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Thursday, July 21, 2022

Assessing the state of MLB in the 8th year of Rob Manfred’s tenure

MLB, like all entertainment businesses, is trying to grow revenues and add new fans. One big problem: its paying customer base is shrinking unlike other sports.

MLB’s on pace for its worst attendance season in a year not dramatically affected by COVID since 1995 and 1996, when the sport was coming out of a damaging strike.

MLB attendance peaked in 2007 and has been gradually declining since, and that drop has accelerated in recent years.

From 2007-19, attendance declined by about 1% per year on average, and 14% total. But compared to 2019, the last full season without COVID restrictions, attendance is down 7.5% this year.

At the moment, attendance per game is down 13.6% since Manfred’s first full year in 2015.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 21, 2022 at 01:24 PM | 6 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: rob manfred

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   1. Walt Davis Posted: July 21, 2022 at 04:29 PM (#6087660)
Sounds like those aren't comparing "through date X or game Y" across the years. Does league-wide attendance go up in the 2nd half? July/Aug obviously big months but Sept is a mixed bag as the attendance for the also-rans plummets and attendance for the contenders spikes. I don't know. I'm sure it won't spike enough to erase a 7.6% drop, just wondering if it will get a bit better.

What's it like in the US? While things are certainly more normal down this end of the world, there are still plenty of events and gatherings that are not drawing the crowds they used to. I play bridge and tournaments that used to draw 60-100 pairs are still being cancelled because only 12 pairs signed up. But then virtually all of the bridge crowd are in a vulnerable group -- the All Blacks still draw. And there's inflation to worry about -- not a good time to be spending money on discretionary items like baseball (unless you already have the tix of course).

Anyway, I wouldn't be surprised if attendance at everything is down 5-10% but I wouldn't be surprised if it's not and this is a baseball-centric problem.
   2. Starring Bradley Scotchman as RMc Posted: July 22, 2022 at 08:38 AM (#6087745)
I read this as "the 8th year of Rob Manfred’s failure."

I wasn't wrong.
   3. Jay Seaver Posted: July 22, 2022 at 09:33 AM (#6087758)
What's it like in the US? While things are certainly more normal down this end of the world, there are still plenty of events and gatherings that are not drawing the crowds they used to.


I think everything's a little less crowded than it used to be, even if it's not quite past the threshold where people really notice. I'm at a film festival in Montreal right now, and while attendance doesn't exactly feel low, things that would normally be sellouts aren't and there aren't a lot of people settling for bad seats. Back home, the bleachers at Fenway have a few more empty seats, but it still feels like a good crowd.
   4. Mr Dashwood Posted: July 22, 2022 at 05:41 PM (#6087846)
MLB’s on pace for its worst attendance season in a year not dramatically affected by COVID since 1995 and 1996, when the sport was coming out of a damaging strike.


Perhaps we should start talking about the damaging lockout.

Certainly I'm effectively boycotting baseball now because of it, although it's a bit more complicated than that.
   5. Best Dressed Chicken in Town Posted: July 22, 2022 at 08:09 PM (#6087860)
Teams are generally building smaller parks than they used to. The Yankees drew over 4 million fans for the last several years they had in the old Stadium. They couldn't draw that many now if they sold out every single game. That has to be taken into account.
   6. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: July 22, 2022 at 09:16 PM (#6087869)
Right, but how many teams are there that sell out their stadiums on that consistent a basis? And even the Yankees don't have that many sellouts a year, only 5 so far in 2022.

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