Read more:Sometime over the next 10 days, the year-over-year dip in Major League Baseball attendance will exceed 3 million fans. By the end of the season, barring an uncharacteristic jump in September attendance, MLB will fail to crack the 70 million-fan threshold for the first time since 2003.
To say there is panic around the game would be an exaggeration. Perhaps a better way to put it is deep concern.
Before there were multibillion-dollar local television deals and the multibillion-dollar startup MLB Advanced Media, teams lived and died by the gate. Amid all the ancillary revenue streams that have goosed the game’s annual revenues to more than $10 billion, attendance remains a bellwether of the game’s overall health. Baseball is a game of senses, the sights and sounds and smells best consumed at the ballpark.