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The trend has been recorded since the 2012 season and there seems to be no way to avoid it since the debacle of 2018. What are the reasons for this phenomenon?
In the first month and a half of theMajor League Baseball 2019 season, records have been unexpectedly broken and we are not talking about sports. Beyond the spectacular debut of Christian Yelich, the truth is that the fans are not attending the ball parks and that has generated the worst attendance at the beginning of the campaign for at least 20 years.
Albat said that the ESPN Dominican journalist Enrique Rojas reported that, only in the first 240 games of the season, the average number of spectators per game in Major League Baseball (MLB) was 27 342, the lowest since the 1996 season. Unbelievable. On that occasion it was 26 509 for each match played.
Apparently there is no way to stop a trend that has been recorded since 2012. The decline had been gradual and not so worrisome until the 2018 campaign, in which the decline was dramatic, up to 4-1 percent in relation to the 2017 one.
The Albat portal refers to the low percentage of Florida teams, a behavior that is already traditional among Rays and Marlins fans. So far this season (last report on May 15), they averaged 14 411 and 10 287 spectators per game at home, while the team with the best average on the entire circuit were Los Angeles Dodgers, with a respectable 47 125 fans per game.
The debacle of 2018
A campaign to forget with negative records of income from tickets, even in several stadiums recently inaugurated. The average attendance this season was 28 830, the lowest since the 2003 campaign that was 30 thousand.
Those new stadiums that left alarming attendance figures per game were the Camden Yards (Baltimore Orioles), Guaranted Field (Chicago White Sox), Target Field (Minnesota Twins), Marlins Park (Miami Marlins) and PNC Park (Cincinnati Reds), but many attribute that mainly to the lousy campaigns of Orioles (47-115), White Sox (62-100), Twins (78-84) Marlins (63-98) and the Cincinnati Reds (67-95).
In addition, it was a strange season, because as Albat points out, it had an unusually cold and humid climate, and up to 17 of 30 teams experienced falls in their attendance income.
The MLB attributed this decrease to that bad weather, which is historically significant, and mostly in the spring, whose fall was a percentage after May 1. The average was 14.4 percent lower than the maximum of 32 785 in the 2007 campaign, the last of the large numbers of atendees prior to the economic recession.
If the situation is not worrisome enough, ESPN shares some chilling data. The Miami Marlins average 9 668 fans in their first 21 games of 2019 and an annual projection of 783 000, while the Tampa Bay Rays, who have dominated the powerful East Division of the American League for more than a month, barely missed 14 540 people per game in its first 22 dates at Tropicana Field, for a disappointing screening of 1 177 740 in this 2019.
The same media reiterates that total attendance has declined every year since 2012, but adds that the projection for this year is that the major leagues hardly exceed 64 million, or 10 million less than eight years ago (2011), and the lowest total since the 63 million in 1997. Crazy!
The Dodgers are leaders by far
According to ESPN, there is only one happy place in the middle of this worrying descent and that is Los Angeles Dodgers, at Dodger Stadium, who lead the small group of teams that still maintain decent numbers in the middle of the already described crisis.
In the specific case of the Dodgers, they have already exceeded one million fans, en route to command MLB attendance for the seventh consecutive season and for the thirtieth time since they moved from New York to Los Angeles in 1958 . Yes, the club has been the ruler of the National League West Division in recent years and that is an incentive for any fan.
As defined by ESPN, we are talking about a team that seems immune to crises of this nature, since they currently hold the Major League record for seasons of three or more million fans (32 campaigns), 2.5 million (45) and with more than two million for the last 46 tournaments. Undoubtedly, they are the team with the most faithful fans of the circuit.
A comparison chart was made with the attendance averages between Major League Baseball and Los Angeles Dodgers between 2015 and 2019, and the differences were abysmal. The Californian team exceeded the circuit in all years. In 2015, with 46 479 before 30 349; in 2016, with 45 719 against 30 131; in 2017, with 46 492 against 29,908; in 2018, with 47 042 against 28 659; and so far in 2019 with 47 384 against 26 611.
In another article on ESPN, the Dodgers, who set a franchise record with 3.85 million in 2018, easily commanded this season's list with 47 125 per game on their first 12 dates playing as a local
The San Luis Cardinals are the only other club in the major leagues that have an average of 40 000 or more fans so far. The top 5 is completed by the New York Yankees (39 184), Philadelphia Phillies (37 851) and the Colorado Rockies (37 767). Only 13 teams exceed 30 thousand seats filled per game.
LatinAmerican Post | Onofre Zambrano
Translated from "Los Ángeles Dodgers dan la cara ante la crisis de asistencia en las Grandes Ligas"