MLB Attendance:The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Bill MckillopCorrespondent ISeptember 7, 2009

NEW YORK - APRIL 13: Fans wait at the ticket window outside of Citi Field before opening day on April 13, 2009 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. This is the first regular season MLB game being played at the new venue which replaced Shea stadium as the Mets home field.  (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

The 2009 Major League Baseball regular season is coming to a end and the attendance numbers don’t look so great.

Major League Baseball attendance in 2009 will be off about five million fans for 2009 compared to 2008. This will represent a six percent decrease for fans at MLB parks in 2009. Well the good news for the owners is ticket prices went up five percent from 2008 to 2009.


Average Ticket Price in MLB (According to Team Marketing Report)




2008—$ 25.43


The average attendance per team will be lower this year then it was in 1993, pre-baseball strike.

1993 Average Attendance per Team  2,509,926
2008 Average Attendance per Team  2,619,704
2009 Average Attendance per team   2,451,789

Attendance Losers (The Bad)

The New York Yankees and Mets will lose about 1.5 million fans, but some of that is they moved into smaller new stadiums. The Nationals, Pirates, Padres, Blue Jays, and Astros will lose another 2 million fans. The Detroit Tigers besides being in first place will lose about 600,000 fans but that seems to be due to the economic climate especially in Detroit.

Attendance Winners (The Good)

The good news is that the Royals, Phillies, Rangers, and Rays will gain about 800,000 fans combined. Most of the other teams are looking at the same numbers as last year or modest change in attendance.

Price Increases

The Yankees average ticket price increased over $30.00 a ticket and most of that increase is for luxury seating. The bleacher tickets are $14.00 each. The Cubs and Nationals increased ticket prices in 2009 by about $5.00 and the Mets and Phils increased ticket prices by about $3.00

Price Decreases (The Ugly)

The Blue Jays lowered ticket prices by about $9, and the Padres lowered prices by about $7. The A’s lowered prices about $4.50 and the Indians lowered prices about $3.50. The Pirates lowered prices about $1.50 per ticket and about $6.00 per ticket since 2001 when PNC Park opened.  

I think the flat ticket sales over the past 15 years or so shows something has to change to grow the sport. The revenues are healthy which is great for the owners and players , but to the fans it just means the cost to be a fan has increased.  If owners and players start fighting over money after the labor agreement is up in December of 2011 it should be an interesting winter.

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