If you’re a baseball fan, you’ve seen it while at a game or watching on TV or read about it. Major League Baseball attendance continues it’s downward spiral. Attendance has been dropping steadily for nearly every year MLB has been under Manfred’s weak hand.
Manfred has promised many times to fix the attendance issue, to fill the seats, to bring baseball back to it’s glory days. He’s attempted pace-of-play changes which have bombed spectacularly. In previous posts I’ve addressed this issue of the game. One post addresses simple steps to combating longer games, suggestions that would keep the game from getting longer and longer. In another I address the increasingly probably issue of extended nets adding time to the game.
If we look closely at the attendance levels and the time of games (see inserts), we see what appears to be a cause-and-effect relationship between longer play and attendance.
As you can see in the Year-By-Year list, under Manfred (who took over from Selig in 2015), every year has been a decrease in attendance numbers from the previous year. A look at the numbers under Selig show attendance increasing overall, with some minor fluctuations in attendance. At the time Selig left, he’d gotten teams to an average of more than 30000 fans per game. In four years, Manfred has managed to drop that number by 2000 per game.
There’s a clear correlation between the who’s in charge and how something is viewed. A good leader instills pride in people, and brings them into the fold, welcomes them. For all of his flaws, Selig did this, and the proof is in the increased attendance we see each year. Bad leader, poor leaders, like Manfred, don’t instill trust in others. As a result, we see the numbers dropping. Manfred has done little to improve the length of the game. With the exception of this first year, the last four have seen games averaging 3:05 hours for total game time, with it breaking a new threshold this past season. While the total time of games increased under Selig, over this last five years, games were still 3 hours long. To put this into some more perspective, under Manfred, not one year has see the total 9 inning time for a game drop below 3 hours. In all of his time as Commissioner, Selig only had one year during which the 9 inning game time rose to 3 hours, all other years were sub-3 hours.
In my view, game time is the main reason for the attendance drop, but there are other reasons. For example, the average person is being priced out of games. The average ticket cost is now $76, a jump from $70 in 2016. Granted, $70 tickets aren’t cheap, but when you consider the cost of concessions and merchandise has increased as well, a family of four is basically priced out of a game. Note that some of the steepest increases in ticket prices have come under Manfred as well.
And yet the man promised to “fix” baseball and bring fans into the seats. By adding nets that give a false sense of security, my allowing ticket and concession prices to break a critical threshold, by imposing rules he THINKS will speed up the game but have the opposite effect, Manfred is a one-man wreckign ball for MLB.
What are NOT the reasons? Nobody with any sense of understanding can proclaim any longer that it’s “the weather.” Manfred is to blame for the demise of the National Pastime. Period. The numbers don’t lie.