Major League Baseball regular season attendance was down for a third straight year in 2017, with total crowds below 73 million for the first time since 2000.
According to unaudited numbers, year-over-year total paid attendance was down 488,621 (-0.67%) to 72,670,423. It was the 15th highest total in MLB history, but a fifth decline over the last six seasons.
It is believed, according to Forbes, that a combination of hurricanes hitting Texas and Florida combined with some clubs with high seating capacities seeing declines in the standings contributed to the fall. Kansas City Royals, who endured a tough 2017, saw the largest drop in attendance from 2016 to 2017 dropping 337,342 for the season compared to 2016 or 4,165 per game.
The Atlanta Braves, who began life at their new 41,000-capacity SunTrust Park, saw attendance increase nearly 450,000 over their last season at Turner Field. The increase of 484,338 or 5,979 per game helped offset some of the downturn.
Overall, seven clubs saw attendance of more than three million, with the Toronto Blue Jays, New York Yankees, Los Angeles Angels, Los Angeles Dodgers, St Louis Cardinals, San Francisco Giants and Chicago Cubs hitting the mark. The Dodgers again led the league in attendance with a total of 3,765,856, at an average of 46,492.
Seven clubs saw attendance below two million including the Tampa Bay Rays, Oakland Athletics, Chicago White Sox, Miami Marlins, Cincinnati Reds, Philadelphia Phillies and Pittsburgh Pirates. The Rays, who have been bottom of the list since 2012, saw an average of just 15,670 per game.
IMAGE: Ryosuke Yagi