Major League Baseball (MLB) has recorded its sixth yearly decline in attendance over the past seven seasons, with a total attendance in 2019 of 68.49 million.
The total, down 1.7 per cent year-on-year, is the league’s lowest since 2003, but still has the highest ticket sales of any other US professional sport.
Prior to the regular season, which came to an end this weekend, MLB reported a decrease in the uptake and renewal of season tickets across the board. The league has instead increased subscription-based ticket packages, with more than half of all 30 teams offering some form of flexible package.
Subscription packages provide access to the ballpark as much as a fan wants in a given period of time with no fixed, guaranteed seat for a heavily discounted price. The flexi option has reportedly attracted a new and younger audience to the games.
In 2019, the Los Angeles Dodgers led the way in home attendance for the seventh consecutive year with a franchise-record mark of 3,974,309. Meanwhile, the Miami Marlins ranked bottom again this year with a total home attendance of 811,302, just 198 higher than 2018.
The Toronto Blue Jays recorded the largest decrease in attendance for the second year, falling by more than 578,000 from last year to end 2019 with a total of just 1.72 million, the club’s lowest since 2010.
The Philadelphia Phillies saw the league’s largest jump at the game, adding more than 570,000 fans in 2019 from last year to hit almost 2.7 million.
In July, research from WPP’s sports property-facing agency Two Circles predicted that ticket revenues in MLB would rise by almost $20m despite the decline in attendance.