Baseball’s Attendance Problem Is Getting Ridiculous

Major League Baseball’s attendance problem is not going away, as a significant dip in 2018 has endured into the new season – even with better weather and a boost from some big-name stars on the move.

As the game’s worst part of the calendar comes to a close, 12 of 30 teams will draw fewer fans in March-April than they did in a similar period last year – with seven of those teams seeing double-digit percentage dips, led by the Toronto Blue Jays’ 33% drop-off, according to research by USA TODAY Sports.

Perhaps more alarmingly, 15 teams saw a decrease in their worst March-April gate, which can serve as a relatively informed snapshot of a club’s season-ticket base. Twelve teams’ worst gate was 11,000 or less, with four teams – Pittsburgh (8,523), Cincinnati (7,799), Baltimore (6,585) and Miami (5,934) sporting a base of less than 10,000.

Overall, the average major league team’s average March-April crowd is virtually flat – 26,560, compared to 26,859, a drop of less than 1%.

However, that new baseline comes after the 2018 season saw a 4% drop in attendance across the major leagues, the largest in a decade. Commissioner Rob Manfred has maintained that poor weather in the early part of the season was a significant reason for the slide.

That’s far less of a factor this season, and perhaps a signal that those attendance losses will endure.

There were 28 postponements in March-April 2018, as miserable weather wreaked havoc on virtually every region outside the Sun Belt. This season, 13 games have been postponed as generally more traditional spring weather has prevailed. In Chicago, where the Cubs saw three of their first eight 2018 home games postponed due to snow, rain and cold weather, the average April temperature this year was 51 degrees – up from 42 in April 2018.

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Source: USA Today