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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

MLB Projects Full-Year Attendance Spike

  • Lift at the gate set to reverse generational low from 2022
  • Manfred offers sarcasm in response to A's "reverse boycott"
Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports

Major League Baseball’s attendance resurgence is on track to hold for the entire 2023 season.

Following this week’s owners meetings in New York, commissioner Rob Manfred said that after the league jumped out to a strong start at the gate, internal projections point to a full-season attendance lift of 6% to 8%.

That increase would meaningfully reverse a 2022 total of 64.56 million — MLB’s lowest unrestricted figure since 1997, the league’s final season at 28 teams before adding the Tampa Bay and Arizona franchises.

Continuing to fuel the increase is strong fan reception to MLB’s new pitch clock, larger bases, and a ban on extreme defensive shifts — all of which generated an immediate, significant, and sustained reduction in average game times. Twenty-two of MLB’s 30 clubs are currently up in attendance.

“This is a nice number for us,” Manfred said.

Oakland Snark

The commissioner’s good feeling, however, didn’t extend to the Oakland A’s, who are now closer than ever to moving to Las Vegas. 

Asked about the “reverse boycott” organized by Oakland fans this week — drawing an A’s season-high announced crowd of 27,759 — Manfred’s response dripped with sarcasm.

“I mean, it was great. It is great to see what is this year almost an average Major League Baseball crowd in the facility for one night,” Manfred said. “That’s a great thing.”

The A’s rank last in the league with an per-game attendance average of 9,021, less than a third of the league average of 27,245.

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