Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Why Is MLB Attendance So Low?

From Yahoo's Big League Stew:

Eight games were played in the major leagues Monday night. Three of the venues being used announced all-time attendance lows. Three out of eight — in one night!
I'm a bit mystified. Bad weather doesn't seem to be the culprit. It could be that the honeymoon effect of new stadiums are starting to rub off (this seems plausible in Seattle, at least). Or perhaps, as I've written before, there's just so much more out there to occupy people's attention these days.

Perhaps baseball has hit a point where it should start lowering prices. Revenue is price times quantity, so if prices drop 20% and attendance increases 30%, the team is better off (not to mention more money from concessions, parking, merchandise, etc.).

On the other hand, Mondays have the worst attendance historically. Baseball already acts accordingly, with most off days on Mondays and Thursdays (indeed, 14 of the league's 30 teams were idle yesterday). Also, demand for Monday games can still fluctuate wildly, depending on the weather and whether the Red Sox are in town.


Robert LaHue said...

Maybe teams shouldn't look so much at lowering ticket prices substantially as much as a marginal ticket price drop in combination with dropping the extras that come with the ticket.

Once you added in extra charges, parking and concessions costs, my $49.50 NBA ticket last month was in reality $82. Fans that attend a few games a year are likely aware of this and won't necessary be taken in just by a drop in ticket price.

I would argue that instead of just chopping 20 percent off the ticket, chopping into ticket, parking (depending on what percentage of fans use public transit to various stadiums) and concessions that will equal 20 percent for the average fan might have a greater return, possibly in both the short and the long term.

Greg Finley said...

Yes, those fees are annoying, but they've been around for many years, so they can't be the root cause of the sudden change.

I see the things you cite as various forms of price discrimination. If you buy your tickets at the stadium, don't park, and don't eat many concessions, the other people are subsidizing you somewhat. Of course if you do these things, you're getting the raw end of the deal.

Anonymous said...

Baseball needs to change, only twelve teams than can really have playoff contention year after year. I feel bad for Pittsburgh and Kansas City. When Tampa loses their UFA's during the 2010 offseason I can only imagine what their attendance will be in 2011. No more Baltimores or Clevelands in the WS anymore. Baseball is broken and must be fixed.