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MLB Attendance is way up over last year

Jun 25, 2012, 2:03 PM EST

old turnstile

Major League Baseball issued a press release a few minutes ago touting attendance numbers, and there was much to tout.

Overall attendance is up 8.1% over last year, and last year was among the biggest years for attendance all time. The last eight years have been the highest eight-year stretch for attendance in baseball history.

Interleague play is certainly helping drive this, as this year’s slate posted the third highest attendance totals since the advent of the beast, and represented a 15.8% increase over intraleague games. Usually it draws around 12% more than intraleague games.

Reasons for all of this? Probably a combination. A ton of teams are still very much in contention, particularly some teams who have not been in recent years like the Nationals, Orioles and Pirates. The new park in Miami. Great weather all season long.

For baseball, it’s all good.

  1. garylanglais - Jun 25, 2012 at 2:05 PM

    But I thought baseball was dead? Even the NFL columnists told me!

    • pharmerbrown - Jun 25, 2012 at 2:12 PM

      But that is only looking at ticket sales and attendance. What about TV viewership? Surely the NFL, with its paltry 18 weeks, smashes the MLB’s total viewership of the 162-game schedule…

      I like both football and baseball, but the NFL just gets me through until P&C’s report. No other sport has as much day-to-day action as baseball.

    • paperlions - Jun 25, 2012 at 2:34 PM

      No NFL columnist told you that. NFL writers don’t actually care that much how football compares in popularity to other sports, it is the baseball media that is defensive with much gnashing of teeth when baseball (in particular, its popularity) is compared to football.

      • Kevin S. - Jun 25, 2012 at 3:10 PM

        Actually, my experience is the other way, that NFL writers constantly feel the need to trumpet the dominance of their sport over everybody else. Along those lines: watch half an hour of NFL Live or some other football studio show and count the number of times “football” is used as an adjective, like we aren’t aware that you’re talking about the game of football being played by football players in a football stadium as the football coaches and football coordinators strategize how to advance the football down the football field.

      • garylanglais - Jun 25, 2012 at 3:15 PM

        Do “NFL Bloggers from the New York Times” count?

        http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2012/04/17/football-writers-please-stop-trying-to-write-about-baseball/

      • paperlions - Jun 25, 2012 at 3:20 PM

        Nah, he’s just some schmuck in his mother’s basement. :-)

      • paperlions - Jun 25, 2012 at 3:19 PM

        Weird. I haven’t noticed any NFL writers that give a crap. They also don’t attempt to be the morality police, or anything else silly that the BBWAA members attempt to do or be. They just…you know, enjoy the sport they cover and write about it. They don’t focus on how great things were decades ago (when they really weren’t that great), or how steroids ruined anything, or bitch about players making too much money, or bitch about new fangled statistics ruining the sport, or other such non-sense.

        I regularly see baseball writers try to assert why baseball is better than football….football writers either don’t care or just assume football is better with no need to spill ink over the issue.

        The next time I see an NFL writer go on and on about how the NFL is better than baseball because of parity will be the first…in contrast, I’ve seen dozens of articles try to assert that baseball has more parity that football….in general, the comparisons are always initiated by baseball writers….some inferiority complex they have as they went from being THE sports writers to covering the 3rd most popular sport in most of the country.

      • xmatt0926x - Jun 25, 2012 at 3:35 PM

        Paperlions, you are absolutely 100% correct. I follow both sports and there may be an NFL writer here and there who downs baseball but it’s not even close. The inferiority complex that baseball writers and fans have is unmatched. I love baseball as well as football. They bring two totally different atmospheres and two different personalities from the fans, the majority of which follow both sports. you know what’s funny? The same people who always cue up the anti-NFL nonsense whenever Craig does one of these articles are the same people who would rip golf fans because the game is “boring” and “slow”. But if one football fan says the same about baseball they curl up into a ball with their thumbs in their mouth. Don’t let the thumbs down fool you. Most of these guys love the NFL too. They always pull this crap whenever Craig snaps his fingers.

      • pharmerbrown - Jun 25, 2012 at 4:31 PM

        Paper and xmatt: As gary pointed out, Bill Simmons (known sports blogger, primarily NFL and NBA, with a slight Boston slant) did famously declare that America’s pasttime (meaning baseball) is dead.

        http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/blog/shutdown_corner/post/Bad-football-beat-good-baseball-in-the-ratings-?urn=nfl-278223

        And I love watching golf as well, although it helps that I enjoy playing too. I’ll watch playoff hockey (not the regular season, which serves to eliminate the lesser third) around an episode of Bones or SVU. Anything except basketball.

      • paperlions - Jun 25, 2012 at 4:53 PM

        People still read Bill Simmons? Does he still write stuff? The guy kind of defines hack (no research, just a bunch of rambling (sometimes funny) opinions.

        Yes, a few that are not primarily baseball writers are compelled to compare baseball and football (Simmons is more of a pop culture writer than anything), but most of the comparisons are done by baseball writers that feel ignored in the deluge of football coverage. Jason Stark regularly writes horribly researched articles about ways in which baseball is better than football even though people commonly think football is better in those respects….and so do many other baseball writers. They are both great sports, but majority of worry about baseball is done by baseball writers…..the NBA has fallen greatly since the early 90s, you don’t see a lot of NBA writers/broadcasters fretting over it…that is a unique property to baseball writers.

      • pharmerbrown - Jun 25, 2012 at 4:35 PM

        another… from this very news sport blog, no less.

        http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2011/10/05/monday-night-football-easily-beats-baseball-playoffs-tv-ratings/

      • Kevin S. - Jun 25, 2012 at 7:39 PM

        Paper… one thing I’ve noticed is that you often get guys who cover both sports that’ll moralize when talking about baseball but mention nary a word about steroids in football. Also, remember when the media forced the re-vote on Brian Cushing’s DROY? At least the BBWAA didn’t pull that bullshit with Ryan Braun.

      • exige24 - Jun 26, 2012 at 12:34 PM

        3rd most popular sport. The NFL and the NBA next? Holy s. Lol Baseball kills every other sport in attendance. Not even European soccer leagues match it and that’s like the only sport they watch over there. It rivals the NFL in revenue and it gets trounced in TV viewership. Football just lends itself to a casual fan. You don’t need much time investment to be a knowledgeable football fan. Historical roots aside, where its not even a question what sport has had more influence on that aspect of our culture in the United States, that you would even suggest it’s anything but the second most popular sport in this country at the moment suggests you don’t know what you’re talking about. Lol

      • paperlions - Jun 26, 2012 at 12:45 PM

        It is the 3rd most popular based on repeated polling of sports fans and based on how much fans spend on the sports of which they are a fan.

        The NFL is always clearly #1.

        NCAA football is always #2.

        MLB is always 3rd.

    • exige24 - Jun 26, 2012 at 1:01 PM

      Those aren’t two sports in the context I was talking about. Lol And It’s really not disagreeing with what I said either. NCAA football is still football and for all intents is the NFL’s minor league. The points already been conceded on which sport is more popular atm.

  2. amhendrick - Jun 25, 2012 at 2:08 PM

    NFL writer: “Proving that the collapse of MLB is imminent, attendance is up this year as fans try to get one last glimpse of the sport before it is gone forever.”

    • Mike, the Mad Beard - Jun 25, 2012 at 2:10 PM

      Sad that I can only like this once….

  3. Jack Marshall - Jun 25, 2012 at 2:10 PM

    Clearly, the last gasp of a dying game that is justly losing popularity to that festival of nuance and brain health, the NFL.

  4. stlouis1baseball - Jun 25, 2012 at 2:15 PM

    Great job on the picture of the “old school” turnstile Craig.
    That’s the way we do it at HBT. Go “old school” or go home.

    • ajcardsfan - Jun 25, 2012 at 3:19 PM

      Cole Hamels approves this messages.

  5. ll8078 - Jun 25, 2012 at 2:18 PM

    teams in bigger markets having success is defiantly helping (Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Miami, Washington)

  6. sdelmonte - Jun 25, 2012 at 2:21 PM

    And imagine what will happen if and when Mets fans come back. Mets attendance is down, either because we all know a chimera when we see one or because of anti-Wilpon anger. But sooner or later things will change and fans will pack into Citi.

    And imagine what will happen when Yankees tickets come down in price. Or the economy takes off. Because, somewhat oddly, attendance is down in the Bronx, too. The slow start there must have had an effect, but I think the sky high costs of a Yankees game leave fans sitting home, watching in comfort (if muting Michael Kay to do so).

  7. beefytrout - Jun 25, 2012 at 2:25 PM

    The Rangers aren’t even halfway through their home schedule yet and have already set a franchise record for sellouts in a season.

  8. sir1389 - Jun 25, 2012 at 2:43 PM

    I think the reason baseball will never die is because of the consistency of the relationship between teams and there cities. With the exception of the Expos in 2004, the last time a city lost its franchise was in the 60′s when Seattle Pilots moved to Milwaukee. Even when you have a bad season or a bad stretch, that kind of consistency allows you remain invested in your team year after year despite your record. NBA, NFL and NHL have had so much relocation in the past few decades, why support your team during a bad stretch when there is always so much talk about new owners and relocating at the fainest hint of a better deal somewhere else? This is why baseball is and always will be America’s game.

  9. southpaw2k - Jun 25, 2012 at 2:53 PM

    It’s really quite amazing to see Camden Yards packed to the gills. I’ve lived in the Baltimore area for 14 years now, and the only times I’ve ever seen it so packed were when the Yankees or Red Sox were in town and brought their fans with them. It’s a fantastic change of pace.

  10. The Rabbit - Jun 25, 2012 at 3:37 PM

    To add another reason: The surprisingly cheap tickets, particularly for interleague games, for “non-premium” seats from teams that use so-called “dynamic” pricing.
    I’m on a number of ML franchise e-mail lists and some of the teams were nearly giving the tickets away to get people in the stadium. Smart economics for unsold seats and just another factor to explain the increased attendance (being marketed as “fans love it”) at the interleague games.

  11. js20011041 - Jun 25, 2012 at 3:47 PM

    Back in the 90′s, Camden Yards was packed more often than not. It’s a great ballpark and a great place to watch a game. I really don’t think it’s going to last all year, but it’s nice to see the Orioles put a team on the field worthy of that ballpark.

  12. ll8078 - Jun 25, 2012 at 4:47 PM

    baseball and hockey are the only two major sports with (real) minor league systems. you also see more consistency in attendance IMO…because of the promise of a future, not waiting on a draft pick to come save you.

  13. romoscollarbone - Jun 25, 2012 at 7:33 PM

    Our economy is better. #1 reason.

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