Call it a recession or call it what you will, but baseball has been hit pretty hard by the economy last year, with over 5 million fewer fans in attendance from the previous year in 2008. Around Philly, we hardly notice it with how well the Phillies are doing in the past couple of years, but everywhere else it’s a much different story.
In New York the two MLB clubs have lost 1.4 million plus fans last year over 2008, and that accounts for a lot of the 5 million plus that didn’t go to a game in ‘09 like they did in ‘08. The Yankees and Mets both had new stadiums go up in New York and still they couldn’t out due the final year of both the original Yankee Stadium or Shea Stadium in 2008. One of the reasons for this is prices at the new ballparks are out of reach for a lot of fans and the option to them is just to stay away.
In 2008 MLB baseball attracted 78,541,458 fans to ballparks around the USA, and in 2009, the number dropped to 73,430,580. In all of the MLB, only 9 clubs experienced an increase in fans. The biggest drop in fans were from the New York Mets, they dropped 873,456 fans attending games from ‘08/’09, again the price was a leading factor in this. Coming in a close second was the Detroit Tigers who lost 635,489 fans going through the turnstiles. The Yankees won the World Series last year, but they also dropped the third highest amount of ticketed fans from 2008 to / ‘09 with 579,297 lost to the outrageous fees that the Yanks charged for tickets.
The 2010 not being exactly a recovery year yet, it could lead to even a bigger drop this season when families will choose to stay closer to home and pocket the extra money that they maybe would have gone to a game or two this coming season. Time will tell if that happens but it’s no surprise that rising ticket prices have soured a lot of people who just simply won’t go anymore.
Here’s a graphic from Baseball Reference with the attendance figures with the most lost fans from 2008 to 2009