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2011 MLB Interleague Draws Over 8.5 Million Fans, Up Slightly From Last Year PDF Print E-mail
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Ticket & Attendance Watch
Written by Maury Brown   
Tuesday, 05 July 2011 14:50

Final Interleague NumbersOn Sunday, Interleague play in Major League Baseball concluded, and with it, attendance numbers are in. All told, 8,468,620 in paid attendance over 252 games took place with the two sets of interleague play, one of which in mid-May, and the other running in July. Based upon average attendance, 2011 saw 33,606 per ballpark compared to an average of 33,511 for interleague last season, or an increase of 0.28 percent.

The 2011 Interleague average is 18.2 percent higher than this season’s current intraleague average of 28,421 per game. But, those figures account for all season, including the abysmally wet spring weather that saw the most rainouts over the last decade. When looking at the month prior leading up to interleague, the average was 29,099, or interleague at 13.17 percent ahead of what the league was pacing just prior.

By comparison, the National League intraleague games that were interspersed throughout Interleague play drew an average 33,126, up 12 percent for intraleague games during interleague last season when the average was 29,662.

In terms of packing the house, there were a total of 58 sellouts across interleague.

One of the biggest benefactors of interleague was the New York Mets. The Mets, who struggled at the gate early on in the season, saw two consecutive record days at Citi Field on Friday (42,020) and Saturday (42,042). Prior to Friday’s game, the highest attended game in Citi Field history was 41,422 on May 23, 2010, and yes, it was when the Mets were hosting the Yankees in the first series of interleague games last season. All told, the Mets drew 366,718 over 10 games for interleague this year. Of that total, approx. a third of that can be attributed to the three games where they hosted the Yankees (125,575 in paid attendance)

And consider this: The Marlins had to bump a “home” series to Seattle due to U2 playing a concert at Sun Life Stadium. Those game, which the Mariners did not have season ticket numbers count against, drew just 15,279, 16,896, and 10,925 at Safeco Field. While attendance has (yet again) been low in Florida, it’s most likely that these numbers would have been up somewhat (the May interleague series in Florida against the Rays drew 18,111, 21,814, and 15,432 respectfully).

One of the biggest draws to interleague is the “natural rivalry” sets that occur each year. And while the “Vedder Cup” – the Padres v Mariners (named after Pearl Jam singer Eddie Vedder who hails from San Diego, but plays in Seattle with the band) is hard to called a “natural rivalry”, the numbers show that while that series doesn’t exactly resonate with fans year in and year out, it could be worse.

The “Battle of Florida” series is the worst of the regional rivalry games most years, and this season was no different drawing an average of just 19,720 per game. By comparison, the “Subway Series” drew almost two-and-a-half times as many fans on average (45,005).

Here is the breakdown of the rivalries series for Interleague 2011:

Matchup

Avg Attendance

Mets v Yankees

45,005

Angels v Dodgers

42,312

Giants v A's

39,144

Cubs v W. Sox

38,754

Indians v Reds

36,009

Cardinals v Royals

35,446

Nationals v Orioles

33,132

Astros v Rangers

32,331

Mariners v Padres

28,378

Rays v Marlins

19,720

 


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey, and is a contributor to Forbes SportsMoney blog.. He is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network (select his name in the dropdown provided).

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