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Monday, June 24, 2024

MLB Enjoys Further Bump in Attendance With Rule Changes

  • Trio of new on-field rules fueling meaningful gains in key metric
  • Mid-May weekend posts best 45-game attendance total since 2019
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Major League Baseball’s trio of dramatic new on-field rules continue to pay meaningful dividends across the league’s attendance metrics.

After implementing a new pitch clock, larger bases, and a ban on extreme defensive shifts — which generated an immediate, significant, and sustained reduction in average game times — MLB is now posting some of its best post-pandemic business metrics.

The league said its May 19-21 set of games posted a total attendance of 1.52 million, its best 45-game slate since June 2019 and the best weekend attendance in April or May since 2017. The May 21 draw of 546,569 was itself the highest non-Opening Day figure in April or May since 2018.

MLB’s average per-game attendance of 26,710 is up by 7.5% compared to a year ago. The increase at the gate marks a notable reversal of the trend after sinking to a 25-year low in unrestricted attendance in 2022. 

More impressively, the latest results also arrive in the heart of the NBA and NHL playoffs, when draws for MLB can be difficult.

The figures — which build on a series of gains in national TV viewership and MLB.TV streaming in April — serve as a favorable response to MLB commissioner Rob Manfred’s efforts to “give the fans the kind of game they want to see.”

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