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A new average attendance record set for spring training

Apr 1, 2014, 3:00 PM EDT

old turnstile

People of a certain age remember spring training being a sparsely-attended affair. People milling about in the mornings watching workouts and then a thousand or two watching games that afternoon. Not anymore.

Major League Baseball just announced that the average attendance for spring training games reached a record high of 8,078 fans per game over 447 games this year. That’s a 7.3 percent increase over last year. The previous record for annual attendance 7,793 per game set in 2008. For total attendance this year’s spring training tally of 3,610,738 fans was the fifth-highest ever.

A lot of the attendance increase is attributable to the Cubs new park in Mesa, Arizona, which averaged 14,254 fans per game. Into the early 90s the Indians and Braves wouldn’t come close to averaging that for regular season games. Before then it was common for multiple teams each year to fall short of that mark.

It’s just a difference scene in the Cactus and Grapefruit leagues these days.

  1. raysfan1 - Apr 1, 2014 at 3:07 PM

    Impossible. Baseball is dying. /s

    • scoutsaysweitersisabust - Apr 1, 2014 at 3:08 PM

      Beat me to the punch

    • paperlions - Apr 1, 2014 at 4:22 PM

      Yeah, these whippersnapper GMs are ruining the game Howard Bryant loves!

    • renaado - Apr 1, 2014 at 9:59 PM

      Everyone knows this a joke.

      • raysfan1 - Apr 1, 2014 at 11:38 PM

        I certainly hope so. (“/s” means the remark was intended as sarcastic humor.)

      • renaado - Apr 1, 2014 at 11:40 PM

        Oh okay 😀

  2. Bar None - Apr 1, 2014 at 3:13 PM

    Cactus League games (especially at Cubs Park, Goodyear, Surprise, and Salt Flats) have become an affordable relaxing way to get out in the sun. I paid $8 (x2) to see Indians/Cubs this year. $7 (x2) to see Giants/Indians last year and $10 (x2) to see Mariners/A’s last year.

    • nsauser - Apr 1, 2014 at 5:02 PM

      Yea, goodyear, Peoria, and Surprise are nice places to watch a game for cheap. Goodyear is ok, I was surprised how plain and small the stadium was for being 2-3 years old. I live in Phoenix and won’t go to games in Scottsdale, mainly because of the price. Hopefully the Cubs keep their prices low. Also, I think a lot of Dbacks fans go to games at Salt River because it’s much more affordable than the regular season games.

  3. ejheim62 - Apr 1, 2014 at 3:42 PM

    I used to go from San Jose to Phoenix every March with a crowd of guys for spring training baseball watching. Actually, it was an excuse to eat steak, drink massive amounts of beer, oogle the girls at Hooter’s in Mesa and Tempe, and…oh yeah, we watched some baseball too. Seriously, we always got great seats, the weather is terrific, and we stayed at an Embassy Suites that had free cocktails from 5 to 7. What’s not to like?

  4. mikhelb - Apr 2, 2014 at 10:58 AM

    Another “good excuse” for Rays front office to use as the reason why people don’t go to their games: they saw too much baseball already in Spring Training.

  5. mikhelb - Apr 2, 2014 at 11:01 AM

    I wonder if the increase is directly related to TV raitings: people who watched baseball on TV got old and now lives in warmer places (Florida/Arizona and places near those two states), so they can now attend games… or also low TV raitings could be caused for lack of games on Over-The-Air TV and most of ’em are on “pay tv”.

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