In tough times MLB sees decline in attendance

A focus on saving money may be causing some people to balk at going to see the national pastime in person.

USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reported that attendance to Major League Baseball games is expected to drop by 6.5 percent for this year’s season. Citing statistics from baseball-reference.com, five teams in the majors sported an attendance decline of more than 20 percent.

Regardless, Commissioner Bud Selig said the league will have its fourth-highest attendance in history.

“Given that we are in the worst economic recession since the Great Depression it is stunning,” Selig told the paper. “This year is a great testament to the huge popularity of our sport.”

Though it may be the fourth-highest, the attendance drop marks the largest single-season decline since the 1952 season. Those numbers do not include seasons that were shortened due to strikes.

The team with the largest decrease in park goers was the Washington Nationals, which saw a 22.8 percent decline. A few teams, however, did mark some gains in attendance. The ballparks for both the Kansas City Royals and the Texas Rangers saw more than 10 percent jumps in their attendance.

Though rising unemployment may mean more people have time to attend games, it also means they don’t have the money to do so. Currently the unemployment rate sits at 9.7 percent.