Whether it’s the economy beginning to pull back from its chilly ways, increased competitive balance, flexible pricing, or all of the above, according to early season metrics, Major League Baseball is poised to see an attendance rebound this season after seeing declines the last three years.
According to a report in this week’s SportsBusiness Journal, “Commissioner Bud Selig declined to project a specific attendance increase for the season. But after drawing 73.06 million fans in 2010, down 0.4 percent from 2009, this year’s total will likely fall somewhere between 75 million and 78 million, an increase of 3 percent to 7 percent.”
Over the off-season, the league created new panel called the Commissioner’s Ticket Review Committee. That committee has several league departments in play, including, MLBAM and senior executives from six clubs: the Cincinnati Reds, Atlanta Braves, Chicago White Sox, Kansas City Royals, Seattle Mariners and Cleveland Indians.
As the report notes, there are still question marks, namely around the New York Mets who are fighting off the Trustee working to gain monies back as part of the Bernie Madoff scandal. Ownership was deeply involved with Madoff. On top of the legal battles, attendance has been down considerably since moving into Citi Field – 19 percent. The club has employed ticket discounts to try and gain fans back.
Early numbers show that the Twins already sold more than 2.9 million tickets for 2011, and as expected, after winning the World Series for the first time since moving to the West Coast, the San Francisco Giants are seeing robust sales. Other increases have been with the Texas Rangers, and Brewers, who in mid-January had reached one million tickets sold for the 2011 season, which tied the 2009 season for the earliest date that the club had achieved the milestone in franchise history.
“I’m really bullish on this season. We’ve got some great empirical data coming in,” Selig said to the SBJ. “I want to see a nice increase this year, and I’m very hopeful, very optimistic and confident that we’re going to do it. It should be a big, big year.”
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