Mains: Baseball attendance and short-term profits

From SABR member Rob Mains at Baseball Prospectus on September 10, 2019:

Last week, my brilliant and impeccably first-named colleague Rob Arthur wrote about declining MLB attendance. From 2015 to 2018 it fell by over 4 million and it’s down another million so far this season. He noted tanking teams explain a large part of the decline. He showed that percentage of teams with daily playoff odds under five percent has spiked from around 30 percent in 2014-15 to about 35 percent in 2016-17 and roughly 40 percent in 2018-19. When teams are out of contention, fewer fans show up at the ballpark, he illustrated.

Rob noted that teams may not care. Tanking may make sense from a competitive/strategic perspective, therefore making a dip in attendance palatable. I’m going to take his analysis a step further: Might lower attendance be not just palatable but actually desirable?

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Originally published: September 10, 2019. Last Updated: September 10, 2019.