Are People Losing Interest in America’s Pastime?

MLB attendance is at a 15-year low
MLB attendance is at a 15-year low | © Ken Lund / Flickr

Major League Baseball (MLB) attendance is down nearly seven percent from a year ago and is at its lowest point in 15 years. Here’s a look at the numbers and some of the potential reasons why fans aren’t as interested in America’s pastime.

Baseball may finally lose its beloved designation as America’s pastime. Fans are clearly losing interest in the sport and league, and glaring attendance figures prove it.

As of June 15, average MLB attendance is 27,328, down 6.6 percent from a year ago, and 8.6 percent overall, according to Stats LLC. Baseball hasn’t experienced an attendance drop of more than 6.7 percent in a single season since 1995, a year after the player strike forced the cancellation of the 1994 World Series.

The league has been plagued with rain delays this season—as of June 17 there have been 37 postponements compared to 39 in the whole 2017 season—as well as 16 of 30 MLB teams with records of .500 or worse. Sixty percent of the league has posted a worse attendance date in 2018 than in all of last season, with the Miami Marlins, Toronto Blue Jays, Cleveland Indians, and Kansas City Royals seeing the largest declines.

The tarp is on the field during a rain delay at Camden Yards

Rising ticket costs certainly haven’t helped. The average cost to attend an MLB game grew 2.7 percent (or $32.44 for a non-premium game ticket) for 2018, according to Team Marketing Report. An average premium seat is now $114.50, notes Forbes. That doesn’t even include added costs for parking/transportation, concessions, and souvenirs to complement your game-day experience.

Not only is attendance low for baseball, but overall interest in the sport in the United States has been waning. According to a recent Gallup poll, nine percent of Americans who said baseball was their favorite sport to watch is the lowest percentage since Gallup first began asking the question in 1937. Baseball was named their favorite sport to watch in 1948 and 1960, but football has been top of the list since 1972.

While baseball can’t compete with the popularity of the National Football League (NFL) in the U.S. anymore, it has other sports, specifically soccer, hot on its heels in terms of popularity. Seven percent of those surveyed from December 4–11, 2017, named soccer as their favorite sport to watch.

MLB and Manfred aren’t taking these numbers lightly. The commissioner said the league is looking into more fan-friendly scheduling in 2019, including two-game weekend series between rivals, among other changes.

landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Winter Sale Offers on Our Trips

Incredible Savings

Edit article