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Major League Baseball reports largest attendance increase in 30 years

Fans line up outside Chase Field as the Diamondbacks give away Star Wars themed 'haboob globe' to the first 15,000 attendees on July 29, 2023, in Phoenix.

If someone were to tell you that baseball was a dying sport, the 2023 season would have promptly flipped that narrative on its head.

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With all 162 games now in the books, Major League Baseball has proudly announced that a staggering 70 million fans flocked to stadiums throughout the year.

This remarkable surge in attendance marks the most substantial increase in over three decades, as noted by USA Today columnist Bob Nightengale.

While there is certainly some disagreement on why this is, as some may say the new rules which brought shorten games attracted more fans, while others claim the increase was because of newer teams showing success, that is a different discussion.

There is no denying that 2023 was an enormous year for the sport, irrespective of the exact reasons behind the surge in attendance.

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred himself lends his support to the notion that this influx of fans can be attributed to the introduction of new rules. In particular, the adoption of a balanced schedule, ensuring that every team faced off against each other during the regular season appears to have resonated with fans.

Speaking to ESPN, Manfred remarked, “I think it’s the playoff format, balanced schedule, the rule changes this year in terms of the product, the stuff clubs have done locally in terms seating options.”

Even smaller market teams like the Diamondbacks, who ranked 20th in overall attendance with an average of 24 thousand fans per home game, experienced a notable uptick. Their 5 thousand fan increase compared to the previous season is a testament to the broader trend.

Furthermore, when compared to the attendance figures of 2021, the Diamondbacks nearly doubled their fanbase in 2023.

The question of what precisely fueled this remarkable resurgence in attendance across MLB stadiums this season is open to interpretation. Nevertheless, one thing is clear: baseball, once thought by some to be on the decline, has roared back to life in an electrifying fashion.

 

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