MLB Anticipating Attendance Bounceback

Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig likes what he sees in his crystal ball for next…

Georgia (Oct 13, 2009) — Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig likes what he sees in his crystal ball for next season.


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According to Sports Business Journal, Selig is predicting a rebound in 2010 from this year's attendance decline of 6.65 percent to 73.42 million, a season in which 22 of 30 teams posted drop-offs in attendance.

The reason for Selig's optimism is the improvement in the economy, including the 13 percent increase this year in the Dow Jones industrial average. Some experts, though, are arguing that the improvements may be short-lived because unemployment is continuing to rise. Many have argued that the economic recovery in the U.S. will be painfully slow to help many Americans hurt by the recession.

Average major league ticket prices rose 5 percent this year, according to Team Marketing Report while the Fan Cost Index, which measures the cost for a family of four to attend a game, rose 3.2 percent to $196.89. Even so, baseball held up remarkably well, posting its fifth-largest combined crowds in its history, despite posting the lowest figures since 2004.

Many teams posted year-over-year gains in television ratings, underscoring the popularity of all televised sports as a cheap source of entertainment during tough economic times. Single-ticket sales also rose as teams undertook more aggressive promotions to upsell them to season-ticket plans, said Matt Bourne, an MLB spokesman, in an email to FanHouse.

"Sports are normal goods and generally move with the economy," said John-Charles Bradbury, an economist who teaches at the sport management program at Kennesaw State University in Georgia, in an email. "You can see … some leveling out during past recessions (early-'80s, early-'90s, and early-'00s), though the correlation is imperfect. But, the overall long-run trend is positive, just as it is for the entire economy."

When it came to forecasting how good the good times would get, Selig was less specific. He told the trade publication that baseball was in an "excellent position to rebound next season.

"How much we'll bounce back, I don't know."


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