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Has American’s Pastime Past Its Prime? Attendance Continues To Fall In Baseball

MLB Games Experiencing Major Attendence Drops America’s pastime may have moved well past its prime. Sure, Major League Baseball is all over television, with regional network deals that bring...

MLB Games Experiencing Major Attendence Drops

America’s pastime may have moved well past its prime. Sure, Major League Baseball is all over television, with regional network deals that bring just about every game into every wired home.

But the games are not bringing people to the ballpark. And this is a continuing problem.

USA Today Sports examined the sport’s attendance through March and April – essentially the first month of the season, given the early appearance this year of Opening Day, and found 12 of 30 teams with lower attendance than at the comparable time in 2018. Last year’s early part of the season saw poor attendance because of bad weather in so much of the country’s northern tier.

It has been obvious to anyone tuning in on a TV that the only thing in the stands is the stands. The Miami Marlins drew more than 10,000 fans in only two of their first 10 home games, including one with fewer than 6,000. Empty seats don’t eat hot dogs, drink soft drinks or beer, buy hats or pay to park.

USA Today Sports notes that attendance overall is only off minimally, but has not rebounded since last year’s 4 percent drop. And the trouble spots – Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Baltimore, Miami, Tampa Bay – are clearly a drag.

Some teams brought this on themselves. The Orioles are terrible, have been for several years, have an unpopular owner and the Washington Nationals just down the road. The Reds? Five straight last-place finishes. The Pirates? Cheap owner, a little talent, three straight playoff misses.

MLB itself can share the blame. Games average more than three hours and the in-game delays for pitching changes are endless. When the sport reaches its apex with the World Series, TV dictates late starts (for the East Coast) that keep kids – the future fans – from seeing more than a few innings. As a result, baseball has the oldest fan base of the major sports.

Think about it for just a minute. When is the last time you attended a major league game? Hard to remember, isn’t it?

 
 
Post By: Larry Weisman, a longtime sportswriter for USA TODAY, blogs for Twistity.com. Follow him on Twitter @MrLarryWeisman

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