BOB: Attendance and ratingsby Brian Borawski
October 16, 2013
Attendance rundownThe regular season wrapped up a couple of weeks ago and with that we have the final attendance numbers. Major league teams sold 74,026,895 tickets in 2013, the sixth best total ever, but down about 1 percent from last season. MLB has its spin on why attendance was down from a year ago: the weather. There were 37 postponements, the second highest mark in the last nine years. Attendance improved considerably compared to last year in the second half of the season.
Eight teams went over the three million mark and 15 topped 2.5 million. This was up from 13 teams the year before. The eight teams that sold three million tickets were the same teams that did it in 2012. The Los Angeles Dodgers led all teams with 3.7 million tickets sold and the New York Yankees were the best in the American League with 3.3 million It was their eleventh straight year the Yankees led American League teams in attendance.
Some of the more notable achievements include the Cincinnati Reds having their best year ever at Great American Ball Park. The team drew nearly 2.5 million, topping the inaugural season of 2004 by almost 150,000 tickets sold. The Pittsburgh Pirates (2,256,862) had their second best season at PNC, falling short of only their inaugural season back in 2001. The Toronto Blue Jays drew just over 2.5 million, their best since 1997 and the Kansas City Royals (1.75 million) had their second best showing since 1993.
At the bottom of the heap were the Tampa Bay Rays, with just over 1.5 million tickets sold. They’re followed by their cross-state counterpart, the Miami Marlins, who in only their second year in a new ballpark sold just fewer than 1.6 million tickets. The Cleveland Indians, who like the Rays made the playoffs, finished with the third worst mark with fewer total fans than the Marlins, but they had one less gate so their average attendance was slightly better.
In all, it was a solid season for MLB. It even had an extra game, with the Texas Rangers and Tampa Bay Rays playing for the final Wild Card spot in the American League. And baseball can hang its hat on the fact that the 10 best attendance years have been the last 10. That might not be true much longer, with the “golden years” of 2005-2008 beginning to drop off as each year passes by.
Playoff ratings up from last yearWith plenty of drama in the playoffs so far this year, there’s been a nice uptick in the television ratings pretty much across the board this year. Through most of the League Division Series, ratings were almost 10 percent higher than in 2012 and the best average ratings since 2010.
Some local highlights include a 19.7 rating in Boston for its clincher, making it the second most watched game since Game Seven of the 2008 World Series. Pittsburgh also saw some great ratings, with its two most watched games ever being this year’s National League Wild Card game and Game Five against the St. Louis Cardinals last week.
Brian Borawski is a member of SABR's Business of Baseball Committee and writes about the Detroit Tigers at his own website, TigerBlog. He welcomes comments, questions and suggestions via e-mail.
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