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Interleague attendance is spectacular, announces MLB PR apparatus

Jul 5, 2011, 2:03 PM EDT

interleague play logo

It’s been a very press-releasy day at MLB. Just got another one touting interlague play:

Major League Baseball drew 8,468,620 fans during Interleague games this season for an average of 33,606 per game. The 2011 Interleague average is 18.2 percent higher than this season’s current intraleague average of 28,421 per game. Since its inception in 1997, Interleague Play has drawn 12.0 percent more fans than intraleague games; Interleague Play has averaged 33,285 fans per game, compared to the intraleague average of 29,716 fans per game during the same span.

There are clearly some appealing interleague matchups that drive that attendance difference. Yankees-Cubs and a host of cross-town and rivalry series are legitimate draws, and the overall marketability of much of the interleague schedule is undeniable.

At the same time, these differences are partly the product of apples-oranges comparisons, as those intraleague numbers are weighted more toward the earlier, cold, rainy part of the season and don’t have the benefit of holiday weekends like interpleague play got. One figures that, if the timing of the interleague and intraleague slates were tweaked a bit, the differences would not be as stark.

Mostly, one just wonders if it’s possible to keep the great interleague matchups while dispensing with the less-appealing ones — Seattle vs. San Diego, anyone? — in favor of more matchups that have a more direct impact on division races.  I kind of doubt it, but I’d like to spend more time thinking critically about interleague play and scheduling issues and less time going all rah-rah with it.

  1. Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Jul 5, 2011 at 2:15 PM

    C.R.E.A.M.

    • kinggeorge96 - Jul 5, 2011 at 2:23 PM

      dolla dolla bill y’all

  2. superpriebe - Jul 5, 2011 at 2:22 PM

    “One figures that, if the timing of the interleague and intraleague slates were tweaked a bit, the differences would not be as stark.”

    Indeed. I would love to see a comparison of (weekend interleague) vs (weekend intraleague), even better if holidays were excluded. I imagine nearly all of that 12% difference would disappear, and it wouldn’t surprise me if intraleague attendance was better overall. After all, while there is something neat about Yankees-Mets and Cubs-White Sox, I think its fair to say that there is far more intrigue for Yankees-Red Sox and Cubs-Cardinals.

  3. paperlions - Jul 5, 2011 at 2:36 PM

    If we are going to dispense with less appealing inter-league games….can we also dispense with less appealing intra-league games? SD vs Sea is no different than SD vs anyone in the NL East or NL Central, no matter who a boring team plays, the matchup is unexciting. I would be more interested in watching the Cardinals play Seattle than I would in watching them play SD.

    • hotkarlsandwich - Jul 5, 2011 at 3:04 PM

      Dude must be a huge Brendan Ryan fan.

      • paperlions - Jul 5, 2011 at 3:22 PM

        You know it!

      • paperlions - Jul 5, 2011 at 3:24 PM

        ….but then, I was always a Ludwick fan as well.

        The fact is that if you don’t see a boring team very often, it is less boring than seeing the same boring team year after year. There are just as many painfully boring intraleague matchups as there are painfully boring interleague matchups.

  4. FC - Jul 5, 2011 at 3:16 PM

    I can attest that the Toronto games this past weekend were inflated by two things: Canada Day and Roy Halladay Day.

  5. Steve A - Jul 5, 2011 at 3:35 PM

    Sadly, the Padres and Mariners are considered “rivals”, and we get 6 games a year between them. I’m guessing that’s the most forced “rivalry” of them all.

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