MLB Attendance is down 2% this year. That doesn’t seem like a whole lot, but then you remember Jonah Keri’s The Extra 2% and how much better 2% milk is than skim and, well, that 2% really adds up.
Some of the blame can be laid at the Marlins feet who are drawing 10,000 fewer people per game this year thanks to a gutted roster and a stadium that’s not shiny and new, while a fair amount can be attributed to the bad weather and big market teams like the Cubs, Yankees, and Red Sox all drawing smaller crowds. Which isn’t surprising given that the teams didn’t do much over the offseason and were expected to struggle.
However, baseball has seen attendance figures grow in recent years, thanks in large part to new stadiums going up, and we should perhaps get used to numbers like these in the future without new monoliths going up to boost the numbers.
That said, there’s probably a few ways to get people out of the house and to the park:
- Show close plays on the Jumbotron. Everything else is shown up there, along with flashing advertisements, but because of out-of-date rules for fear of widespread riots, any time there is a play with room for debate, it won’t be replayed. If I’m sitting in the upper deck, why shouldn’t I get a second look at a liner down the line or a diving catch that may have been trapped? I’m almost certainly going to get a better experience at home in those scenarios.
- Give umpires microphones. 1) If they want to sing karaoke. 2) Like in the NFL, let the umpires explain the ruling on the field. There was a balk? Great, let the guys in the way back know that. Or a catcher’s interference. Unless you’re sitting up close and personal, you’ll have no idea what the hell just happened. And given the state of cellular networks at stadiums, there’s no way I’ll be able to check on my phone.
- Stage freak shows in the outfield for after the game.
- Build new stadiums every year. Just constantly tear them down and build new ones. “COME TO THE NEW FENWAY PARK. GOOD FOR ONE YEAR ONLY.” People will have to come for that.
- Make the beer and food more affordable. Bars seem to make plenty of money selling beers for $6, in fact, that’s exactly how they make their money. Why is that profit margin not high enough for baseball teams?
- Have a dinner theatre section. In between innings, visitors to that section will receive another clue as to who murdered the Countess Von Tess. I’m guessing the butler. Every time.
- One Lucky Fan Gets to play CF for a Day. I’d buy a ticket to every game for that chance. Does it decrease the talent on the field? Really depends on who’s out there.
- Increase funding into instantaneous transportation projects. Because there’s nothing worse than sitting in traffic for two hours while trying to get to the park after work.
- While the Major League squad is out of town, have the local community theatre stage a re-enactment as it happens. How cool would that be?
Maybe I’m wrong, but these seem like fool proof plans to me.