keep up on the MLB odds, there are a growing number of reputable sportsbooks to sign-up with.

The issue of spectators is concerning and is across the board. Only nine clubs have seen attendance rise since 2019: the Atlanta Braves, Baltimore Orioles, Boston White Sox, Detroit Tigers, Seattle Mariners, Miami Marlins, and the Toronto Blue Jays.

Among the sides to experience drops in attendance, none have been more badly affected than the Oakland Athletics, who have seen attendances fall by a massive 53% since 2019, but this has primarily been down to the franchiseís moves to trade away key talents.

The Cleveland Guardians, Arizona Diamondbacks, Cincinnati Reds, and the Minnesota Twins have all season their attendance figures drop by 20% or more since 2019.

This drop has also been mirrored by the numbers of viewers watching MLB via streaming services or live on TV stations, and this is in marked contrast to other leagues such as the NFL and the English Premier League soccer.

Some believe the nature of the sport itself is not very conducive to a younger market, and this was touched upon by Harvard professor Stephen A. Greyser who is a pioneer in the field of business in sports. On the matter of the lack of action, he stated;

ďIím not saying that itís slow and boring, especially to knowledgeable fans. Iím saying the pace is not going to attract a more action-oriented, younger demographic. If we look at the business appeal of baseball, itís hurt by the pace of the game; itís hurt by the fact that hitting the ball is less of a factor compared to striking out or walking.Ē

ď This yearís American League batting champion had the lowest average in decades. Carl Yastrzemski, or as heís known locally, ďCahlĒ Yastrzemski, after his great 1967 season (one of the greatest seasons any individual ballplayer ever had) when he won the Triple Crown, in 1968, he hit .301 ó the lowest average ever for a batting champion. This year, no American League batter hit above .315.Ē

This assessment isnít new and represents a more significant, long-term problem that the MLB will have to look to surmount and one that may require systemic change in order to fix.

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