Take Me Out to The Ballgame?

July 26, 2011
San Diego Padres
by JoeInSouthernCA

Over the course of the past 2009 Major League Baseball season, Major League franchises have seen a tremendous decrease in the number of attendance to their games. According to officials from Major League Baseball, attendance all around the country has decreased a total of 6.9% which is a lowest decrease in attendance since the year of 2003. According to statistical data given by baseball-reference.com as of October 6th, 2009 the average number of people in attendance for a baseball game in the year of 2009 was 30,218. This is a significant decrease from the record setting attendance in which occurred during the year of 2007 with an attendance average of 32,785. The decrease in the average number of attendance to a game over the past season can be traced to many factors.

The most likely factor in which has lead to a total decrease in the average number of attendance during the current season is the economy. With the current state of the economy it is difficult for a family of four to attend a baseball game. Many families cannot keep up with the rising prices of the food, soda, and beer located at the stadium concession stands. In order to help draw more attendance to their games many teams have began to cut back their prices on tickets for the games. According to Ronald Blum, the Washington Nationals are cutting back on the prices of some 3,300 seats. While teams like the Oakland Athletics has decreased ticket prices by an average of 10% and San Diego Padres is cutting back all individual tickets by 60%. Along with teams like the Nationals, Athletics and Padres a perennial powerhouse like the New York Yankees had to cut their best-field level tickets down from 5 to 0 due to a lack of attendance.  When questioning Commissioner Bud Selig on the topic, he feels as though the teams did significantly well this season especially due to state of the economy. The most known factor a decrease in attendance is the economy but how well a team performs also affects the attendance of a team.

Even though money is a truly significant factor on the attendance of baseball games, the performance of a team does affect the number of tickets sold. For instance the 2008 World Series Champion Philadelphia Phillies have a seen a 5% increase attendance over the 2009 season. While the Tampa Bay Rays who lost to the Phillies in the World Series saw a 3% increase in attendance after having ten previous losing seasons. Other teams in which had a successful attendance for the 2009 season were the Texas Ranger with a 14% increase and the Kansas City Royals and Florida Marlins who each had a 12% increase. Vice versa, teams like the New York Mets, Washington Nationals, Toronto and San Diego, teams who all had losing seasons each saw decreases of over 20% in attendance. Therefore, this proves that teams who perform at low rate of success have fewer individuals attend their games. In all honesty, no individual should want to attend a game in which they know their team will be outperformed by the other team. But, there is a key advantage for the teams in which had such low records and that is that they have the ability in advance to come up with solutions to solve their attendance problem for the upcoming year. Consequently, the performance in which a team has may affect their attendance but, the opening of a stadium has an effect on the overall attendance.

At the beginning of the season two new stadiums opened up in the major league baseball. Both of these stadiums being in New York City with the Mets opening Citi Field and the Yankees opening their remake of the former Yankee stadium. The new Mets stadium in which has been built cut the amount of seating in the stadium by a total of 16,000 seats while the new Yankee stadium has cut the number of seats by 7,000. This decrease in the number of seats has a significant factor on the Major League Baseball’s overall attendance because there are now 23,000 less seats in Major League Baseball stadiums to fill up. Also, for the upcoming season of 2010 the Minnesota Twins will be opening a new stadium and the Florida Marlins plan to have a new stadium by the year of 2012. Therefore, with the addition and future plans for smaller stadiums in the Major Leagues, the overall average attendance for the league has dropped significantly.

All in all, over the 2009 baseball season a total of 22 out of the 30 MLB teams saw a decrease in their attendance while three teams with increases are only up by less than one percent. Whether it is the poor state in which the economy of America is in today. Or fans of teams which never win may be finally fed up with wasting their money on poor entertainment. Or the fact that the new stadiums in which Major League Baseball teams build keep getting smaller and smaller. All in all, these three factors have helped lead to Major League Baseball having a significant drop in their attendance over the past year.

Works Cited

“2008 vs. 2009 Attendance.” Sports Reference LLC, 06 Oct. 2009. Web. 14 Oct. 2009. <http://www.baseball-reference.com/leagues/current_attendance.shtml>.

Blum, Ronald. “Baseball attendance down, but not in Philly.” Delaware Online, 02 Oct. 2009. Web. 14 Oct. 2009. <http://www.delawareonline.com/article/20091002/SPORTS01/91002050/0/SPORTS/Baseball-attendance-down–but-not-in-Philly>.

Brown, Maury. “Average Ticket Price Up 5.4 Percent in MLB. Yankees/Mets Skew Total.” The Biz Of Baseball, 02 Apr. 2009. Web. 14 Oct. 2009. <http://www.bizofbaseball.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=3147:average-ticket-price-up-54-percent-in-mlb-yankeesmets-skew-total&catid=56:ticket-watch&Itemid=136>.

Nightengale, Bob, and Scott Boeck. “Slight Fall in Baseball Attendance No Surprise.” USA Today, 11 May 2009. Web. 14 Oct. 2009. <http://www.usatoday.com/sports/baseball/2009-04-29-mlb-attendance_N.htm>.

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